Smart Home Automation – The Ultimate Guide
Nearly every aspect of your life can be improved with smart technology, including your home. The way you control appliances, lighting, security, and even the temperature in your home has been revolutionized with smart home automation technology.
But, what is smart home automation, really? What are its capabilities and limitations? In this guide you’ll learn what smart home automation actually is, how it’s commonly used, what products are helping people improve their lives with smart home automation, and more.
What Is Smart Home Automation?
Smart home automation is using technology to turn manual systems of the home into systems that operate automatically, remotely, efficiently or all of the above. Think of home tech like automated lighting, security systems, smart climate control, entertainment systems, assistive technologies and even smart appliances.
These systems work with some impressive components as well – technology like leveraging network hubs to coordinate appliances and systems, cameras, sensors, and programmable controls. And all can be run through either a wired connection or WiFi.
So why consider a smart home system? Well, convenience for starters. Instead of walking into a hot, stuffy home after a long trip and waiting for the AC to kick in, an automated system will make sure your home is at just the right temperature when you walk in the door ready to relax and unwind.
But that’s most certainly not all. When smart home automation is done effectively, it can also improve system efficiencies, save money, and provide an extra layer of safety and security to your home.
Make Your Home Feel Safe
Security systems are a major part of many home automation systems. Through automated sensors, cameras, and home alarm systems you can be notified the second an unknown visitor arrives on your property. Automated lighting solutions can add another layer of home security, turning on and off while you’re away to give the appearance of someone being home.
It can help protect those inside the home as well. If you have small children or have elderly in your care – home automation has some incredible safety benefits. Lights can automatically switch on when Grandpa gets up to use the restroom, cameras can monitor children while you’re in the other room, and proactive alerts can warn you of hazards such as carbon monoxide or smoke.
What Are the Types of Smart Home Automation?
Smart home automation can look a little different for every home. The setup you opt for will depend largely on your specific preferences and home needs. Typically, home automation systems are a combination of several different types of automated systems that work in harmony. The types of home automation systems offered include:
A home security system uses a collection of sensors, security cameras, and alarms that are connected through your home network. These systems can set off an alarm when someone breaks in, notify authorities, and keep you updated through your smartphone.
One of the most useful products in home security is Alarm.com’s video monitoring services, which include continuous HD recording, secure cloud storage, and various other features.
Automated lighting controls can be set up to follow a set schedule, like dimming the lights on or off throughout the day, or triggered by a specific action, like a loss of outdoor lighting, motion sensors, etc.
Entire groups of lights can be switched on and off with the press of a single button, and lighting in different rooms can be configured for specific situations. If you want to dim the lights in your living room for a movie night, all it takes is the tap of a button.
Automated lighting systems can further deter trespassers by either creating the semblance that someone is home or by automatically switching on exterior lights when people approach.
Lutron provides high quality lighting control solutions for a wide variety of in-home applications, including hands-free Caséta wireless controls, Maestro C•L dimmers, and timers that allow for a fully customizable and highly convenient lighting automation solution for your home.
Smart thermostats can be programmed to follow specific schedules, reducing heating and cooling system usage. Some will even learn your habits and automatically adjust to your preferences. They make it easy to follow energy-efficient practices, like turning down the AC when the home is empty or in plenty of shade, making it far easier to save on energy costs.
A quality home entertainment has several components: high quality television screens, superior sound systems, atmospheric lighting, and proper furnishing. Nowadays watching a movie at home can be as theatric as going to an actual theater!
But don’t be afraid to spread the love. AV systems can also be distributed throughout your home, making it as easy to enjoy the game from your patio as it is from your couch.
Nearly everything in your home, down to the kitchen sink, can be automated. Kitchen automation makes cooking and preparing meals much simpler and easier, washers and dryers can start and stop at a single command. Even the locks on your doors can unlock for you by using the GPS on your phone.
People value their independence, and that’s no less true for seniors as for anyone else. Wellness and assistive technologies allow elderly individuals to continue to live as independently as possible while also providing safety for them.
Personal emergency response systems are one of the technologies used to assist elderly family members without interfering with their normal routines by monitoring activity patterns and providing alerts if something seems off.
Alarm.com offers PERS alarm and monitoring systems, mobility equipment, and reminder alarms – all of which assist the elderly and those with disabilities throughout their daily life.
How Do Smart Home Systems Work Together?
Now how can you bring all this technology together and avoid a mess of remotes, apps, and other controls that lead to clutter and confusion? You’ll need a unified system to manage everything.
This problem is solved with a smart hub. Connecting all of your smart home solutions independently works, but leaves you with several different apps needed to manage your home. A smart hub is a centralized unit that connects to your home network and, therefore, all your home’s automated systems.
You can then connect to the smart hub through your phone and control everything with one app. This frees up storage space on your phone and keeps your smart home automation system simple.
DIY vs. Professionally Installed Home Automation Systems
A major part of investing in your own home automation system is the installation process. Many people prefer to do work on their home strictly on their own, but that can be difficult when it comes to smart home systems.
It requires extensive knowledge of how your home is wired, how networks function, and how individual systems interact, not to mention all the time it takes to actually set the system up!
For a small scale project, such as installing automatic lights in one room, DIY can be fairly simple, but doing larger scale installations are best reserved for professionals. Professionals not only have the expertise and tools to install smart home automation systems properly, they can also work much more quickly than homeowners could on their own.
When to Install a Home Automation System
If you want smart home automation for your current home, installation can be a bit more involved, especially if you opt for a fully wired home network. This may require digging into the walls, which is why many homeowners will opt for a wireless network.
When installing during a new build, it’s best done before the walls are completely insulated and covered, such as when the electrical wiring is being installed. This will ensure everything is in place and ready to go for a fully operational smart home experience.
Getting Started with Your Smart Home Automation System
The time and place to get your home automation system started will depend on what you need and desire most. You might start with lighting in a single room or climate control with a smart thermostat.
Or you might go larger scale with full home security, lighting control, and distributed AV. It depends on your needs, your wants and your budget.
Regardless of where you start, you will want professionals to design and install your system. Livewire can provide you with the professional expertise and high quality equipment you need in your smart home automation system. To get started with your home automation system, contact Livewire today at 804-616-4156.