Nope. Contrary to widespread knowledge, Home Automation isn’t just about having Alexa (or any such Smart Voice Assistant) installed. It’s more, and beyond. 

So, what’s Smart Home 101? Why is knowing the basics of Smart Home Automation important today, whether you are a builder, a homeowner or someone looking to buy a new home? 

Take a look at some of these stats from published Industry Reports and surveys.

Get the picture?

Yes. A good idea to catch up on some ABCs of Smart Home Automation, indeed!

So, let’s get started with the basic today and take it from there, shall we? 

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What are Smart Homes?

Internet of Things (IoT) on the domestic front – that’s what your smart home is. If we are to define it, a smart home is basically any place of residence, no matter its size, that is equipped with electronic devices and appliances, connected via a network. And this network can be accessed or controlled remotely through an application on your smartphone or a computer interface.

Now, let us go one step beyond this definition for it doesn’t quite convey just how much more a smart home has to offer! 

A smart home allows its user to manage, monitor and control a wide range of appliances from his/her smartphone. Yes, just a click of a button or tap on a screen and your life can be safer, more comfortable and more convenient. From as simple as turning on/off lights, managing heating/cooling, making your own customised multimedia entertainment setup, or keeping an eye on your home’s security inside and out, using smart tech lets the homeowner control everything anytime, from anywhere! Take a trip to Mars while still having an eye on your front door. A smartphone and data connectivity is all you need!

Here’s an indicative list of benefits for builders/developers and homeowners. Mind you, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. As with any technology, how you harness it for your need and convenience is in your hands! The core concept here is to implement technology in a way that enables a unique experience and utmost comfort to residents, while also conserving resources – energy, time and money!

What are Smart Devices?

Look up the word, and you will see it defined – “smart device is an electronic device, generally connected to other devices or networks via different wireless protocols”. 

These are devices that pretty much accomplish your everyday tasks, but they do so as you program/ command them, via interfaces. They are connected to form the IoT at your home.  These are also recognised as context-aware electronic devices. They gather, share data and interact with its users as situation demands and as programmed, bringing about a unique futuristic experience. 

Smart switches, smart plugs, smart light bulbs, smart locks, smart doorbells, motion sensors, smart monitoring devices, Robo vacuum, voice assistant, HVAC devices, smoke detectors…the list has been growing over the years. Integrating such smart devices make a smart home, and the market is flushed with these offerings. The world of smart home solutions is varied and vast. Multiple brands. Multiple products. Multiple benefits. 

You will need to sift through these multiple options in the market and integrate them seamlessly to create a smart home. There is due thought and expertise required to know which devices you genuinely need, what would best suit a particular floor plan, and how you can put it all together in a way that it delivers value and convenience. One can further customise it to suit the needs of the residents, their routines and lifestyle.  And this needs to be done while ensuring that there are no security vulnerabilities as well. It is here that expertise plays a significant role.

Buying and installing smart devices is one part of the process. But how do you make them all interact with each other, work together and interact with you, the way you want? Bespoke Smart Home Automation expertise is the answer. 

What’s Smart Home Automation? How does it all work?

Home automation, simply put, is all about harnessing technology and integrating it into your lifestyle or routines, to make life easier, convenient and ‘monitored’. 

Once your Smart Home is in place with all the smart devices, you need to integrate and tie them all together, to form a flow. Flows are basically scenarios that one can build, to speak to those devices, following certain logic and conditions…if…, when…, and…, then…, for the devices to execute your commands. 

What should get triggered when, how, and what is the expected action – One can program all of this. Lo and behold, you have your devices listening and working for you; all of it through a single application, a connected smartphone and with just a tap on the screen. Add on a voice assistant, and you can just holler out what you want, and you can consider it done!

Let us run through some ordinary circumstances and understand how smart home automation can work for you here. 

  • You are late for work. You are the last one to leave home and you rushed out of your home. You realise halfway to work that the lights in your room are still on. Or worse, your garage door or back door is not locked.
  • You are on an important conference call in the study. Your 5-year-old is strolling the house with your dog, with no one to look on. They want to step out that front door and run towards the icecream cart right outside!
  • You have had a long day, and you are ready to hit the sack. You just don’t have it in you to go checking from room to room, floor to floor, to see if all the lights are off, whether the doors are latched or if the temperature setting needs a change… and so on.
  • You are thirsty midnight and want to step to the kitchen for a drink. You don’t want to be scuffling along the hallway and around, making noise as you tap the walls for the switchboard, or looking for your phone in the dark. 

Smart Home Automation will let you handle all this and more, through a single app in the palm of your hand, without moving an inch. Routine tasks and predictable elements can all simply be programmed as flows, to work for you when needed. You won’t even need to look at your phone then! Not to mention, you can swap, edit, bring in a fresh customisation or do away with any of those settings as and when you need to.

But hold, what if your elderly aren’t that comfortable with these new ways of running a home? No worries, they can continue to operate it all the conventional way.

What’s the market buzz around it all? What’s the trend?

Remember those stats we saw at the beginning of this page? That’s the buzz. 

Let us look at Australia. The number of households in the country to implement IoT systems is expected to rise to 1.6 million by mid-2021. Australians are increasingly looking to invest in homes that are equipped with smart home technology. What is boosting the market substantially, is the convenience, comfort, enhanced quality of life features that it offers.

The market is accordingly flooded with a competing range of platforms, devices and standards. It is mostly segmented by product type or utility area such as Security & Surveillance Systems, Motion Sensors, Lighting Systems, HVAC Control, Energy Management, Smart Cleaning. There are brands aplenty to choose from.

From the builders’ point of view, equipping homes with smart home automation will help capture the target segment better, meet what the buyers if today are seeking, and help sell faster, sell more. Global trends are pointing very clearly towards smart lifestyle expectations. Builders have to measure up to meet and seize them. 

From the homeowners’ angle, it is a lifestyle upgrade that everyone is moving towards.2020 has seen maximum people stay indoors, in the safest place – their homes. It has got people thinking more about how ‘safe’ it is or how ‘convenient’ it is. There is an increased awareness of home improvement options, efficiencies and conveniences. Residences are now home-offices, home-schools, home-gyms and more. 2020 has pushed something that was perhaps looked at as a ‘high-end luxury’ sometime back,  into a ‘need’ now. 

You have existing homeowners looking at an upgrade and those scouting for new homes, looking at a single-time investment into a smart home. Both are looking for builders, developers and automation experts who can help them piece together their smart home. They are looking at multiple options that are reliable, wallet-friendly and scalable. 

The ability smart homes offer, to monitor home security, to control devices and everyday appliances, optimise energy management, and save time/ effort with automated “flows”, as discussed above, in many ways the elevated lifestyle buyers are looking for. 

All of this has indeed transformed smart homes into a popular choice for homeowners, across geographies, lifestyle, and budgets. Buyers are looking for Display Homes that show off Smart Solutions as a feature. It is quite evident now that builders and architects with smart-tech-ready residences are going to be the go-to choice for the technology-driven buyers. 

So how can you, a builder, an architect, a homeowner or a new-home hunter, approach the subject? 

How can you start incorporating smart home automation into your future plans? By working with a home automation expert who can develop and implement a SMART plan for you, that is right for your property, your needs, with the right mix of brands, devices and protocols, to deliver the SMART experience you deserve.

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