Hi Tech Living: What Are Smart Homes?

The primary aim of an efficient home automation system is to create a smart home that uses internet-enabled gadgets to create an indoor environment that is secure, comfortable and energy-efficient. Just a few years ago, home automation systems were very expensive and were considered a luxury, but recently, smart home technology has become more affordable and easier to use. Read on to find out what smart home living is all about.


What is a smart home?

A smart home is a home with a communication network that connects different electronic appliances, home security systems, lighting, thermostats and so on via the internet. These appliances can be remotely controlled, monitored and accessed from any location through the Web to create a fully automated home.


How does a smart home work?


  • The smart devices are connected to a central hub, which is also called a home automation gateway. These devices are then controlled through a wall-mounted terminal, mobile phone software or a Web interface/server.
  • One can also consider buying individual smart home products or devices that can be directly linked to the smartphone.


What is smart home technology?


These are some gadgets that constitute a smart home:


  • Wireless smart speakers from brands such as Amazon, Apple and Google have built-in artificial intelligence (AI) that lets them work as a home automation hub. The voice recognition technology within the smart speaker makes it understand commands and act upon them.
  • Smart thermostats remotely control the air conditioning system. One can set different temperatures for different times of the day and also switch on or switch off the air conditioner from a distant location via a smartphone.
  • Smart home security devices include remotely controlled door locks and entry-level video doorbell cameras that allow one to screen the person before allowing entry into the home. Additionally, one can easily monitor the indoor security cameras and see what what is going on within the home in the homeowner’s absence.
  • Smart lighting includes LED light bulbs that are controlled through a smartphone or a central hub. One can not only switch on or switch off the bulb but can even pick the colour and brightness of the lights (in certain models). Some lighting systems come with occupancy sensors that switch on the lights when someone enters and switches them


What are the advantages of a smart home?


  • The biggest advantage of a smart home is that it ensures good security with remotely controlled door locks and efficient video surveillance. The home automation system raises an alarm or sends alerts to the homeowner if the device detects unexpected human or any other kind of movement within the home.
  • Small appliances can be switched on or switched off with just touch of a finger through smartphones, remote controls or voice assistants, hence ensuring convenience.
  • Fully integrated lighting systems allow one to easily check the lighting and control it from a central location. This helps to save energy and electricity costs by dimming certain lights or simply switching off the lights in certain areas where they are not required.
  • Automated thermostats allow one to control the cooling of the air-conditioner from a distant location.


What are the disadvantages of a smart home?


  • Smart home technology is dependent on internet connectivity. If the connection drops, most of the smart products won’t work.
  • It is easier for tech-savvy homeowners to convert their homes into smart homes while the others may take some time to learn and understand the method of use.
  • In order to create an efficient home automation system, it is essential that all the home automation devices should be compatible with one another.
  • Remember, automating the entire home may turn out to be expensive. Do check the costs and utility of the home automation devices with the vendors before deciding to install them in the home.


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