Once used as a futuristic term, ‘smart homes’ are now quite common in India’s real estate market. A number of residential projects now boast of amenities, where you can regulate all appliances with a single remote, use smart plugs to set timers for water geysers and regulate lighting with the help of your smartphone app. However, owing to the limited availability of information and lack of knowledge, buyers and investors are often misled, when it comes to smart homes and home automation. Home buyers should understand the factors that make their home a smart home and whether it is okay to pay a premium, for things that they may or may not use.
What is a smart home?
A smart home is a house that has devices, which are connected to the internet, to enable remote management and monitoring of appliances and systems such as lighting, heating, etc. Often referred to as home automation, smart homes provide home owners with a sense of security, comfort, energy-efficiency and convenience at the same time, by providing them access to control the smart devices installed in their home, through a smart home app or other networked devices. Usually, smart home automation systems, which are a part of Internet of Things (IoT), share consumer usage data among themselves, to operate together and automate actions based on the preferences of the home owner.
How does smart home automation work?
A smart home is all about connected appliances. Devices are connected to the Wi-Fi network, which makes it easier to control. There is a software enabled in all these devices that records the user’s preferences and tracks habits. For example, a speaker that tracks the kind of music you like, or a smart mattress that can adjust to your back, or smart mirrors can point out health problems and sensors in toilets that can check for potential health problems by scanning waste before flushing.
Some of the common appliances that use home automation, include lighting, home security, home theatres and entertainment and thermostat regulation.
Pros and cons of home automation
|Smart homes and home automation provides peace of mind to the owner, as it enables them to manage their homes from remote locations.||Home automation can be complex to manage, especially for people who are not tech-savvy.|
|Smart homes can accommodate user preferences and habits.||For home automation to be effective, devices and appliances must be interoperable, regardless of its brand and manufacturing company. There is no such standard in the market yet.|
|Smart homes also improve home efficiency. For example, your garden can be watered on time, your home can be cooled by the time you will arrive from work, etc.||Data security and privacy are major challenges. If hackers are able to break into the smart device, it will be easier for them to access your personal information or make your home prone to burglary.|
Future of smart home automation in India
According to Statista, the Indian smart home market is expected to touch USD six billion by 2022. Globally, this number is expected to reach USD 53.4 billion by 2022. To cash-in on this demand, several appliance manufacturers have launched their range of smart devices in the Indian market. For example, in February, Panasonic launched a range of smart appliances for the Indian market. However, the Coronavirus pandemic is likely to slow down the growth of this market.
Smart home automation features in India
If you are planning to invest in smart home projects, here are some of the amenities that you can look forward to, in your digitised home:
- * Smart showers, geysers and switches in the bathroom and toilets that can assess urine and stool samples to monitor the user’s health.
- * Bedrooms with smart air-conditioners (ACs), curtains, plugs, ceiling fans and smart lockers, etc. Here, your AC and fan can work in-sync, to keep the temperature ideal for comfortable sleep.
- * Smart sensors on the rooftops for overhead tanks, which can send updates on water levels, etc.
- * Kitchens with smart refrigerators, washing machines, toasters, soap dispensers, smoke alarms, etc. Exhausts can start working, on sensing fumes in the kitchen.
- * Front door with a camera connected to the internet, where ringing the doorbell will show who is at the door through a smartphone or video screen.
- * Drawing room to have smart TVs, tube lights, lamps, air purifiers and speakers with IoT sensors that can be switched on and off with voice commands, or sensors that react to the presence of people.
Also read: Five tips for buying an affordable home