Do you want a really smart home?

smart-personMost of the articles I read will tell you with great enthusiasm that home automation or smart homes are the ability to control your lights, like switch them on or off.

I can’t see what is the difference between switching your lights on and off at the wall or pressing a button on your phone apart from saving a few steps. That’s not automation . . . .

When I saw the post What Everyone’s Getting Wrong About Home Automation, it caught my eye and it basically what I envision for my Smart Family Room.

Please tell me about how smart do you want your home to be?

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Can the IoT Reduce Your Clutter?

I have never thought that a smart home can reduce, but the more I thought about it the it make sense. So here is one big reason for me that a smart home will make my live better.

Product Lifecycle Report

Over the past 30 years, the square footage of American homes has increased by over 50 percent.

There’s a lot to unpack in that statistic, from urban migration to income to personal tastes, but when we consider the sheer amount of stuff we cram into our homes it’s hardly surprising.

In fact, we have greatly increased our household possessions, and according to a four-year study of middle-class households published in 2012, the effect of chaos and clutter is linked to expanded home size, as well as increases in stress levels, and reduced outdoor activity.

While the tyranny of stuff may be stifling the middle-class, the pendulum may be about to swing in the other direction, thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT). But if the problem is things; how can an internet of things solve the problem? The answer lies in “servitization”.

Servitization can be defined a couple of…

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What is it that makes a Smart home smart? – Family Room

Today I’m going to take another step on my journey to find out what makes a smart home smart,

Riggins-FamilyIn my previous blog I wrote about a few criteria that I think will makes a smart home smart. Now I want to be more specific and focus on each major area in the home.

I’m going to start with the Family room because I think it is the most “lived” in area, but on the other hand in some houses the kitchen is also well use for living in, so I the same criteria can apply also to the living part of the kitchen. I will also write about the kitchen in a future post.

So now for my family room I think there must be only one remote that will control my TV, satellite receiver, music, Xbox, DVD player and CD player (yes I know 😕 ).

However, this can’t be all, because after all, the emphasis is on smart. When I hit a button on my smart phone or some other remote that is easy available in the room and can’t disappear, it must ask me, because it will automatic know who am I, what do I want to look/listen and what mood I’m in. Upon that and what it had learned from my previous choices, it must give me a short list from the latest content that is available from my own library, on-line or through satellite with a short description why I will like it.

In the mean time, while I’m busy make my tough 🙂 decision, it must lower the lights to a comfortable viewing level and get my TV/music player boot up and ready. When I made my selection, it must play the content at a volume that will compliment my mood as well the content for whatever I’m viewing or listening.

If it’s winter the fireplace must be started with the correct temperature if it is not already working. For me there’s nothing like the coziness of a fire place, share with a loved one after a cold day outside.

In the summer I like nature’s vibe in my garden and I experience it the best through some open doors and windows. So my smart home must open the doors to my patio and switch on the ceiling fans to provide a nice air flow, because it can get quite warm.

Speaking of sound, my speakers as well as any wiring must be cleverly hidden from view.

I think that is all I would like to be smart in my family room. Please let me know what do you want to be smart in your own family room?

Home Automation Prototype – Expectations

Device Discovery

Lets try and chalk down the expectations from a typical home automation system. The system in consideration is a prototype that should be able to work seamlessly in a local home environment. Connectivity to/from the outside world or cloud would be the next logical step to this type of system.

Scale & Architecture

One ring to rule them allIt is a lot easier to have a local server-client architecture which can allow for centralized control, access and monitoring. A typical home automation network would consist of multiple control nodes, devices and one server to rule them all. However, the devices that control our very lives have been proliferating and hence the architecture of the system should be a able to scale easily.

Minimal Invasion

Most of the houses in developing nations aren’t home automation enabled. Lets face it, the switch boards are designed only in one way, the locks are supposed to lock manually…

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Smart homes for people with special needs

These days more and more home designers taking into account that houses should be nice, safe and practical to live in for everyone in the family, regardless of their physical capabilities. Be it the little baby brother that just starts to learn to walk, mom and dad that are in their prime years, a disabled uncle that needs a special environment or an ageing granddad and mother that are not any more physically capable to do what they have done a few year ago.

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These designers turn to home automation that will help them to create homes that are safe to live in and that is able to adapt to life’s changes – whether caused by changing family composition or the changing abilities of family members.

The traditional way to make a home more accessible for the physical handicapped is to think that by only do some physical changes to the home will be sufficient. And this will include things like change the position of the light switches, flours all on the same level, hand rails, easy accessible bathrooms and toilets and maybe a lift if it’s a double story.

