Ing Robert Frendo, Technical Director at AQS Med Ltd.
Modern smart homes technology is evolving into a fully integrated system. Home automation system incorporates security, comfort living, energy management and automation systems. Based on wireless technology with the structure and monitoring of the system based on the cloud. These systems allow you to control, customize, and automate all the powered devices in your home. Likewise, you can watch live video from your security cameras, get instant alerts in case of any security or fire events.
Moreover, in the case of an intrusion, the destruction of the controller will not erase the evidence of the entry as the information and the instructions to send alerts are stored and transmitted remotely from the cloud.
Nowadays, home automation systems are replacing traditional home alarms by providing an enhanced security solution for your home and family, with extensive 24/7 monitoring and alerting services in case of fire, burglary, flood or gas leakage, as well as custom child and elderly care solutions. The function of home automation, however, goes beyond security. The same sensors that detect presence or that detect an open window, will be also use for intelligent lighting, ambient temperature control, automated shading solutions and much more.
In addition to maximising comfort in your own home, these features will also let you save energy by monitoring your energy consumption, allowing you to remotely control and automate lights, temperature and all other powered devices in your home. Custom reports and alerts will help you understand where your energy goes and stop wasting it when you don’t need it. This high level of security and energy efficiency together with ability to fully control and automate your complete home over Internet or mobile phone will make your home much more comfortable and let you have peace of mind when you are away.
Until a few years ago, home automation system were prohibitively expensive and only found their place at top of the end residences. However, with the advent of wireless protocols such as z-wave and zigbee, home automation has been become much more accessible and is gradually becoming a feature of all modern homes.
Moreover wireless systems by their very nature lend themselves well to retrofitting and therefore one need not restrict oneself to new builds or major refurbs as was the case with traditional wired systems. Some systems are also available in the form a very attractive wall-mount device featuring large built-in sensors and hardware modules. These systems can replace numerous home devices such as security system, thermostat, automatic controller, IP camera, alarm siren or intercom, and bring them together in one smart device with the option to add on additional sensors as and when required.
There are various things to look out for when choosing a home automation system. A very important point with modern wireless systems is to choose a system with an open protocol. Z-wave would give you a wider range of third-party sensors which you can add on, such as carbon monoxide sensors or wind sensors, which may not be available from the original vendor. Also beware of less sophisticated systems using Wifi.
Whilst having the benefit of being an open protocol, Wifi systems are more susceptible to security threats and interference with other Wifi networks in the area and also have a much more limited range than z-wave or similar protocols which operate on a lower energy frequency. Wifi based sensors also consume more power than Z-wave sensors which means that the batteries of these sensors will have to be changed more frequently than their z-wave counterparts.
Finally, it is very important to choose an experienced partner who can configure the systems to your needs, providing a strong local support when required. For the more technically minded individuals, there are systems with a very intuitive graphical use interface which can allow the users to set their own rules on how they want the system to behave. Still however having strong local support is important to ensure that the system continues to behave well.
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