Jul 15 2016



Tags: home automation  future homes  smart homes  internet of things 

Home Automation - A Glimpse into the Future
Home Automation controlled through a mobile application

When Jennifer McFly walks into her futuristic home in 'Back to the Future - Part 2', she is shocked at how technology has changed the way people live in the future. The sheer number of gadgets, sensors and robotics that exist in the houses of the future was overwhelming, to say the least. No longer did you need physical keys to gain access to your home, no longer did you physically need to flick a switch to turn your lights on or off and no longer was your telephone limited to voice functionality.

Being able to control various aspects of your home, without being physically present was simply a fantasy of a futuristic world 30 years ago, but that has all changed. Today, if you forgot to close the garage door, or turn off the oven, there is no need to rush back home. Now you can check these things and control them via an app on your tablet or smart phone, without actually being at home.

All these technological wonders have become a reality with the increase in today's home automation systems and the internet of things (IoT). They are indeed no longer limited to the imaginations of audiences of Hollywood science fiction movies.

The Home of the Future relies on a wireless network setup within the home, to create a Home Automation System for virtually anything you can think of. Anything that moves can easily be controlled through home automation.

Home Automation Systems can be installed in any home and it can be as simple as setting up a wireless connection for your services through your home router, smart hub or a centralized control panel in your home. You'll also need to install an application on your smart phone or tablet to be able to integrate and control each device that you setup. This will work in very much a similar way as your trusty Infrared (IR) remote control does.

Finally, the devices themselves will need to be able to receive the instructions from your app, which means that they need to be either 'Wi-Fi' or 'Bluetooth' enabled. Wireless is the better option though, if you wish to manage or control your devices remotely.

Today, most electronic devices already come with Wi-Fi Connectivity built into them, but for older devices, you will need to purchase 'smart outlets' which will provide Wi-Fi connectivity for older devices that do not already have it installed.

In a recent US survey, it was concluded that a home was likely to sell up to 60 times faster if it was fitted with smart technology and 80% of home buyers said they were more likely to buy a home, if it was already 'SMART' (already fitted with a home automation network).

Home Automation can exist in basically any part of the home, inside and out. It all works through sensors connected to the home's centralized control system. One of the most popular features of the automated home are 'Smart Locks'. Locking your door with a physical key will soon become a thing of the past. Now you can lock and unlock your door via your mobile app, even if you are not at home. You can also schedule certain times of the day or night that your door will be open and locked.

Connecting your home lighting to the home automation system, will allow you to activate your interior and exterior lights at any time of the day or night. You could also turn them on or off though your smart phone.

Devices with 'Smart Sensors' can easily detect motion and will turn the lights on if you are present, or turn them off after a few minutes, if no motion is detected in the room. Automation technology also allows you to automatically tilt your blinds in the afternoon or even close the curtains automatically in the evening.

Another important feature of Home Automation is that of Home Security. By installing Smart Cameras around your home, you can conveniently see who is at the door before opening it, or keep an eye on your property while at work or away on vacation.

Today Smart Cameras can send a live video feed to your mobile device, which enables you to see exactly what is happening at any time of the day or night. Is Aunt Anne coming to water the plants or feed the cat while you are away? No problem, simply unlock the door for her and lock it again when she leaves. Know exactly who was at your home, at what time and alert the security company for any unwanted visitors.

Home Automation Control is not only limited to smart phone applications. Voice Command is one of the newest and coolest inventions of home automation. Eventually voice command will become the method of choice, when 'talking to your house'. Today you can even talk to your television! Samsung and Sony have already developed televisions that you can 'talk to'. No more remote controls - just tell it what channels you want to watch.

As we saw in 'Back To The Future 2', the homes of the future, it was possible to turn on the living room lights simply by saying 'Lights On', or being able to control the room temperature with a simple voice command. Today this is all possible with Home Automation and Voice Command technology.

The concept of the 'Smart Home' has been around for more than 30 years already, but has only started to become a reality in the last 5 years, all thanks to the increase in computer and robotics technology. It may not be a part of every household just yet, but with the increase of mobile devices and the affordability of data, it is estimated that by the year 2019, the overall home automation market value will be a staggering $16 Billion! (R230 Billion).

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