What is home automation?
The term “home automation” refers to the set of technologies that enable automation and smart control of the home. Smart homes use home automation systems primarily to save energy, as well as increasing quality of life, enabling greater versatility in the house’s distribution, and making the home more functional and multifaceted.
Architectural trends and the most advanced technologies come together to create custom multifunctional designs that allow lighting, thermostats, security, locks, and home entertainment to be controlled from the ease of a small control panel.
There are five basic elements that are essential for a home automation setup:
- The management center.
- Communication formats.
How is home automation used?
Technology’s evolution has allowed home automation to evolve rapidly so that it now offers solutions for all types of homes. It has also become possible to reduce costs and simplify the installation process, making this technology increasingly accessible.
A home automation system uses different sensors to collect information, process it, and issue orders to specific actuators. For instance, its sensors can recognize when the lawn needs watering and automatically turn on the sprinklers. It can also turn on exterior lighting when movements are detected, turn on the smart coffee maker every morning at six, or automatically call the fire department if a fire is detected.
For all this to be possible, the home automation system’s control network must be integrated with each of the home’s networks: electricity, phone, television, and information technology.
What are the benefits of home automation?
The applications for home automation are endless, but the most common ones center on basic benefits by improving comfort, safety, and energy savings through the control panel (or remotely through a smartphone).
Before adding a home automation system, you must assess the functionality, reliability, ease of use, quality, aesthetics, and the possibilities of modifications or expansion. Then, you can evaluate what to install and how. This way, houses not only become smarter but also more versatile and flexible.
While new applications are introduced every day, they all focus on improving the quality of life for human beings. There are five categories that the multiple benefits of home automation could be grouped into:
- Energy management: streamlining electrical charges, rate management, electronic consumption reports.
- Comfort: managing devices and appliances, air conditioning, ventilation, natural and artificial lighting, irrigation.
- Security: presence simulation, monitoring for break-ins, automatic surveillance of people or animals, detection for fires or breakdowns.
- Communication: remote control and supervision via mobile phone, multimedia transmission with local networks (LAN), and videoconferences.
- Accessibility: assistance for people with disabilities, telecare services.
What types of home automation systems are there today?
Today, home automation provides solutions for all types of rooms, from single-family homes to hotels. The most commonly used home automation systems include:
- smart thermostats
- safety systems
- lighting equipment and smart bulbs
- network cameras with internet connection
- multi-room audio systems
What countries have implemented home automation?
The home automation sector has grown steadily in recent years, and it currently has an established presence in North America, Europe, and Asia.
In its report on home automation in North America and Europe, the Research and Markets consulting firm notes that North America ranks first in implementing home automation systems, with about 43.1 million smart homes at the end of 2019.
How will home automation be applied in the future?
The same study predicts that more than 70 million homes will become smart in North America between 2019 and 2024. In Europe, there is still some delay in terms of this market’s penetration and maturity. Research and Markets predicts that we will reach 101.1 million smart homes by 2024 (approximately 20% of all homes in Europe).
Notable examples of using home automation
- Casa Na (Tokyo): a smart architectural site without walls that has moving sections that enable making the most of natural light.
- The Edge (Amsterdam): the most sustainable office building on the planet with smart energy management.
- Glumac (Shanghai): these offices made of recycled material are also innovative in incorporating a smart wall that purifies the air.