In this article we are going to have a quick look at smart homes, what they are and how they can work for you.
So, what are Smart homes?
A smart home, or smart house, is a home that incorporates advanced automation systems to provide the inhabitants with sophisticated monitoring and control over the building's functions. For example a smart home may control lighting, temperature, multi-media, security, window and door operations, as well as many other functions.
In 2003 the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) came up with the following definition for a smart home:
"A dwelling incorporating a communications network that connects the key electrical appliances and services, and allows them to be remotely controlled, monitored or accessed."
How do I control my home?
Firstly you need to think about what you want to control. As previously mentioned there are many areas which fall under the smart home umbrella. Be that heating, audio, security etc and there are ways to control each of these functions independently or all under one system.
Smart lighting adds elegance, ambiance, convenience and energy efficiency to your home. You can make your house appear occupied while you are away, raise or dim any light in the room or the entire house with a single touch or using just your voice. Lighting scenes can change a room's appearance with staggering results and by using pre-set lighting scenes you can use single touch commands that will set up the rooms light levels to your exact look and feel, perfect for when you are watching movies, reading or entertaining. Systems such as Rako or Lutron are the market leaders in this field
Clever heating systems have really come into their own over the last couple of years, with products available to allow you to control your heating using your smartphone. You can control temperature, humidity, and fan settings from your home or on the other side of the world if you wish. The systems that exist all look to make it simpler and easier to control your home heating whether you're out and about or on the sofa. Another major positive is that they will very likely help you to save money by managing your heating more efficiently.
Multi room audio and video
Deliver superior sound, stunning video in every room throughout the house. Access your entire movie library, stream video or satellite channels in every room. There is no need for set-top boxes and multiple video sources as you can consolidate all of your audio and video equipment into a specifically designed AV rack creating a clutter-free environment. You can even programme the system to play your favourite tune when you walk through the door! The possibilities really are huge.
You can keep an eye on your home by installing CCTV cameras around you property. Feeds can be accessed from anywhere in the world through apps or at home on your TV screens or controllers. Motion sensors can trigger the cameras to start recording and send alerts to your phone in the event of an alarm being activated. Door entry systems can provide full-motion video and high-quality audio intercom for crystal-clear communication. Viewable with in-wall or portable touchscreens you can see who is at the door and communicate with them clearly. Furthermore, it is possible to fit door latch mechanisms which allow you to open the door remotely, as well as send you an alert to your phone when the front door has been opened. A great feature to monitor your home while you are away.
A central control system
If you decide on incorporating multiple functions then a central control system is the best way to manage all of the features for you.
The top central control systems on the market currently would probably be Control4 and Creston* and each have their own unique ways of doing things. As such either could be more suitable than the other, depending upon what you wished your home to do for you!
*There are of other systems available such as Savant and RTI.
Along with the one app solution, Control4 stands apart due to the engineering of its user-friendly control platform. Control4's control platform is simple, straightforward, and intuitive. This makes daily use easy, while allowing you to grow your system without worrying about having to learn new components. With Control4, adding or expanding features is painless because they all fall under the same application. It's truly an all-in-one solution capable of endless customisation. www.Control4.com
Crestron are a long established manufacturer of home automation and entertainment equipment - they have a large product range which encompasses everything from lighting control through to audio and video distribution. Systems are scalable from very small single rooms solutions through to very large multiple building campuses making them perfect for Smart Homes. Third party devices are integrated by custom built modules written by the system programmer making it possible to integrate most electrical devices in the home.
Although a quick over view on what smart homes are and what they can do, the big take away from this article is that smart homes are here to stay. With the pace that technology is evolving automating your closer to reality that you may think. These systems really can do wonders to enhance your home, offer peace of mind whilst away with work or on holiday but ultimately work for you and help to remove a little stress from a stressful world!
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