Smart homes: The future has arrived – Khaleej Times

We are living in an age where it’s possible to control our household devices using smartphones and remote computers. Thanks to technological advancements, smart home solutions are evolving and have seen momentous growth over the past few years.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been trending in the digital world and is a topic of conversation in the workplace and outside. IoT is an emerging trend and a ‘smart home’ is its subset. IoT involves the connectivity of all things that surround us, including vehicles, home appliances, buildings and everything else.

Internet of things is of significant importance for the future of smart homes. As the number of devices that are connected to the Internet increase, the more potential it will provide to integrate these into home automation.

Home automation refers to the ability of controlling devices around the house, from window shades to air conditioners with a simple click from an associated software application (app) installed on your phone, tablet or a remote computer. From a security point of view, this can also include alarm system, door locks, smoke detectors and surveillance equipment. Now you don’t need to worry if you forgot to lock the main door before leaving the house or you want to put the air conditioner on before you arrive home. Depending on the requirements and the investment you are ready to make, almost any device can be automated or remotely controlled.

The concept of smart homes has been in theory long before it became a reality, and large electronic companies have been pouring millions of dollars and working hard to research, innovate and reduce hardware costs to make this concept a reality and affordable for the general consumer. Since modern homes are equipped with Wi-Fi Internet, it makes complete sense to bring the appliances onboard and control them from anywhere to seamlessly integrate our digital and physical worlds. The two main characteristics of smart homes are automation and remote control.

Automation: This is where a home’s devices are programmed and scheduled based on user inputs and preferences. This can include events triggered at a specific time, for example turning the lights on and off at a specific time of the day. This may also include non-scheduled events that are triggered when another event happens, for example turn the flash lights on when the safety alarm is triggered. You can customise the settings on each device to dictate how, when and why it should react and the device will follow orders, thus providing control, convenience, time and energy savings and a complete smart home experience. Initially, the devices work based on user programming, but with time, the device collects data and adapts to patterns.

Remote control: This is where the devices are connected to the Internet to be monitored and controlled remotely with no schedules or specific time but purely at the owner’s click of a button. Remote control provides a convenient way of interacting with your home and controlling any connected devices remotely. These connected devices can also send notification to your app when an unwanted event is triggered.

Benefits: While ease and accessibility are some benefits provided by smart homes, convenience and collaboration are also handy. Smart home technology enables appliances to operate on least required energy by turning them on and off only when required, this saves a lot of energy and cost as well. If saving energy doesn’t sound a big benefit for you, reducing the energy bill surely is. The other big reason that gets my attention is that by automating small tasks, we can save a lot of time which can be utilised in other activities. Safety is one of the main concerns for families, and automated homes provide advanced surveillance systems which can safeguard homes even while you are away.

Future: The home automation market is rapidly growing and primarily driven by growing need for effective solutions in various domestic applications. The global home automation market is expected to reach $21 billion by 2020, growing at an annual rate of around 25 per cent between 2015 and 2020. The GCC has also witnessed a growth in demand for home automation products and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14 per cent during the period of 2016-2020 as predicted by researchers.

The concept of home automation has been around for a long time but the technology to realise it didn’t exist. The future has already arrived, just open the door!

The writer is online marketing manager at Aston Pearl Real Estate. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper’s policies.


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