A Brief History of Home Automation Technology
Not 'Time', as would have come naturally to you, but the technology that is sweeping our everyday lives now. Yes, we pay homage to the legend Hawking himself, but we will start our journey with another great - Nikola Tesla. Considered by many to be one of the greatest minds and inventors of our time, he figured out a way to control a toy boat through radio waves almost 125 years ago. The early 1900s saw the advent of many new home appliances, but the thought of them being smart or energy efficient was far from, or not even a thought in society. After years of research and development in the industry, the Echo 4 surfaced - a first of a kind smart device, the likes of which had not been seen before. Regrettably, due to its high cost, it was never put on the market for sale. Further research from the 70's-90's led to the micro-controller and the clapper, with the term 'smart home' being conceived during this time as well.
The last two decades have seen a meteoric rise in the inquisitiveness of people for Home Automation, largely in part due to the internet and the exponential growth of the IT sector. These two factors have played a huge role in making Automation accessible to customers, and as with any 'new' technology, the cost to the end user drops considerably with time. Thus, with this decrease in price, more people are embracing the idea of gradually Automating their home - initially only in certain areas and with limited features - and eventually over time, completely. As the focus of our civilization has shifted drastically towards being more environmentally conscious, with a view of taking better care of this blue and green sphere that we are on, how much energy we consume on a global scale through our individual actions has become the forefront of the conversation rhetoric.
Engineers, Architects and Designers have started creating masterpiece homes keeping energy efficiency in mind. The way a house is designed can play a major role in how much energy is consumed/potentially conserved. There are numerous interconnected systems in our house today, and a lot of these systems, like lights, water and heavy appliances, are major culprits when it comes to energy leakage from our homes. There are plenty of stand alone smart devices in the market today that do improve upon the conventional systems, but they do not compare to a full professional solution.
Lighting plays a major role in creating that perfect environment for different occasions. Smart bulbs and motion detected lighting (through sensors) are effective but will only be able to handle a certain capacity. For larger premium and luxury homes (apartments, villas, stand alone bungalows) where the systems are more complex, fully automating your lighting systems will save you drastically in the long run. Creating a custom 'Goodnight' schedule will turn off all required lights at home at a certain time. Similarly, if you are stepping out, the 'Away' scene turns off all the relevant lights and keeps only some on for security purposes with the touch of one control. You can also control the entire system through any smart device from anywhere by creating custom scenes. Thus, your Home will never use more electricity than required ever again.
Heating and Air Conditioning systems consume a major chunk of a households energy consumption. Properly insulating your walls to regulate the temperature, and installing doubleglazed windows are a great start but when the number of devices at home becomes quite large, having full control becomes almost impossible. Schedule your AC's, Fans and Heaters for a week in advance never to have to think about maintaining an ambient temperature at home again.
Limiting water usage at home is another great way to make your home more energy efficient. Many modern homes have water features, sprinklers for gardens or landscape areas, and swimming pools that you can completely automate. Schedule that poly-resin Buddha fountain to run from 10AM to 4PM everyday, and your sprinklers to turn on at 6PM for half-an-hour three days a week.
You have just fallen asleep on the sofa, having binged watched your favorite show, and it is now auto playing to it's hearts content. The music system and speakers are still on from dinner tonight, and your gaming console is wondering why it has been idle for five hours. Connect your entire home entertainment system to the automation platform and have all your systems turn off at a specific time, never to have to face these predicaments again.
Schedule your curtains with schedulers to gently open half an hour before you wake up, as your favourite music starts playing in the background and your doors unlock automatically. Control the exact amount of light that gets in your home from the time the sun rises. Interconnect your curtain systems with the doors, windows and thermostat so they know to close automatically if it gets too hot, or open fully if it is a beautiful day outside. This will protect your furniture, regulate and maintain an ambient temperature in your home.
Let your entire house make smart decisions in the background and adapt automatically to different environments, so you do not have to pay any more attention than needed when it comes to saving on energy bills and being more energy efficient.