Smart Homes: A Guide on What They Are

Ok, so remember you heard it here first. A guide to smart homes for smart people.

What is a smart home?

A smart home is a home automation process in which all of or most of your electronic devices are connected. By connecting all of your home electronic devices, you are able to control most things with the touch of a button or voice command. You can pre set appliances to turn on and off at certain times to suit you.

The majority of smart homes connect your lighting, music sound systems and television systems, home security and heating.

Can anybody have a smart home?

Smart homes were once considered only for the rich, but nowadays they are becoming more common as smart appliances become more affordable.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the famous Bill Gates’ smart home, which cost him £100 million to build! This isn’t always the case, smart homes are usually cheaper to build.

You can build your smart home bit by bit, maybe costing you a few hundred at a time, or for a sophisticated smart home system you could pay just £10,000.  If you have a bit more cash to spare you could pay up to £250,000.

How do smart homes work?

Appliances either communicate through power lines, sending coded messages so the correct appliance knows what it is supposed to do, or use radio waves.

Radio waves work in the same way that your mobile phone or internet wi-fi works.

Two networks that use radio waves are ZigBee and Z-wave. These networks have multiple ways of getting a signal to a receiver, making them mesh networks.

The Z-wave network finds the fastest route for messages using something called source routing algorithms. ZigBee has an advantage over competitors as any company can build a product compatible with it without paying extra costs. ZigBee, Z-wave and a few other networks is simply the technology that allows the appliances in the smart home to communicate.

What smart appliances are available for my smart home?

You can purchase a video door phone, which will show you who’s at the door before answering so you can avoid any nasty surprises. Motion sensors will alert you when someone is lurking around outside your home – but don’t worry. The motion sensors are so smart that they can tell if it’s just a pet! There are even door handles that don’t need keys, simply use a code or scan your fingerprint. Futuristic!

There are of course many more things you can connect to your smart home network, such as music systems, security cameras and remote controls for your garage.

What can we expect for smart homes in the future?

The future looks bright for smart homes. Appliances are being developed such as bins that log what you throw away and make note of what you should reorder, fridges that give you recipe ideas based on the food inside, and washing machines that text you when they’ve finished a load!

Not only do smart homes make life a lot easier, they can give you total peace of mind by not having to worry about whether you locked the door, or in an emergency they can even alert your neighbors and call the emergency services!

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