With the traditional way in mind, just think what you can do with even today’s “limited” smart home technology? In the most basic sense you can use your phone, that will be with you most of the time, to control lights, to open doors, see who’s at the door, to water your plants and to open curtains or blinds and this list can go on and on. If you want to go further you can even automate these tasks when for instance it gets dark or light. Devices can share information like its dark and the person is approaching a room then turn on the light. Everybody is asleep put out all the lights, lock all the doors, turn down the heating in certain rooms and enable the alarm. And list can also go on and on.

If you want to read more about this topic I found these articles that I thinks is good. The Best Home Automation Solutions for Disabled People and Accessible Housing by Design.

I think in 5 years’ time the sky will be the limit in what you can do to make the physically disabled people around us, lives much easier.

What do you think? Will Smart homes make disabled people’s lives more easily at home?

6 ways your smart home will cut costs

Connected devices are changing the home insurance market.

It is not only home owners and occupants of Smart homes that think they are the best thing since sliced cheese. Insurance companies also like Smart homes.

I love saving money

A smart home is full of sensors that can alert you when a water pipe has burst and maybe automatic shut off the water supply or when there is a power failure and switch over to a backup generator. They can also detect intruders and let the relevant people know that there are people in your house without your approval, with the necessary video feeds to help them make immediate decisions as how to handle the situation.

Insurance companies start to realize that they can also use this information to calculate a cheaper rate because all this sensors/information at the correct time and with the correct people, will reduce their risk considerable.

To read more about this topic you can go to 6 ways your smart home will cut costs.

How Apple Thinks About Smart Homes

When Apple decides to do something, they do it properly. So when iOS 8 ships, it will have a feature that you won’t see, but will most probably change the way how smart homes work in the future. Along side this iOS 8 feature is the Apple HomeKit and with both these technologies, Apple plans to unify the unruly word of smart things.

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The challenge with smart devices at this moment, is that they each have there own interface/app on your smart phone and they don’t interact or relay messages to one another. However, it doesn’t matter how smart these devices are, throw then under one roof doesn’t make your home a smart home, because there is no universal smart interface.

A solution to this problem is a centralized hub that allows all your smart devices to talk to each other and be controlled via one unified interface. That is exactly what Apple hopes to do with its new HomeKit framework that will use the iPhone with the iOS 8 feuture to do the integration.

A very nice article ‘How Apple Thinks About Smart Homes‘ from Co.Lab discuss this topic in great lengths.

Eve – Smart Home, Meet Your Smart Yard

I battle a bit with the green finger thing. It’s not that I don’t plant things and try to let grow, the problem is usually that I didn’t give the planted things enough water.

I know there is watering products on the market that will take care of it, but my problem with them are that I live in a water scarce region, so I’m not that keen on those systems, because they give water indiscriminately.

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Then I read about the Eve Ecosystem and I was immediately interested. I think this system has lots of potential to make my gardening efforts much more successful.

Go and get more opinions at Digital Trends or Gadget Review. If you want more info straight from the horses’ mouth or maybe pre-order a unit you can go and visit The Eve ecosystem.

Will you please be so kind to like this post.

You can’t avoid the ‘Internet of things’ hype, so you might as well understand it.

In his article Geoff Duncan says that at a very basic level, “Internet of Things” means devices that can sense aspects of the real world – like temperature, lighting, the presence or absence of people or objects, etc. – and report that real-world data, or act on it.

Internet of Things

He gave a bit of history and then write about the “Smart closet” to gave a practical example. The article then goes on and ask the question “Why aren’t we there yet?” and discusses four reasons to answer the question.

I enjoy the article very much and would recommend it to everyone that wants to learn more about the “Internet of things”.

You can read the article here.

If you enjoyed the article, will you please like this blog post, as well as the original article.

Top smart home technology features consumers want

When it comes to smart home technology, amenities like refrigerators, thermostats, lighting, and garage doors are gaining in popularity among homeowners and buyers. But smart technology that controls home security systems might be the most desirable, according to research from iControl Networks, a home technology company, in the 2014 State of the Smart Home report.

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Researchers surveyed more than 900 homebuyers and renters who do and do not use smart technology in their homes. Among respondents, 67 percent ranked home security as the top reason for using a smart home system. This includes items such as fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.

The survey also indicates that people would be willing to pay for smart home security systems, with 51 percent who said they would pay up to $500 for a fully-equipped smart home, and 32 percent who said they would pay between $500 and $3000.

“For now, safety and security are driving initial mass market adoption,” says Jim Johnson, executive vice president of Icontrol Networks. “But the convenience associated with a connected home will likely play a greater role as consumers realize how much easier automation makes their lives.”

Seventy-eight percent of respondents ranked energy management as one of the top features that matter most to them in a smart home. HVAC heating and cooling was cited as the most important feature in helping to reduce energy bills.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents said indoor lighting and ceiling fan control is a desired feature, and 42.5 percent said they are very interested in replacing their thermostat with one that automatically adjusts when the home is unoccupied.