What is a smart home and how does it work?

Like other aspects of our daily lives, technology has been incorporated into the home at an accelerated rate in recent years. A new way of enjoying and caring for your home has come through smart homes.
In addition to its advantages to improve the safety, sustainability and savings of our homes.

Intelligent home, what it is

The term intelligent house includes all those automated systems capable of controlling, in a more comfortable and efficient way, functionalities such as the temperature of the house, multimedia services or anti-theft systems, among many other aspects.

To achieve this, smarthome uses domotic technology. That is to say, systems programmed to be able to be controlled of automatic and remote way and with incidence in all the spaces of the home. This includes the operation of appliances, air conditioning systems, security control and other devices connected to the network.

Intelligent homes and their functions

In the beginning the intelligent houses had as main focus the energetic and climatic control of the home. Or what is the same, the possibility of programming which temperature is the most appropriate at any given time, according to the outdoor climate, the time of day, the number of people in the home or simply our preferences.

This functionality has been perfected over the years. If before this was controlled through controls or screens installed at home, now it is possible to do so through mobile devices that centralize all the services of the intelligent home.

Another pioneering function in this technology was safety. Household alarms or external accesses can for years be controlled remotely, knowing at all times if there is any threat or danger in the home environment. A very useful feature for example when you are on holiday.

In fact the latest security systems even allow you to activate some elements of the house (blinds, lights, music system …) while you’re away, thus appearing movement in the home and avoiding possible robberies, so common in holiday periods.

Within the remote control of household appliances, domotics -or the set of techniques for automating a housing- has advanced in recent years facilitating the daily tasks of the inhabitants of the home.

For example, through intelligent refrigerators that control in detail the food we have stored, its expiration and nutritional information or the need to buy others. Something similar can be achieved with other furniture where we store everyday products, such as cleaning or bathroom products.

How home automation works

The domotic technology allows the communication between the user or owner of the house and the system of connected objects that are in the home. To do this, it collects and processes all kinds of information from these objects. And through the control centre (or domotic centre) it issues orders for the execution of certain actions: from the opening of windows to the activation of the burglar alarm.

And how does it work? Today’s domotics cannot be understood without wireless connection systems (wi-fi networks) that allow intercommunication between objects and the sending of information in real time to the devices that function as control center, be it a smartphone, a computer or an intelligent clock.

Another crucial element for intelligent houses to work properly are the sensors that incorporate the home appliances and allow communication with the central home automation.

Latest home automation technology in the home

  • Digital access controls. The installation of intelligent electronic locks allows you to know, even if you are far away from home, whether the main door to the home is securely closed or even remotely opened. This is very useful if we want a friend or neighbour to punctually enter the house while we are away.
  • Customized video and audio system. If you connect your entertainment platforms to the home automation system, you will be able to program, for example, the type of music according to the place in the house where you are, or activate video systems with your voice, among other functionalities.
  • Protocols for risk situations. Keeping the home security systems interconnected allows, for example, to automatically detect unwanted situations such as a gas leak or a flood. Once the alert has been given, intelligent homes are already able to contact emergency services if necessary.
  • Alerts to falls or accidents of elderly people. If a person with reduced mobility or an elderly dependent lives in our home, domotics can already detect situations of falls or accidents inside the home, automatically alerting another occupant of the home -whether or not physically in it- or an ambulance.

Connected and Ecological Homes

Another key aspect of the smarthome is its ability to improve energy efficiency. And therefore the savings that this entails from both an economic and environmental point of view.

As we mentioned before, domotics allows you to regulate the lighting systems and the thermostat of the home adapting them to the real needs of its inhabitants. In this way we avoid unnecessary waste of electricity and energy.

Another novelty that is already present in the market is the accumulation of resources from clean energy (solar, wind, etc.) for later use. A model that allows this energy to be used later, when demand increases because temperatures have fallen or there are more people in the home.

An intelligent and secure home

Home automation technology reduces the risk of an unwanted event occurring in the building. For this reason, a smarthome means savings even in home insurance.

Intelligent houses are profitable in the long term from the point of view of comfort, savings and security. But they involve a high initial investment.

Kenneth C. Silver

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