Guest author: Mary D. is a Philosophy & Literature graduate currently working as a freelance writer while traveling through Europe. Exceptionally passionate about Technology since an early age (“raised by the Internet”, some would say), today she writes about the important contemporary technological innovations ranging anywhere between Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Computing.
We’re seeing so many new uses for technology thanks to the high level of interconnectivity the internet gives us, along with the integration of advanced Artificial Intelligence processes (like machine learning and semantic technology).
Home automation is just one of those things.
Since home is the place we go to relax and feel comfortable (and secure), it is no wonder that smart-homes are becoming the wave of the future. The ‘Internet of Things’ has now gained new meaning with the introduction of innovative sensor systems that make it possible for more and more gadgets — including household items and appliances of the most different sorts — to acquire internet connectivity, and be all interconnected and remotely controlled online via your smartphone or tablet at the simple touch of a button.
So what exactly are those different sorts than can be automated?
As more ‘apps’ and software programs are developed, and A.I. learns to adapt to your habits and daily routines, your home will be able to quite literally take care of all its needs. Shutting windows when it rains, locking doors automatically at set times, warning you via voice/face recognition interface if an intruder is at the door, and even chasing thieves away with a drone, believe it or not.
You can control pretty much everything, including your toaster, oven, refrigerator, heater/boiler, thermostat, lighting levels, garden sprinklers, smoke detectors, surveillance cameras, your alarm system, and the list goes on.
In short, it is like interacting with an automated assistant.
With smart-home technology integrated, you could have the choice of automating the various devices around your home and scheduling events for the devices functioning on the same network. With home automation system like the one offered by ABB you can program your lights, heating and alarm and make it turn on or off at the any chosen time of the day. Once you get a hold of the full potential home automation system has to offer you will discover numerous creative and useful ways how it can make your life easier.
Recent developments in home automation
Some of the most ingenious — and let’s admit it — coolest innovations is the ‘Intelligent Door Bell’, which takes pictures/video of strangers who knock at your door and sends them to you in real time. It also allows you to interact via voice through the installed audio/video interface so you can communicate with whoever is at the door.
The advancements in robotics will soon give you the gift of your very own A.I. pet or guard dog (or both if you prefer!). Considering there are already robot servers in restaurants, robot maids and golf cart robot drivers, self-driving cars and even farming tractors, this should not come as a surprise.
The capacity to program and set specific times for smart devices – and the learning ability of A.I. to understand your preferences and operate the gadgets automatically — is another valuable part of home automation.
Lights can be programmed to switch off when no one is around thanks to motion sensors, and if you are expecting a visitor, or even the baby sitter, the house can unlock the front door at a specific time (and shut them again when they leave). Plus, with remote control capability you can monitor the activity of all your devices and reprogram them at will no matter where you are.
Safety and security
The introduction of efficient sensor systems has also revolutionised home security and personal comfort. Heating/cooling and lighting systems can now track your movements around the house, and levels can be programmed to your preference so as to set the perfect mood – whether for a romantic dinner with that special person or to give your evening that cosy feeling while you’re nested in front of a fireplace — or laying on the couch watching a movie.
As far as security goes, lights can be programmed to turn on automatically at set times to warn potential intruders or overly enthusiastic burglars, and flash on and off if somebody enters the house while you are away.
Smart front door locks will let you know when your child is home from school and will automatically unlock themselves to let them in. Intelligent door bells are only the beginning, and as the house monitors itself, its efficiency in predicting danger wherever it may lurk increases significantly. Fires and gas leaks are, to be sure, major considerations when it comes to home security and safety, and thanks to these revolutionary sensors these dangers will no longer exist (and hopefully as we move towards more renewable sources of energy, carbon emissions will no longer become a problem!).
By regulating all the levels of your devices intelligently and in real time, smart technology will also make your home more eco-friendly and help you save big on electricity and heat.
Your thermostat can be programmed to set levels at specific times of day and respond and adjust to the outside temperature. Garden sprinklers no longer need your presence since they can turn off automatically thanks to specific heat sensors. Lights can turn themselves off at set times or when the sun goes down, or adjust the dim automatically depending on the natural light.
Basically, the possibilities for innovation in the field are endless as more user-friendly apps enter the market that can be accessed and controlled remotely, directly from your phone and from any place in the world.