How Home Automation Works and Why it is Beneficial

October 1, 2014

Home automation is similar to building automation, but it automates household activity instead of business activity. It often includes features such as centralized control of HVAC systems, lighting, appliances, air conditioning and locks on gates or doors. The purpose of home automation is to increase energy efficiency and comfort, and it also makes it easier to keep a home secure. It is especially helpful for disabled or elderly individuals. In some cases, it may help people who would otherwise need to live in an assisted living facility remain at home and enjoy their independence longer.

In recent years, home automation systems have increased in popularity due to becoming more affordable and having the ability to be controlled by computers or smartphone apps. These systems combine electrical features in a home with one another. From watering of plants to the more extravagant activation of domestic robots, home automation systems can include only a few simple tasks or a wide array of them. Remote access to the system when it is connected to the Internet allows homeowners the chance to control settings even when they are hundreds of miles away. One major benefit of this is increased safety from possible break-ins. Turning the lights on and off randomly or turning the television on at different intervals gives the appearance of someone being home even if the occupants are on vacation in another country.

As people collect more controllable devices in their homes, connections between these devices and communication between them becomes more and more useful. Refrigerators or air conditioners can send alert messages when they need to be serviced, and an alarm system can call the police or a trusted contact if an intruder activates the system. In some cases, automation may involve as little as turning lights on if a person walks into a room. More advanced systems may sense more than a person walking into a room and actually recognize a certain individual. There may be specific settings that person prefers. For example, one household occupant may prefer bright light and to have a decorative waterfall turned on, and another occupant may prefer lower light and having the television turned on to a specific channel instead. Very advanced systems can also be programmed for different settings for each person based on the time of day or the day of the week.

Some people like home automation systems for the opportunity to change air conditioning or heating settings while they are away. This could be turning the heat or air down while they are on vacation, or some people may like to turn the heat down while they are gone but turn it back up before they leave work and head home. This means they can come home to a warm house instead of waiting to turn the heat up until they arrive home and subsequently waiting for the house to heat up while they are home.

There are some very advanced automation systems that keep track of products in the home. When people use products, they can scan the bar code or a special tag, and this information is entered into the automation system. The system can easily prepare shopping lists to ensure no items run out of stock. Some systems may also be designed to automatically order replacements of some items. Home automation systems include sensors, controllers, actuators, buses and interfaces. To learn more about the benefits of these systems and how they affect home insurance, discuss concerns with an agent.

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