All About Smart Homes

Using smart home app on phone.

A smart home is a residence that uses Internet-connected devices to allow remote monitoring and management of devices, appliances, and systems, such as lighting and heating.


Smart Home Technology, often called home automation and Domotics (it is derived from Latin word “Domus”), provides security for residents, comfort, convenience, and energy efficiency by allowing them to control smart appliances, often a smart home application on their smartphone or another networked device. It is a part of the Internet of Things (IoT), smart home systems, and their devices often work together, collaborating on consumer usage and automating actions based on the preferences of owners.


Smart Home Pros


One of the touted benefits of home automation is that it provides peace of mind to owners, allowing them to remotely monitor their homes, the fight against hazards such as coffee maker or stove left on which can cause house fires or back door left unlocked.


Smart Home is also beneficial for the elderly, providing oversight on the elderly that can help them to stay at home comfortably and safely, rather than move to a nursing home or needing home care 24/7.


They can work on the user’s preferences for convenience. For example, users can program their garage door to open at a fixed time for a fixed period, the lights to switch on, to turn the fireplace and play their favorite tracks on their arrival.


Smart Home automation also allows consumers to improve efficiency. Instead of letting the air conditioning all day, a smart home thermostat can learn behaviors and make sure that the house is cooled for homeowners’ at their time of arrival from work. The same goes for other appliances as well. With a clever irrigation system, the lawn will be watered when needed and with the exact amount of water that will help you save water. With home automation, energy, water, and other resources are used more efficiently, which saves natural resources and money for the consumer.



Smart Home Cons


However, automation systems for homes struggled to spread, partly because of their technical nature. A disadvantage of smart homes is their perceived complexity; some people have difficulty with technology or give up on it in their first try. Intelligent smart home manufacturers are working to reduce complexity and improve the user experience to make it more enjoyable and beneficial for users of all types and skill levels.


For home automation systems to be truly effective devices must be interoperable regardless of the manufacturer and using the same protocol. As it being a relatively new technology in the market, there is no gold standard for home automation yet. However, standard alliances are in partnership with manufacturers and protocols for interoperability and seamless user experience.


Another important issue is security in smart home systems. A report of NTT Data Corp. in 2016 found out that 80% of American users are concerned about the safety of their data. If hackers infiltrate an intelligent device, they could turn off the lights and alarms and unlock the doors, leaving a home defense to burglary. Besides, hackers could access the owner of the network, leading to attacks or worse exfiltration of data. In October 2016, the botnet Mirai IoT could bring down parts of the Internet in a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks using poorly secured cameras, digital video recorders, and routers as entry points.


In addition to home security, many opponents of smart home worried about data privacy. NTT Data report found 73% of consumers are concerned about the confidentiality of data shared by their smart appliances. While manufacturers of smart devices in the home and the platform can collect consumer data to better tailor and customize their products or offer new and improved services to customers, trust and transparency are essential for manufacturers looking to win new customers.

How Can Smart Homes Improve

smart house device illustration

There are various areas where Smart Homes appliances and devices can work and improve their system. Some of them are listed below.


More Interoperability


If you want all your smart devices in the home to be controlled through a single hub, you’re mostly out of luck. Support for Apple Home, SmartThings, Alexa, and Google Home varies, there is no unique system that offers support for all the devices.

For the Smart home to continue its growth, we need broader support for devices of the major systems and better ways for devices to talk to each other.


Easier Automation


The next step in smart home automation is to have lights switched on automatically at night when you open your front door or turn off when you go out. Although it is possible to set up such a level of control now through coding, it is not easy for everyone.


More Reliable Third-Party Controls


The third-party devices that are used to control the smart home do not always work as you expect. For example, you can ask Alexa to turn your lights only to find he’s sitting there, spinning blue light before failing; a second attempt might do the work.

Similarly, there are times when it is easier to reach and touch a button than to have to use your voice or an application. However, few systems have physical controls – Philips Hue being the notable exception. Third-party options such as the Flic Hub provide physical buttons, but they are not always reliable and there situations where, for example, when not all Hue lights are switched on synchronously or it is slower to respond.

The opening of systems to third parties could significantly improve the reliability of buttons, giving you more confidence to try out wired controls for wireless ones.




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