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Aug 12, 2014
The future that Isaac Asimov envisioned in his sci-fi stories is slowly but steadily becoming a reality. First phones turned ‘smart’, and now it’s time for homes to follow the lead.
In the US, the concept of smart or automated home systems has been gaining ground since the 1980s. A report by New York-based market intelligence agency, AB Research, mentioned that in 2012, 1.5 million smart home systems were installed in the US, and the number would touch 8 million by 2017.
Although India cannot boast of such numbers yet, Mohit Arora, Director, Supertech Ltd, believes “the concept is gaining momentum…and is expected to grow at a significant CAGR of 29.5% between 2013 and 2020.” He further stated that the rising popularity of home automation systems can be attributed to government initiatives and rising energy costs.
In addition to reducing carbon footprints, smart homes will enhance the comfort and security quotient of a house while making life simpler. Let’s explore the numerous ways in which smart homes can improve quality of life.
Locking and unlocking doors would become a part of mind games
Smart cards can facilitate opening and closing of doors as well as drawing of curtains. Alternatively, the same functions can be operated with the help of the “Internet or via WAP on a mobile phone or tablet”, any third party integrations, or through sensors, said Pawan Jasuja, Director, Finlace Consulting.
In a smart home space, doors can unlock when you approach and lock the house after you have left, automatically or with a remote controlled device.
Control the lighting system of your home remotely
Lights can be scheduled to slowly brighten at a particular time of the day to help you wake up or become dim before sleep time. It can even be set it in a way that it switches on and off automatically when you move in or out of your home. A state-of-the-art lighting control system based on motion sensors can even facilitate pre-configuration of settings to suit your varied moods.
Save energy, consequently improve your green footprints
“One can operate HVAC systems based on remote activation through mobile…Coffee machines can be scheduled to work at a particular time of the day…Washing machine can be scheduled to work during off-peak hours,” elucidated Abhay Kumar, Chairman and Managing Director, Griha Pravesh Buildteck Pvt Ltd.
Smart homes function through multiple connected devices. The key to success of a smart home is interoperability between devices and an efficient integration point which can then become a fulcrum for supporting different home applications. This Machine to Machine (M2M) technology ensures that you use only as much energy as required and discontinue usage when you leave the particular location, thus saving energy bills.
Worrying about home security will become a thing of the past
Since locking and unlocking of doors is machine-controlled you can set home alerts, which can notify security services based on certain violations at home, said Abhay Kumar. Smart homes are fully equipped with cameras, alarms and sensors. So, a siren can be set to trigger in case of unwanted motion or entry, or alerts can be scheduled for unexpected opening or shutting of doors and windows.
Since a smart home can be remotely observed and controlled, checking in with your family members also becomes easy.
Demand for Smart Homes on the rise
The highest demand for smart homes is in metro cities, such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Pune, Chennai and some emerging tier-II cities, although for selected stratum of the society.
What curtails demand for Smart Homes?
Price is probably the single-most factor that curbs demand for smart homes. Mohit Arora explains that a complete apartment loaded with home automation technologies will comes at a total cost of Rs 2 crore, which is the starting price. However, buyers are usually given multiple technology options at different price brackets.
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