In this era of lightning fast everything, our schedules have become jam packed, leaving little time for minor daily chores. And we are constantly on the run, having no time for ourselves. Time is equivalent to money and any wastage here can cost us dearly. With computers and machinery making lives easier for us, home automation is the latest gift to humankind today. This is the future of technology and can make our lives dramatically easy, stress free, safe, and sorted.
The advent of home automation can be traced back to the invention of washing machines, microwave ovens, dishwashers, substituting human effort by smart machines that reduced the time taken for daily activities like cooking, laundry and doing the dishes. Heaters, refrigerators, dryers, sewing machines have further dominated the home improvement sector and are now an integral unit of any household unit which has become possible with the generation and distribution of electricity across various geographical borders. This is the latest trend to take the first world country households by storm and help older, disabled, geriatric and bedridden people exist independently.
Today home automation is an industry by itself, including automatic thermostats, fire, leakage and security alarms, sensors, locking systems, ventilation systems and much more. In the near future, incorporation of artificial intelligence and robots will also be done to make your smart homes even smarter.
Home automation or domotics is basically the linking of home systems with a user friendly interface using a gateway system to help control home appliances with the help of the internet. Popular and certified communication systems employed for home automation include X10, Ethernet, RS-485, 6LoWPAN, Bluetooth LE (BLE), ZigBee and Z-Wave, etc.
According to Li et al. (2016) home automation is classified on the basis of generations and includes:
First generation: wireless technology using a proxy server, e.g. Zigbee automation;
Second generation: artificial intelligence for controlling electrical appliances, e.g. Amazon Echo;
Third generation: Robots e.g. Robot Rovio, Roomba.
Today home automation includes applications like positioning, indoor monitoring systems, smart meters, environmental sensors for detecting carbon dioxide emissions, solar panel sensors and controllers, HVAC systems, lighting sensors and lighting control systems, Pet Care, and much more.
Home automation is a boon for the elderly, bedridden and the handicapped, helping them accomplish their daily chores with minimum difficulty, and enabling them to exist independently without having to hire human help. Home automation also helps keep your homes secure with the help of the internet, Bluetooth, and other technologies irrespective of how far and for how long you may be away, and much more.
But certain experts have criticized home automation and warned about the possible outcomes of excessive dependence on technology for managing your homes. First of all, these systems being controlled by communication systems are extremely vulnerable and can be hacked into very easily, considerably endangering the safety of the inmates. Moreover, the softwares implemented for the applications can turn incompatible and obsolete in no time. Moreover, these systems are very expensive and difficult to manage.
Home automation is still at a nascent stage and needs to be evolved with all foolproof mechanisms in place. Nevertheless, the future is exciting with Home Automation!