If you’re a sparky, keeping up with the latest technology can help you provide top service to your clients - and in 2018, one trend that should definitely be on your radar is smart homes and buildings.
Although home automation is not new, recent developments and product releases have made it more affordable and accessible than ever. This means you’re more likely to get questions and enquiries from both residential and commercial customers who are interested in giving it a go or finding out more.
To avoid being caught out, it’s a good idea to arm yourself with some basic knowledge. So, if you haven’t quite got your head around exactly what makes a home or building “smart”, and are keen understand how it works and which parts of the home can be connected, read on for a quick introduction.
What Exactly is a Smart Home or Building?
A smart home or workplace includes features that are automated, so the electronic devices in the building can be remotely controlled. Devices can communicate with each other, via the Internet and some can even think for themselves using artificial intelligence. Devices can be controlled through voice activation, programmed to perform functions as part of a scene or schedule, or respond to movements via sensors.
The automation is enabled through smart wiring (hard-wired) or wireless (Wi-Fi) connections. There are smart device DIY kits that can be installed by the user, but if hard-wiring through electrical cables is needed, it must be installed by a licensed electrician. Smart homes can be programmed through a central hub controller, touch screen, remote or keypad, which acts as the “brain”, controlling one or all of the devices. You can also use an app to do the job on your computer, smartphone or tablet.
Which Devices in the Home or Workplace Can Be Connected?
Automation is now being utilised in residential homes, commercial environments and workplaces across a variety of industries to increase efficiency, improve security and add comfort and convenience.
There are many devices that can be automated to work together in a smart building. Here are some of the commonly connected devices:
- Internal and external lights
- Locks and alarm systems
- Air conditioners and fans
- Heaters and thermostats
- Audio visual equipment
- Whitegoods and appliances
- Garden irrigation systems
- Blinds and roller shutters and doors.
What are the Benefits of Automation in the Homes or Business?
Home automation can be used in a number of ways and for many purposes. Lighting can be switched off and on and in varying sequences of your choice, to match your mood, the time of day or to enhance security. Appliances can also be controlled remotely, so you never have to worry if you’ve left something on after you’ve gone on holidays! They can also be programmed to conserve energy and save money. For example, you can shut down power usage on appliances when in stand-by mode or run your washing machine or dryer when electricity usage is charged at off-peak rates.
Smart buildings can incorporate keyless locks and internet-connected cameras to enhance security at home and at work. Garden irrigation systems can be set to respond to current weather conditions and a thermostat can make sure the temperature inside is just right when you return home after a long day. There are potentially endless ways automation can be utilised, to meet the needs of every home and business.
Check out this video guide for more of an overview on smart homes:
Final Word on Smart Homes and Buildings
Home automation has the potential to make life at home and at work easier, safer and more efficient. Public knowledge of smart homes is growing, and there is now a bigger range of affordable smart devices on the market. Smart buildings and automation is definitely on the rise, so make sure you arm yourself with the right knowledge, so you don’t get let behind.
Over to You
Have you seen a cool smart home set-up, or have a vision of how you’d like to do yours? We’d love you to share!