What is Home Automation?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines automation in part as “automatically controlled operation of an apparatus, process, or system by mechanical or electronic devices that take the place of human labor.” The problem is that this definition goes back to a time before the question ‘What is home automation?’ ever arose.
Merriam-Webster lacks a modern definition for the term “home automation” to date although some modern tech experts describe it as ‘The Internet of Things’. If that doesn’t clear things up for you, don’t worry; you aren’t alone. To help you get a real understanding of home automation and why it’s important to you, let’s break it down.
‘The Internet of Things’
Basically, this definition refers to the way our appliances and internet-based devices network together to allow us to monitor and control what goes on at home when we aren’t there. So, the network is the key difference between the home automation offered today and simple automation that goes back decades.
Some of the most common automated devices we use in everyday life include remote controls and garage door openers. The main idea behind them is to make it easy to do things without putting as much effort into it.
For example, when you leave your house to go to work in the morning, you probably use an automatic garage door opener to lift the door for you. All you have to do is push a button from inside the comfort of your car and you don’t have to get out of your car and expose yourself to the weather to close it back.
Another example of how automation makes life more convenient is the TV remote. Although women often complain that men put this device to too much good use, it’s hard to image what watching all those channels would be like without it.
This is automation and it is far from new. Automatic devices started appearing in homes during the 1930s and 1940s. Just as that was considered cutting-edge technology at that time, home automation builds on the original idea and adds the mobility of the internet for an even greater range of benefits. All it takes to enjoy the most comprehensive home automation system available is a device that most Americans already own; the Smart Phone.
The number of people you see with their smartphones in hand reflects the expansive way that we have come to depend on these devices. They go well beyond communication through texting and calling. Smartphones help us find places we want to go, products we want to buy, and people we want to talk with.
The numbers also prove that technology is not just something for the young. The number of people aged 50 to 65 years with a smartphone is growing faster than any other age group.
This is an important observation because this group also has very specific ideas about what they want from their home automation services. Instead of asking ‘what is home automation and why should I care?’ seniors are getting the benefits of home automation and sharing what they want from it going forward.
Home Automation: A Diversity of Benefits for All Ages
So, home automation is the control of various features of your home using your smartphone as the controlling device. Instead of pointing a remote at the TV from across the room, a Smart System allows you to operate the systems in your home from any location. All it takes is the right app on your smartphone to put control of your home literally at your fingertips.
One of the biggest benefits of home automation is security. Home automation is often linked to home security services because it facilities the remote use of monitoring equipment. For example, video cameras and speakers at the front door let you deter any would-be burglars who might be fishing to see if you’re home. You use your phone to send them on their way while you enjoy your kids’ soccer game from miles away.
Home automation also allows you to program commands to occur independently or together with other commands so they occur at a specific time. This feature alone offers a combination of benefits to meet a lot of different lifestyles.
Turning on lights to deter burglars while you are on vacation or away on business is one of the oldest tricks homeowners use. So old, in fact, that there are no burglars left who don’t know about it too! A home automation system gives you more control over your lights so that you can turn them on and off remotely or set different lights to come on and go off at different times.
Having control of your lights isn’t just a convenient security feature either. You can turn your lights on or off without ever getting out of bed. Imagine how helpful this is for a senior or home care person who has difficulty getting out of bed. When it’s time for lights out, they can turn the TV and lights off without having to move through the entire house.
Families with young children know how difficult it is to get them to turn off the light when they leave a room. Maybe you’ve come home from work to find half the lights in your house still burning from that morning. It’s easy for humans to forget these simple details without the worry of whether that old lamp might be a fire hazard. Or maybe all those track lights are using more energy than is really necessary.
Many homeowners have exterior lights as well. They keep the perimeter of the home lit at night to keep intruders away. Of course, you may not want to have the lights burning bright all night long. A better option is to have lights installed that come on in response to motion. Any intruder will feel like they are in the spotlight and run away. At the same time, your system sends you a text or email alert to let you know of the potential threat.
Your home automation system gives you control of your interior and exterior lighting for better security, comfort, convenience, and even energy savings. Once you program the system to turn off your lights, you never have to worry about anyone in your home forgetting to turn off the lights.
