Improving the home and making it more comfortable is common to any person. Regardless of whether he lives in a small studio apartment or in a country house with several floors that surround hectares of a personal plot.

Modern technologies make it possible to create fully automated houses and transfer many functions for managing life support systems to automated devices, and in some cases fully automate processes when human intervention is not required at all.

House automation systems overview

 

What is the difference between home automation and smart home

Too many property owners consider an element of a “smart home” any automatic or semi-automatic device that performs the function of turning on / off a certain device or . This is far from the case. And even the ability to remotely control certain functions using the Internet does not make the house “smart”.

A truly “smart” house is a comprehensive smart automation of managing the whole complex of life support systems based on the artificial intelligence of a computerized control system and working in a fully autonomous mode. Human intervention in work is required only in emergency situations or in the programming process.

Therefore, numerous installers of home automation elements do not always objectively and reliably convey to the potential user-customer the meaning of innovations.

It is not always explained that the vast majority of household appliances included in the “smart home” do not need automation, because they already have built-in functions:

  • Refrigerators are fully automatic devices that operate according to a strict program;
  • Air conditioners do not require outside intervention to maintain the set temperature;
  • Washing machines have a delayed start timer;
  • Lighting on / off systems are easily controlled by relays with photodiodes that respond to the level of illumination and so on.

Creation of specialized channels for managing life support systems – in fact, a “smart home” is necessary only in those cases when the living room operates in a fully autonomous mode. These include country houses (cottages), where the only good of civilization is the access road.

It is in them that you can fully realize all the advantages of remote control and control.

 

House automation systems overview

Apartment automation

The apartment is just a cell, included in the debugged system of public utilities of the building. She rarely needs the full-fledged operation of automation equipment of a smart home. The owner does not need to worry about heating, lighting, ventilation. The water supply system, in general, lies outside the limits of the ability to somehow influence its availability. In case of disconnection of hot water supply for the period of preventive repairs, those who have financial capabilities install storage or flow-through boilers that work in automatic mode and do not need outside control.

Any arbitrary intervention by one’s own hands in the operation of community-based life-support networks is completely discouraged by management companies. Therefore, it is possible to implement the concept of “smart home” in an apartment building on a very limited scale:

  • Install several remotely controlled outlets to which you connect the devices with a timer to turn on / off the lighting or antediluvian iron that does not have a relay when overheated or on time or another non-automatic electrical appliance.
  • Forcefully intervene in the automation of the air conditioner or electric underfloor heating by completely turning them off, or, on the contrary, by turning them on.
  • Automate the closing / opening of curtains or blinds on windows.
  • Turn on / off the audiovisual control system.

Attention! With the installation of hidden cameras or microphones, even in your own home you need to be extremely careful. Without exception, devices that do not have a sensor-detector of work, or disguised as other objects are prohibited from use in many countries. Their acquisition is already a crime, which in the worst case can turn into a real term of imprisonment.

 

The security and fire alarm systems are usually not included in the list of “smart home” elements, since they work regardless of the owner’s desire, while enabled. And when you turn them off, they lose any meaning.

 

House automation systems overview

 

Private home automation

Most country houses are built within the allocated plots for individual housing construction and, according to the requirements of improvement, have a supply of electric and gas networks. Some villages are more comfortable and have central water supply and sewage systems.

All this facilitates the maintenance of suburban real estate, not completely freeing about the care of maintaining comfortable conditions inside and outside the premises.

A private house can be fully equipped with an intelligent control system according to the concept of “smart home”.

Even at the design stage, automation elements can be meant, related to:

  1. With power supply (from an autonomous electric generator).
  2. Temperature control by controlling a gas / liquid fuel boiler.
  3. Management of the water supply system (with borehole / well water supply).
  4. A system for regulating air temperature in various rooms (residential, utility).
  5. The regulation system of the internal and external lighting of the personal plot.
  6. Management of the irrigation and feeding system of farm animals.
  7. The system of visual control inside and outside the premises and the overview of the local area.
  8. It is possible to implement an emergency shutdown of gas supply and power supply systems in case of emergency.

For some owners, most of the time outside the home, a “smart home” is a home automation system that is an urgent need.

 

House automation systems overview

 

Choosing a smart home control system

Modern systems allow you to control electrical appliances connected to the control module: sensors, temperature regulators, electrovalves using wireless technologies. It is not required to lay wires and cables inside the walls or baseboards of the room, to ditch the walls and disrupt existing communications or decoration.

The most common is the Wi-Fi control path. The disadvantage is that this function is designed to transmit significant amounts of information and is not adapted for most smart home devices that work with short commands: “turn on / off”, “add / decrease”, “up / down”, etc. .

 

  • Z-Wave is a specialized smart home control protocol operating at a frequency of 869 MHz and having high protection from extraneous impact and interference.
  • ZigBee is a similar specialized protocol specially designed for operation of devices in the “smart home” set, but using a different frequency of 2400–2485 MHz.

Until now, the wide automation of residential buildings has stalled due to high prices for equipment and installation, commissioning and maintenance of equipment. After all, it should work 24 hours a day without any malfunctions. Otherwise, faulty equipment of a smart home can itself become a source of emergency – fire, flooding, defrosting of heating systems.

First of all, the economic effect of the implementation of automation systems is calculated. To roughly evaluate the effectiveness and payback period of investments, it is not out of place to read the instructions for existing electrical appliances in the house. Most owners use only the basic, most common functions, without bothering to program the full functionality of the TV, air conditioning or water boiler.

It is possible that the “new” opportunities that seem to you that will open after installing the “smart home” system are already incorporated and implemented in your existing technology, and at a higher level than “turn on / turn off” or “add / turn off”.

Calculate whether the ability to remotely adjust the air temperature in different rooms is so critical? This function pays off only for owners of country houses, when during the absence of the owners the temperature drops to an acceptable minimum, and by the time the owners arrive, it rises to a comfortable residential.

Most of the functions implemented in the “smart home” are interesting only in the first time after their installation. The possibility of remote visual control satisfies only the curiosity of the owner of the room, without interfering with the actions of intruders who entered the house. The centralized security system is much more effective. Using the automatic opening / closing function of curtains in the bedroom or the ability to adjust the volume of music in the next room are so doubtful that they can interest only true fans of continuous communication with a mobile device, instead of physical movement of the hand.

Probably, because the functionality offered within the framework of a smart home is small and irrelevant for most, home automation is not very popular.