Home automation provides homeowners with extreme comfort and convenience that’s only made possible with smart devices and technologies. Through artificial intelligence, you can now create smarter homes that provide security, safety and easy access and remote control. More than that, a reliable and high-quality home automation system is efficient and sustainable, allowing you to save on energy and money in the long run.
Automated homes may sound too good to be true, but in reality, many Australian homeowners have converted their houses into smart homes. If you’re ready to experience a smarter way of living within the walls of your house, here are some things you need to know before getting any installation rolling.
What is Home Automation?
Home automation involves connecting your smart gadgets and appliances at home to a common network, so that they can exchange data with each other. This connection enables you to access and control your smart devices and ultimately automate your home using an app on your mobile phone or computer.
Simply put, a smart home refers to a residence that is equipped with automated systems pertaining to lighting, heating, entertainment and smart security systems, just to name a few.
What is Home Automation in IoT?
The technology behind smart homes is based on the Internet of Things (IoT), which describes the digitally connected network of everyday electronic devices. These devices generally work by connecting to your home network via Wi-Fi.
To illustrate IoT-based home automation, imagine driving home after a day out. As you approach your house, your gate and front door automatically unlock, all the lights in your front yard turn on and your thermostat automatically activates your preferred temperature setting.
That’s what happens when integrated devices work together in your home network.
Elements of Home Automation
Below is a list of the things you need to get started with home automation.
These are the components that execute your commands. There are many types of smart home devices you can connect directly to your system. Some of the most popular ones fall into the following categories:
During specific times of day, and even follow specific triggers like motion sensors.
Smart speakers don’t just play music from a streaming service; these voice-activated devices feature a digital assistant, which can help you to complete daily tasks. With voice commands, you can control music, set alarms, make notes and control other smart devices in the house without ever reaching for your smartphone.
Popular smart speakers include Google Nest Audio (which uses Google Assistant as voice assistant) and Amazon Echo Dot (which uses Amazon Alexa as voice assistant). Siri and Bixby are two other popular examples of voice assistants.
A smart TV connects directly to the internet and comes with built-in apps. So apart from watching traditional broadcasts, smart TVs are capable of streaming audio and video records, browsing the internet, playing games, checking social media and controlling other connected devices in your home.
Most smart TVs come with voice control, typically for browsing content and controlling basic TV functions. The more advanced models have Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
Thermostats and temperature control
With a smart thermostat, you can configure your temperature settings, so you won’t have to worry about your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system wasting energy when nobody’s home.
The best ones can “learn” your heating and cooling preferences and adjust to a comfortable temperature as needed; alert you when it’s time to perform system maintenance; and allow you to track your energy usage. And like other smart home products, smart thermostats offer remote access.
A humidifier moistens the air in your home to maintain favourable levels of humidity. It’s particularly helpful during the winter season when cold and dry air can cause difficulty breathing as well as sore throat, dry skin and cracked lips.
By keeping your indoor air moist, you improve its quality. A smart humidifier takes away any manual efforts associated with it.
A smart lock system allows you to lock and unlock doors in your home from your smartphone. This is helpful when you’ve left the house and forgot to lock the doors or if you want to allow a certain visitor entrance even while you’re away.
Surveillance cameras (and security cameras) are one of the most important pieces of equipment in your smart home security system. These video cameras generally run on an IP network that links them to a remote location—which gets the live feed often for monitoring purposes.
When you install cams, you protect your home and all family members by deterring criminal activities. In case a crime was committed, the footage can be used as evidence. Some cameras and security systems come with advanced technologies, such as a combination of advanced sensors and infrared night vision.
Motion sensors (or detectors) are devices that sense real-time physical movement in and around the area where they’re installed. Many smart home devices use a motion sensor to carry out their function.
For example, because of that sensor, a lighting system can activate smart lights the moment it detects someone passing in front of your house. It can also notify you via your smartphone when someone barges into your house, may it be through the door or window.
A video doorbell has built-in outdoor cameras for added security and can either be wireless or connected to an existing doorbell. And while it doesn’t necessarily need Wi-Fi to function properly, you’ll need a good internet service to access manufacturer features and get app support.
Another device that connects to smart home systems is a smart display. It’s very much like a smart speaker but with a built-in camera and touch screen functionality. Amazon Echo Show and Google Nest Hub are popular smart home displays from top software companies.
Powered by an internet connection, smart appliances are home appliances you can control and configure from a remote location, typically based on activities gathered by their sensors. These can include the following types of appliances
- Washing machines
- Rice cookers
- Coffee makers
- Coffee pots
- Sprinkler systems
To perform its functions, a smart appliance may connect to a smart hub, although in most cases, you just need its corresponding app or make sure it’s compatible with the ecosystem.
Smart Hubs and Gateways
Smart hubs are the command centres of your smart home, which connects all your smart home devices together so that they can communicate with each other. For Google devices, Google Home is a good example. In fact, if you need just one app to control your smart devices, it might be the best option. The Google Home app is free and can help you set up and control not only Google Home but also Google Nest, Chromecast and Google Wifi, among others. Apple, on the other hand, has Apple HomePod.
If your smart devices connect over Wi-Fi, you’ll need a strong internet connection to be able to control devices from anywhere in the world. Some of the more popular protocols used by smart home devices today are Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Z-Wave, Thread and Bluetooth.
What are Smart Plugs?
A smart plug is a device that plugs into your electrical outlet, facilitating integration with your home network. Plug any device into it and you’ll be able to control that device from your mobile devices or through a voice assistant. So if you plug old bulbs into it, they can be controlled remotely. That makes smart plugs an affordable option when it comes to home automation.
How Does Smart Home Automation Work?
