What Is Home Automation and Do You Need It?
As technology continues to grow, home automation is an increasingly popular trend. With home automation, multiple things in your home are connected to the Internet, so you can control them with an app on your smartphone. Things you can control with a home automation system include: lighting, appliances, cameras, security systems, phone systems, home theatre systems, thermostats, irrigation systems, and more. All you need to get started is: an Internet connection with wireless network, a smartphone, and a home automation kit that includes a central unit and adapters.
Control Away from Home
Home automation gives you remote access to all items in your home that are part of the system. If you forget to lock the door when you leave the house, you can lock it on your own away from home, too. If you want to turn the lights on so you don’t have to stumble around looking for your key to get in, you can. If you want to arm and disarm your security system, you can. If you have surveillance systems on your property as part of your home security system, you can turn the cameras on and off, as well. Everything’s done with the touch of a button on your smartphone.
Make it Look Like You’re Home When You’re Not
One of the best ways to deter a burglar is to make it look like you’re home. This means turning lights on and off at regular intervals, turning the TV on and off as if someone were in the home watching it, opening and closing blinds, etc. Many home automation systems have a vacation mode that allows you to simulate being home. This way, everything is handled at the push of a button, and you don’t have to worry about your home being vulnerable while you are away on vacation.
If you take your home automation system one step further to include a smart watering system, you can even turn sprinklers on and off. Plus, because the water systems adapt to local weather, you’ll conserve water and only water plants when they really need it.
Should You Automate Your Home?
According to Lowe’s Smart Home Survey, 62% of those surveyed say security and home monitoring in the most beneficial reason to own a smart home. 44% say it would be worth it to reduce energy bills and save money. Only 29% of those surveyed say protection from fires, floods, and other natural disasters is an important reason to automate a home.
According to a report from Business Insider Intelligence, connected-home device shipments will grow at a compound annual rate of 67% over the next five years, This means home automation systems will grow faster than tablets or smartphones, with an estimated 1.8 billion units shipped in 2019. By “connected home devices”, we account for all smart appliances, security systems, and energy equipment. In 2014, the connected-home device industry is expected to make more than $61 billion in revenue, and soaring to $490 billion in 2019.
Ultimately, a home automation system could pay for itself in the long run. When you automate your lights and your heating and air conditioning systems, you are in much greater control of your energy consumption. Home automation systems not only provide insight into how much energy appliances use, they keep you from using more than you need to.
If you’re looking to save money on your energy bills and do your part to help the environment, home automation is the way to go. You can even take it one step further and install drape and curtain controllers. This allows you to close the drapes to keep the sunlight from heating your home and forcing your air conditioning system to work harder.
Can I Try it to See if I Like it?
With special “smart outlets” you can try out home automation before you invest in automating the entire home. The outlets allow you to plug them into any regular outlet in your home, and then control whatever you plug in to the outlet with the companion app. Buying a single outlet and using it in your home with a lamp is a good way to see how it works. This home automation method will not provide the secure monitoring associated with a home security system. if you already have a home security system installed in your home, the automation of even a single outlet can add increased protection.
Though this approach offers a way for you to test the water, it is more cost effective to purchase an entire system. Since there are many options, it is best to first plan what you want to automate with the system, and then look for the home automation package that will cover it. It is possible to start small, for instance, just by automating the lights in your home and then upgrade to automate other things.
Does a Home Automation System Put Your Home at Risk?
Since home automation connects things to the “Internet of Things”, it’s reasonable to think that you may be putting your home at risk for hackers. While it’s normal to be worried about Internet security, home automation systems are highly secure. Even still, make sure you take standard privacy precautions, and secure your home wifi network with a password. Both the home automation company and your Internet service provider can make sure you are secure.
Do I Need to Upgrade My Internet Plan?
In most cases, you will not need to upgrade your plan with your Internet service provider, because you’ll have enough bandwidth to support multiple devices anyway. However, if you plan to automate your entire home, plus have computers, smartphones, video game consoles, etc. on your network, it could stress the bandwidth and slow the signal down for everyone. If you have any questions or concerns about making sure you keep adequate Internet speed for all devices in your home, talk to your Internet service provider. Chances are if you have to pay for a service upgrade, the cost will still be far less than what you save on your utilities by consuming less power and water.