Homeowners vary in age, lifestyle, and income levels. Some worry about their kids when they can’t be home with them. Others worry about their collectibles and other valuables. The technology behind home automation and security brings together all types of homeowners by providing them with solutions that are right for their needs.
What Is Home Automation’s Role in Energy Savings?
We’ve already talked about how an automation system helps you save some energy by controlling your home’s lighting. The savings in energy and costs are much more significant when it comes to controlling your heating and cooling. HVACs are the source of greatest energy use in any home. Every minute that yours runs to maintain a comfortable temperature, it costs you money.
No one wants to keep their home too hot or cold while they are at home. But what about the hours during the day when no one is home? All the energy your HVAC system uses to heat or cool an empty house goes to waste.
Your automation system allows you to program in the temperature you want for your home while you aren’t there and once you are on your way home. This enables you to save a big chunk of money without sacrificing comfort. Do you have a pet that stays home alone all day? You have more control over which individual rooms are heated and cooled. Keep the rooms where your pet stays comfortable without wasting money on those where it doesn’t go.
If you’ve tried programmable thermostats with poor results, controlling your HVAC system with an automation system is no comparison. You can set up your heating and cooling requirements for the weekdays, weekends, and even the different seasons of the year. The system works quickly to restore temperature settings so you are always comfortable when you are home.
If you head home in the middle of the day with the flu, no worries! Just use your app to change the heat settings and have your home toasty warm by the time you get there. The end result is that you save a lot of money on energy and feel better about your impact on the environment. Home automation allows you to do all this without sacrificing comfort or convenience!
Save on Home Insurance
Many insurance companies recognize the increase in security and the reduced risk of water damage, fires, and theft that a home automation system gives. Since it makes your home safer, many offer significant discounts on premiums when you install a Smart Home automation system in your home. Sometimes you can reduce your costs by as much as 20%!
Back to the Issue of Age
Young adults have grown up with computers, phones, and other electronic gadgets. Not only are they familiar with them, they consider them a necessity of everyday life. As technology progresses, they are ready to learn how to use it to increase their comfort, convenience, and entertainment. As a result, younger customers are more likely to choose features like TV and music controls with their systems. Although all ages state security as their primary reason for home automation, some young adults also want to experience the fun and social side of automation.
Older adults tend to lean more towards security, safety, and energy efficiency. They worry more about putting their families and their valuables at risk, and also put better energy savings at the top of the list of priorities.
Seniors and others with limited mobility enjoy the convenience of being able to control many of their home’s functions from one room. Their smartphone allows them to view other areas of their home in real time. They can control temperature settings, turn the TV and lights on and off when needed, and even lower the shades on the window when too much sun shines in.
A number of factors determine which home automation features are right for any individual. It often comes down to getting what they need most at an affordable price.
The Cost of Home Automation
The next question people usually ask after ‘What is home automation?’ is ‘How much does home automation cost?’ The answer is “That depends.”
Every home and homeowner is different. The right system for one person isn’t quite what the other one needs. The cost depends on two factors: the service you buy and the company you buy it from. Getting the home automation system you need to meet your needs may be more affordable than you think. The best option is to get a package customized just for your needs.
In addition to common differences in priority based on the homeowner’s age, differences also come to light for families with children and pet owners. Some differences between services might include remote web and mobile access, alarm email or text notifications, HD video recordings, and indoor or outdoor videos.
Now that you have the answer to “What is home automation?” it’s time to take a look at your options and decide on what you want to accomplish with your new system. Are you concerned about security and keeping your home and family safe from intruders? Do you want the comfort and convenience that a modern automation system brings? Is saving energy important to you? Or do you simply love the idea of controlling everything inside and outside of your home no matter where you are?
Smart Shield Systems offers state-of-the-art equipment and technology customized to suit your home. They provide user-friendly technology that lets you control and monitor your home at the touch of a button. Smart Shield Systems offers you a choice of customizable packages so you can get the features that are most important to you.
Contact Smart Shield Systems today and learn even more about ‘what is home automation and how can it make life better for me?’ They are the San Diego home automation and security systems company that always goes above and beyond to provide you with the best equipment, technology, and service whenever you need it. Let their trained security specialist advise you on the right system for your home.