How smart is your home?
What if all the devices in your life could connect to the internet? Not just computers and smartphones, but everything: clocks, speakers, lights, door bells, cameras, windows, window blinds, hot water heaters, appliances, cooking utensils, you name it. And what if those devices could all communicate, send you information, and take your commands? It’s not science fiction; it’s the internet of things (iot), and it’s a key component of home automation and smart homes.
Home automation is exactly what it sounds like: automating the ability to control items around the house—from window shades to pet feeders—with a simple push of a button (or a voice command). Some activities, like setting up a lamp to turn on and off at your whim, are simple and relatively inexpensive. Others, like advanced surveillance cameras, may require a more serious investment of time and money.
There are many smart home product categories, so you can control everything from lights and temperature to locks and security in your home.
We are living in the world of automation where most of the systems are getting automated, such as industrial automation, homes and other business sectors. Home automation systems are advancement to the mechanization processes wherein human efforts are needed with the machinery equipments to operate various loads in homes. It involves automatic controlling of home appliances using different technologies and controllers over desktops, laptops smart phones or tablets.
Home automation gives you access to control devices in your home from a mobile device anywhere in the world. The term may be used for isolated programmable devices, like thermostats and sprinkler systems, but home automation more accurately describes homes in which nearly everything — lights, appliances, electrical outlets, heating and cooling systems — are hooked up to a remotely controllable network. From a home security perspective, this also includes your alarm system, and all of the doors, windows, locks, smoke detectors, surveillance cameras and any other sensors that are linked to it.
Home automation is building automation for a home, called a smart home or smart house. It involves the control and automation of lighting, heating (such as smart thermostats), ventilation, air conditioning (hvac), and security, as well as home appliances such as washer/dryers, ovens or refrigerators/freezers. Wi-fi is often used for remote monitoring and control. Home devices, when remotely monitored and controlled via the internet, are an important constituent of the internet of things. Modern systems generally consist of switches and sensors connected to a central hub sometimes called a “gateway” from which the system is controlled with a user interface that is interacted either with a wall-mounted terminal, mobile phone software, tablet computer or a web interface, often but not always via internet cloud services.
What is a home automation system?
Home automation system makes the operations of various home appliances more convenient and saves energy. With the energy saving concept, home automation or building automation makes life very simple nowadays. It involves automatic controlling of all electrical or electronic devices in homes or even remotely through wireless communication. Centralized control of lighting equipments, air conditioning and heating, audio/video systems, security systems, kitchen appliances and all other equipments used in home systems is possible with this system.
home automation system structure
This system is mainly implemented by sensors, controlling devices and actuators as shown in the figure. The sensors detects light, motion, temperature and other sensing elements, and then send that data to the main controlling devices. These sensors can be thermocouples or thermistors, photo detectors, level sensors, pressure sensors, current transformers, ir sensors, etc., which need an additional signal conditioning equipment to communicate with the main controller.
Controllers may be personal computers/laptops, touch pads, smart phones, etc., attached to the controlling devices like programmable-logic controllers that receive the information from the sensors, and based on the program, control the actuators. This program can be modified based on the load operations. The programmable controller allows to connect various sensors and actuators through various input and output modules whether they are analog or digital.
Actuators are the final controlling devices like limit switches, relays, motors and other controlling mechanisms which finally control the home equipments. Communication plays an important role in this home automation system for the remote access of these operations. This smart home system also provides continuous monitoring through video surveillance with cameras, scheduling, and energy saving operations. This is the best solution even for the elderly and the disabled persons to operate equipments.
Types of home automation systems
Implementation of the home automation depends on the type of controls like wired or wireless. There are mainly three types of home automation systems:
Power line based home automation
Wired or bus cable home automation
Wireless home automation
- Power line home automation system
This automation is inexpensive and doesn’t require additional cables to transfer the information, but uses existing power lines to transfer the data. However, this system involves a large complexity and necessitates additional converter circuits and devices.
- Wired home automation system
wired home automation system
In this type of automation, all the home equipments are connected to a main controller (programmable logic controller) through a communication cable. The equipment is attached with actuators to communicate with the main controller. The entire operations are centralized by the computer that continuously communicates with the main controller.
- Wireless home automation
wireless home automation
This is the expansion and advancement of wired automation which uses wireless technologies like ir, zigbee, wi-fi, gsm, bluetooth, etc., for achieving remote operation. As an example, the gsm based home automation provides the controlling of home equipments by an sms to the gsm modem.
Applications and technologies
Occupancy-aware control system: it is possible to sense the occupancy of the home using smart meters and environmental sensors like co2 sensors, which can be integrated into the building automation system to trigger automatic responses for energy efficiency and building comfort applications.
Security: a household security system integrated with a home automation system can provide additional services such as remote surveillance of security cameras over the internet, or central locking of all perimeter doors and windows.
Leak detection, smoke and co detectors
Pet care, for example tracking the pets movements and controlling access rights
Automation is, unsurprisingly, one of the two main characteristics of home automation. Automation refers to the ability to program and schedule events for the devices on the network. The programming may include time-related commands, such as having your lights turn on or off at specific times each day. It can also include non-scheduled events, such as turning on all the lights in your home when your security system alarm is triggered.