Simply put, smart home automation systems include hardware and communication and electronic interfaces that connect the smart devices in your household together via the internet. That makes it possible for these Wi-Fi devices to be controlled from anywhere there’s an internet connection.
Whether you’re using wired or wireless technology, your home automation system takes three levels of function: monitoring, control and automation.
Home Automation Aspects
The three main aspects of home automation systems are:
This allows you to check on the status of your smart home devices and systems. For example, you can check who is standing on your front steps before you open the door in order to prevent harm.
This enables you to change the status of your devices and systems. With a mobile device (personal computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone) connected to the internet, you can control your smart home devices and take advantage of their automated features. You can also adjust the device settings to meet your preferences.
This aspect of home automation lets your system automatically respond to certain situations. We’re talking about the actual system programmed to carry out specific household functions (e.g., a smart light bulb that turns on upon detecting motion).
Do You Need Home Automation?
As we have learned, home automation offers a means to manage your household devices in a convenient, energy-efficient way. Take note of the key benefits below and see why you might need to push for automation in your home.
The Benefits of Smart Home Technology
Many users gravitate towards home automation because of its energy-saving benefit. By remotely turning off appliances and systems that aren’t in use, you avoid wasting energy. Some devices also allow you to monitor your energy usage, so you can be more wary of your energy consumption.
With such energy savings, you can save money. Not only that; think about the money you can save on gas just because you didn’t have to drive home since you forgot to secure your door locks, light up your front yard or turn on your security camera.
Safety and security
Most people turn to home automation for security purposes. As a homeowner, safety should be your top concern. The first step to securing your home and your family is to put up a home security system. The best home security systems tend to include not just security cameras but also smart locks (for all windows, doors and other possible entry points) and automated lights. You can also check out some helpful security features. For example, some smart bulbs can be set to ‘away mode’ to make it appear that you’re home even if you’re out on vacation. With this function, lights turn on or off at random. With a security system in place, you’ll have the ability to thwart burglars or phone the cops, prevent accidents, monitor entry points in your home and keep track of package deliveries.
With automated systems that offer remote control, it’s never been more convenient to secure your home or perform household tasks. Home automation allows you to provision the light bulbs in your front door to power on the moment your home security camera detects physical movement. The best part is that you can do all these with a touch of a button.
Create a comfortable atmosphere with your smart lights, thermostat, smart speaker and other devices. It’s clear that with home automation, you increase your quality of living. Add to that the fact that most smart home solutions and devices have a simple user interface.
Peace of mind
Home automation offers peace of mind in different forms. Here are some of them: You can check on your kids or pets all the time, even when you’re at work. You no longer have to rush home when you forgot to check on the light switches. You don’t have to worry much about certain accidents, with alarm systems or carbon monoxide (CO) detectors installed. You don’t have to worry about wasting utilities. You don’t always have to ask your neighbours to look after your home while you’re on vacation. Your elderly loved ones continue living independently while getting proper medical care (think medical alert buttons to connect to a medical facility and video surveillance to check on how they’re doing).
Home Automation Guide for Starters
With its myriad of benefits, it’s easy to see why the home automation market continues to grow and many systems are being developed. One study found that the Australian smart home market will reach more than 4.5 billion (US dollars) in revenue by the year 2026.
With the future looking good and as a consumer who wants nothing less than the best for your family, you might be quick to adopt. However, you may find it difficult to get started considering that you’re not an expert with home automation or technology. And with manufacturers left and right claiming they have the best products just to win your business, it’s easy to feel lost.
There are several factors to consider when you’re in the market to automate your home. With that, here’s a beginner’s guide we’ve put together to help you with your home automation journey, from determining your level of expertise to hiring the right company.
Identify Your Level of Expertise
The difficulty of setting up your home automation system will depend on your technical proficiency. You need to be at least familiar with how home automation works to deal with basic smart devices and platforms. For beginners, you can stick with smart gadgets that are easy to program and use. It’s also good to use just one app or platform to control all your devices.
Consider Your Budget for Your Smart Home Devices
Smart home devices can be costly, but you can search and find affordable brands in the market. Thus, you need to determine how much you’re willing to spend on your home automation project. Be sure your expenditures are monitored so you don’t go over your budget.
Determine Home Automation Devices That Fit Your Needs
When it comes to your devices, it’s a matter of what works and what doesn’t. Make the most out of your budget by purchasing smart devices that you actually need and are compatible with most smart home systems. You don’t want to pay for something that would end up gathering dust.
Remember that convenience is one of the goals and benefits of home automation, so it’s only ideal that you match every smart device you purchase to your lifestyle and needs. For example, if you’re always out of your house, it’d be best to invest first in smart locks, home security cameras and smart lights. If you feel that your laptop offers enough screen for your entertainment, then a smart TV might not be an option.
Research Devices Before Buying
To get the best quality and price for your smart devices, make sure that you conduct your research and compare products and services before buying them. Don’t be limited to a few options. Check customer reviews and ratings to get an idea of how they will work for you. Putting money on something without learning much about it can cost you bigger problems down the line.
With today’s advancements in technology, you can now easily install and set up your home automation system by yourself. Modern smart homes do not anymore require intricate networking and coding to control your devices and appliances. Thus, you can easily experience the convenience and other key benefits of an automated home.
Trusted Home Automation Experts in Sydney
Technology on Tap is your most reliable home automation technicians who can customize solutions and provide you with high-quality home automation services in Sydney.
Our team has the right skills and knowledge to provide professional installation and support for your smart home devices. We guarantee you a home automation system that’s visually appealing, convenient, safe, and secure.
Nothing beats the quality of expert-installed home automation. Check out our site to shop for automation solutions or call us today at 02 9517 1726, and experience convenience with a tap of your finger. At Technology On Tap, we make smart home automation accessible without the exorbitant cost.