Introduction to Home Automation and a Preview of more to Come

Introduction to Home Automation and a Preview of more to Come

December 09, 2017

Home Automation

 Home Automation has been around for many years, but early home automation required expensive wiring, complex programming, centralized hubs, and had limited capabilities. Advances in technology has changed all that. Modern wireless technology has eliminated expensive wiring. Complex programming has been replaced with intuitive graphic user interfaces, and while centralized hubs still exist, they are simpler to use, more reliable and may not be required in all systems depending upon your needs. Complex control combinations can be created simply and activated with the push of a button or a voice command on your smart phone or other smart device. Complex interactions between devices once impossible on the best systems, can now be easily achieved with apps such as IFTTT (If This Then That) or Stringify. The Internet of Thing (IoT) is poised to change the way we interact with our everyday products. This technology is being integrated into your appliances, your car, and the everyday products you use. It will allow your devices to communicate with other IoT devices, to sense your presence, anticipate your needs, and to enrich our lives. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here in the form of Amazon Echo and Google Home. AI allows these systems to understand and react to voice commands, to learn our personalities and desires, and to distinguish one individual from another. Once Google Home learns you and your relationships, it knows a command from you to “Call my mother” is different from the same command issued by your wife, and it correctly responds to each command.

 

Leaps in technology is just one of the reasons Home Automation has come of age. Prices have plummeted, and Smart Home options are now within everyone’s reach. Home automation is finally positioned to reach escape velocity, and the possibilities are endless.

 

It is our goal at Indigo Marsh to help you understand the technology and integrate it into your everyday life. We will be presenting a series of upcoming articles on smart home technology. How it can save you energy, keep you comfortable, and keep you safe. We will be explaining the technology behind these devices in simple terms for everyone to understand, and keeping you informed of the latest developments. Finally, we will be asking for your feedback on topics you want to learn more about and including those topics in future articles. Below is a brief list of some of the topics we plan to explore. With your help, there will be many more.

 

 

Independent Living

 We will explore automation options with Independent Living or Aging in Place technologies where automated pill dispensers collect your medication, disperse it on a prescribed schedule, and alert you when it's time for your next dose. These systems can even alert a caregiver or other designated parties if your loved one fails to take their medication. Other systems will alert you if someone wanders from a safe zone or takes a fall. These technologies not only provide your aging family members a newfound independence, but allow you peace of mind knowing you can monitor their well being.

 

 

Communication Protocols

 It’s not a complicated as it sounds. Communication protocols are like languages. Some devices communicate through Wifi, others via protocols like Z-wave or Zigbee. What does that mean and which one is the best? We will be discussing the pros and cons of each. If Protocols are the language of computers, Hubs are the interpreters. Hubs have the ability to communicate in several different languages or protocols. Some speak Zigbee and Z-wave and readily communicate with devices that speak those languages.

We will be discussing the differences in hubs, if you need them, and how they work in an upcoming article.

 

 

Virtual Assistants

 Amazon Echo and Google Home are the two best known. These devices as well as your smart phone have the ability to transform your voice commands into smart home actions and control devices from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. While the list is growing, not all devices are compatible with these virtual assistants. We will help you sort through the compatibility issues and ensure your systems are made future proof by choosing the right technology.

 

IFTTT and Stringify

 What is IFTTT and what is Stingify? Which one if either do I need? Using simple graphic blocks, these free apps can help you create a complex interdependent sequence of events, and a community of users is available to help you reach the objectives of your next project.

 

Sensors

Smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, leak detectors, and air quality monitoring are just a few of the sensors available to incorporate in your smart home. These devices are reliable and affordable and will help keep you and your family safe and comfortable. We will be discussing which ones you need, why you need them, and how they are superior to the previous generations of sensors.

 

Security Systems

Now you can install your own, keep your family and possessions safe, and eliminate expensive monthly monitoring fees. Today systems are wireless, inexpensive, and easy to install. They allow you to monitor and record both day and night activities on your property from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection.

 

Scenes

 Turning lights and appliances on and off remotely is nice, but the real power comes when you combine these actions in scenes. Tell your smart device, "Good morning" and it automatically brightens the bedroom light, adjusts the blinds, starts the coffee, and adjusts the downstairs thermostat. Your system will know when the last person leaves your home and can automatically adjust the thermostat, lock the house, turn on the security system, and turn off the lights. When you leave work to return home, it can anticipate your arrival. When you enter the driveway, it opens the garage door, and turns on the lights in preparation for your entry. And it can do all of this automatically without any physical input by you. You design your own scenes to suit your needs and your personal environment.

 

Phantom Load

 What is it? How it's costing you money. Why it's getting worse, and what you can do to reduce its impact.

 

Protecting Your Privacy

 With all my products connected, don’t I have to be worried about hackers? Are some systems more secure than others?  How do I ensure my privacy and data is safe? These are all valid questions, and some systems do a better job of protecting your privacy than others. If you're concerned about privacy you will want to join us for this discussion.

 

The revolution is well underway, and we are here to help you understand it. In much the same way that all TVs today come with remote control, so soon will your home. Join us now to learn more about the amazing technology behind these systems, and the potential impact they will have on your life.

 

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