This a guest post from Mr. Hariharan of Zee Sense Systems – provider of Home Automation Products.
What is Smart Home or Home Automation?
We live in a world that is increasingly DIGITAL, SMART and CONNECTED. The combination of sensors and the internet is accelerating this transformation, making everything smarter – our homes, offices, home care, energy conservation, industrial automation, logistics, security and other areas. A Smart Home is an inherent part of this transformation that provides its home owners security, safety, comfort, energy efficiency and convenience at all times.
Home Automation (HA) Market
Home Automation is not new – it has been around for many years in the developed countries and is now driven by proven, mature standards, products and solutions. Home automation goes way beyond video door phones and gas leak detectors. In India, awareness of Home Automation is just picking up and price points have dropped to a level where we are seeing the market moving from the exclusive VHNI bungalows into the mainstream apartment and villa segments. Projects with bundled Home Automation are being announced – i.e., the per sft price includes Home Automation features that come as part of the apartment or villa. Demand is also bolstered by customers motivated to buy Home Automation by changing lifestyles, nuclear families, exposure to western lifestyles, increasing concerns about safety and security etc.
Benefits of Home Automation – Sample scenarios
I am sure you are itching to ask: All this is fine, but what does Home Automation do for me? Is it of practical use or is just a showpiece toy? While there is some ‘status’ and ‘show’ value attached to Home Automation as a bonus, it definitely has several practical benefits – sample scenarios below:
- Someone attempts to break into your house through a door or a window – immediate detection, loud alarm and SMS alerts can protect your home.
- Someone is on the terrace or balcony, checking out your home for intrusion. His presence is detected and alarm + email/SMS alerts are raised even before he touches the door, preventing potential intrusion and loss.
- The above alerts are also raised at the security office of your apartment complex, you’re your apartment details, prompting immediate investigation by trained security staff.
- Gas leak, smoke or fire detection enables timely corrective action to prevent damage to your property and save your loved ones.
- Your aged parent has some problem; he/she can just press a button on a small device on her wrist or neck to raise the SMS alert for you, and to your neighbor, security staff, doctor etc.
- You start playing a movie on your home theater – immediately the curtains draw and lights dim to create the ideal ambience for you to enjoy the movie.
- Someone rings the door bell –you are alerted wherever you are, you can see who is at the door and even open the door for him from your office or anywhere.
- It is 6:30am in the morning – the Home Automation system automatically plays suprabhatam, draws the curtains in your bedroom to wake you up in a soothing manner; and also switches on the water heater for your shower.
- You open the toilet door and the lights come on automatically; and, they switch off after you leave! Convenience and power savings combined.
- You can switch on the AC in your bedroom before you leave office or as you approach your home, so that the room is cooled before you reach home.
- Many, Many more scenarios are possible.
So, you are getting interested, but some doubts linger – Let me address them:
Q: I like it, but can I afford it?
A: Home Automation packages start as low as Rs 18,000/=
Q: Is it too difficult to use?
A: You get a variety of interfaces to chose from – Touchscreens, Remote controls, Keypads, Laptops, wireless switches – you chose the interface that you like best. Older people can even have physical switches while younger people use their smartphones.
Q: What if the Home Automation system breaks down? Will I lose my lights and be in darkness
A: With the right Home Automation system, basic functionality such as lighting control and security will work even in the remote occurrence of the controller breaking down.
Q: I have already moved into my apartment. Can I install the Home Automation system in it without chipping walls or having ugly cables all over?
A: Yes, you can definitely retrofit without chipping walls; provided you chose a wireless Home Automation system.
Q: Can I start small (maybe with security) and grow incrementally as I get more comfortable or as I can spend more later?
A: Yes, you can; provided you chose a wireless Home Automation system.
Q: What if my needs change? Can the Home Automation system easily address my future needs?
A: The mood setting and other scenes are configured in the controller and can be changed easily to adapt to your changing needs. Lighting control can be changed easily without any cabling changes if you have gone for a wireless Home Automation system.
Q: Who should I talk to?
A: There are people offering cheap solutions and those offering very expensive ones.
Q: How do I chose?
A: Talk to Home Automation providers who understand the technology, can configure the system and integrate it with other components, while keeping it all simple for you. Ensure that the Home Automation system covers all aspects of Home Automation (security, safety, lighting etc) in an integrated manner, even if you don’t need it all today. Avoid fly-by-night operators who tempt you with a ‘cheap’ product. Check if the product is standards based – proprietary products tie you down and cut down your choices. Say no to wires, even if your home is under construction. Go with a wireless Home Automation system that is based on global standards and offers various advantages (some discussed above).
We hope this article has helped you understand what is Home Automation, what it does for you and how you can go about getting one for yourself without breaking your FDs. So, go ahead – go beyond thought and into HOME AUTOMATION action!!
This article aims at providing information for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and blog readers. The author of this article, Mr. P.S. Hariharan, is co-founder of ZeeSense Systems Pvt Ltd (www.zeesense.com), a Bangalore based provider of Comprehensive, Integrated, Cost effective Wireless Home Automation systems based on world standard Zigbee Pro technologies. ZeeSense also provides wireless security, safety, lighting and other custom automation solutions for commercial and industrial segments. Mr. Hariharan can be reached at: hariharan at zeesense dot com, 9845186610.
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