The Intelligent Home

The terms home automation and smart home technology are now fairly common. While companies such as Google and Samsung are creating devices designed to make your life easier and more integrated, you might just be wondering what is home automation?

 The Chef Collection by Samsung combines technology and efficiency throughout all your home’s appliances.  Image courtesy of Samsung

The Chef Collection by Samsung combines technology and efficiency throughout all your home’s appliances. Image courtesy of Samsung

First, the term smart home and home automation can be used interchangeably. In fact the term “smart home automation” is commonly used to describe a home where the electronic devices are connected to a remotely controllable network. Safewise.com describes home automation as “a step toward what is referred to as the “Internet of Things,” in which everything has an assigned IP address, and can be monitored and accessed remotely.” This means you can dictate how, when, and why a device reacts. 
Home automation technology can send alerts to your smartphone pertaining to a variety of events. You can receive notifications when there is a water leak, when visitors are at your front your door, or you can remotely turn on lights while at work, on vacation, or out later than expected. You may also automate thermostats, lamps, light switches, light bulbs, locks, home security sensors, video cameras, life safety sensors, speakers, and more. 
Smart home technology can make your home entertainment experience more enjoyable. Whether you want to hear your favorite songs from room to room, or if you enjoy watching summer blockbusters at home, the latest entertainment technology can be integrated throughout your home. For movie buffs, home automation makes your movie night epic. Between the lights, the beautiful 4K resolution, and the latest high definition sound systems, there is no reason to see movies anywhere else but from the comfort of your own home. Now,  you can command your automated home theater with a single device.“Pause the movie and raise the lights in a specified zone when you’re ready to get some popcorn and fix a drink. And when the pizza guy arrives, answer the door from the same device you’re already using to control your theater via the HD intercom,” says liasonhomes.com. 
This technology also helps you begin your day the right way. Rise and shine as your morning playlist plays softly through the in-wall speakers while whole home audio provides the perfect breakfast soundtrack to help you get ready for your day. And with a pre-set “scene” you can integrate an audio system with motorized window treatments and smart lighting to repeat it all the next day with the touch of a single button. Home automation is not limited to inside the home. Play catch or cook-out to your favorite summer soundtrack. Cheer on your favorite teams as you watch on your 4K outdoor television with weather- and heat-resistant features. 

 Smart home assistants like the Amazon Echo can make controlling devices like your thermostat, lights and music a breeze.

Smart home assistants like the Amazon Echo can make controlling devices like your thermostat, lights and music a breeze.

From a refrigerator that can alert you when you are out of milk to an oven that won’t burn your dinner, home automation really shines through with smart appliances. Ovens can now help you automate the cooking process, update you on the progress of your meal, or make sure you are following a recipe correctly. The Samsung Family Hub fridge has a touch screen that acts as the communication center for your home sharing calendars, photos, notes and more. It even has cameras inside so you see what you’re low on while out shopping. 
Smart thermostats are another time-saving device you can add to your home. They let you remotely control your home’s temperature from your tablet, smartphone, or desktop for greater control over your A/C and heating unit. The ability to remotely control your home’s temperature is great for people with busy schedules. There is no reason have your A/C working hard in an empty home, but it is also nice to walk into a perfectly cooled room after a long day at work and a smart thermostat helps you control your environment from across town or across the world. While they do not directly save you money, smart thermostats give you a way to heat and cool more efficiently which should spare you in the long run. You will also receive usage reports, so you can better understand your energy consumption and can adjust preferences to save money.
The Internet of Things has also made home security simple and relatively affordable. Smart security systems are now highly customizable and available as do-it-yourself kits or as professionally installed options that include expert monitoring (vs. you monitoring your home through your smartphone or tablet). A smart home security system is one that connects to your home’s Wi-Fi network so you may monitor and control your security devices through your smartphone and an app. Entry-level systems typically include a particular number of door and window sensors, a motion detector, and a hub that communicates with these devices using one or more wireless protocols. From there, you can add extra door, motion, and window sensors to provide whole home coverage and build a comprehensive system that includes door locks, garage door openers, indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras, lights, sirens, smoke detectors, water sensors, and more.

 The Ring™ Video Doorbell Pro is easy to monitor with your smart phone and you can keep track of who is at the door while at work or traveling.

The Ring™ Video Doorbell Pro is easy to monitor with your smart phone and you can keep track of who is at the door while at work or traveling.

  Any good smart security system offers components that work together in a seamless environment and can be manipulated using customized rules. For example, you can create directives that turn lights turn on when motion is detected, have your doors unlock when a smoke alarm sounds, and have a camera begin recording when a sensor is triggered. 
The great thing about home automation is that it is customizable so you can automate as much or as little of your home as you desire. Some individuals just want to control their lights through their smart devices while others prefer to have all of their gadgets and electronics integrated. Just remember, from smart TVs to smart security solutions, home automation makes your life easier and a little more fun.