Once you start to understand the possibilities of home automation scheduling, you can come up with any number of useful and creative solutions to make your life better. Is that west-facing window letting in too much light? Plug your motorized blinds into a “smart” outlet and program it to close at noon each day. Do you have someone come by at the same time each day to walk the dog? Program your home automation system to unlock the front door for them, and lock it up again when they’re done.
The other main characteristic of cutting-edge home automation is remote monitoring and access. While a limited amount of one-way remote monitoring has been possible for some time, it’s only since the rise in smartphones and tablets that we’ve had the ability to truly connect to our home networks while we’re away. With the right home automation system, you can use any internet-connected device to view and control the system itself and any attached devices.
Monitoring apps can provide a wealth of information about your home, from the status of the current moment to a detailed history of what has happened up to now. You can check your security system’s status, whether the lights are on, whether the doors are locked, what the current temperature of your home is and much more. With cameras as part of your home automation system, you can even pull up real-time video feeds and literally see what’s going on in your home while you’re away.
Even simple notifications can be used to perform many important tasks. You can program your system to send you a text message or email whenever your security system registers a potential problem, from severe weather alerts to motion detector warnings to fire alarms. You can also get notified for more mundane events, such as programming your “smart” front door lock to let you know when your child returns home from school.
The real hands-on control comes in when you start interacting with the home automation system from your remote app. In addition to arming and disarming your security system, you can reprogram the scheduling, lock and unlock doors, reset the thermostat and adjust the lights all from your phone, from anywhere in the world. As manufacturers are creating more and more “smart” devices and appliances all the time, the possibilities for home automation are virtually limitless.
Home automation components
What kinds of things can be part of a home automation system? Ideally, anything that can be connected to a network can be automated and controlled remotely. In the real world (outside of research labs and the homes of the rich and famous), home automation most commonly connects simple binary devices. This includes “on and off” devices such as lights, power outlets and electronic locks, but also devices such as security sensors which have only two states, open and closed.
Where home automation becomes truly “smart” is in the internet-enabled devices that attach to this network and control it. The classic control unit is the home computer, for which many of the earlier home automation systems were designed. Today’s home automation systems are more likely to distribute programming and monitoring control between a dedicated device in the home, like the control panel of a security system, and a user-friendly app interface that can be accessed via an internet-enabled pc, smartphone or tablet.
Manufacturers have produced a wide variety of “smart” devices, many of which are full of innovative features but few of which offer the kind of integration needed to be part of a complete home automation system. Much of the problem has been that each manufacturer has a different idea of how these devices should be connected and controlled. So while you may have a “smart” tv, washing machine, refrigerator, thermostat, coffee maker or any of the other internet-ready household devices on the market, the end result is usually a separate control scheme for each device.
In the near future, home automation may be standardized to let us truly take advantage of all of these additional possibilities. For the time being, the home security providers that specialize in home automation have focused on the most critical and useful parts of a connected home. At a basic level, this means the doors and windows and environmental devices (thermostat, smoke detectors, temperature, humidity, fire and carbon dioxide sensors) that keep you safe and comfortable. For additional real-time security, convenience and control, home automation systems from security providers should also include options for video cameras. With the best systems, you’ll also be able to include lights and individual electrical outlets into your home automation package.
One clear advantage of home automation is the unmatched potential for energy savings, and therefore cost savings. Your thermostat is already “smart” in the sense that it uses a temperature threshold to govern the home’s heating and cooling system. In most cases, thermostats can also be programmed with different target temperatures in order to keep energy usage at a minimum during the hours when you’re least likely to benefit from the heating and cooling.
At the most basic level, home automation extends that scheduled programmability to lighting, so that you can suit your energy usage to your usual daily schedule. With more flexible home automation systems, electrical outlets or even individual devices can also be automatically powered down during hours of the day when they’re not needed. As with isolated devices like thermostats and sprinkler systems, the scheduling can be further broken down to distinguish between weekends and even seasons of the year, in some cases.
Set schedules are helpful, but many of us keep different hours from day to day. Energy costs can be even further reduced by programming “macros” into the system and controlling it remotely whenever needed. In other words, you could set up a “coming home” event that turns on lights and heating as you’re driving home after work, for example, and activate it all with one tap on your smartphone. An opposite “leaving home” event could save you from wasting energy on forgotten lights and appliances once you’ve left for the day.
Touch screen based home automation system
This touch-screen based home automation project explains how the automation can be implemented to our homes at lower costs. In this system, a microcontroller is attached to the light loads to control them. At the controlling side, a touch screen allows any user to send the command signals in order to operate the loads. These signals are transferred to the microcontroller, and according to the program written, it sends the command signals to the encoder circuit. Encoder converts this data into binary format, and then transfers that to an rf transmitter; from there the data is transmitted to the receiver section.
touch screen based home automation system- transmitter
At the receiver side, the rf receiver receives the information sent by the transmitter section, and then decodes and transfers that to the microcontroller. Therefore, the microcontroller sends the command signals to an opto-isolator, which triggers the traics. All the light loads are controlled by the triacs; as switches these are enabled only after triggering their gates.
touch screen based home automation system- reciever
It is therefore possible to implement home automation using gsm as extension to the above project by simply adding a gsm modem to the receiver side of the microcontroller in place of an rf receiver. Therefore, the message send from a cell phone is received by this modem, which then sends that control signals to the microcontroller, which further controls the loads.
This is all about the home automation systems with a practical example. In addition to this, it is also possible to build the best home automation system using advanced controllers like plcs.