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The basics of software for your smart home: everything you need to know

We look at what is currently possible in the field of home automation. What is the basis of software for your smart home? This article will explain all
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Software for your smart home: Anyone who ever visited the House of the Future in what was then Autotron knows how dated this vision of the future is now. The futuristic ingenuity in the interactive museum house has been largely surpassed by reality in the decades since its closure due to technological innovations. Solar panels on the roof, vacuum cleaning robots in the living room and voice recognition for just about all home, garden and kitchen appliances, no one is surprised anymore. Let’s go through what is now possible in the field of home automation.

Domotics / Home Automation / software for your smart home

‘Domotics’ – we’ll start at the beginning – is another word for home automation, and is in fact everything that Smarthomemagazine.nl is all about. Applying smart electronics at home to simplify or even automate all daily activities. Home Automation is a contraction of home, computer science and robotics.

A commonly used definition is the ‘integration of technology and services for a better quality of living and life’. The latter is an important addition, because it is not only about the technology (hardware and software) and its operation indoors, but also about the services provided from outside. Example: in a fully-fledged smart home, the operation of equipment is not only highly automated, but your refrigerator also independently sends an order to Albert or Picnic if the refrigerator is about to run out of eggs. Or, to frame it in a darker frame: now you control your equipment, but in the future, technology will guide you …

 software for your smart home – Integration

Perhaps we should leave a potential dystopia for what it is, of course we are mainly interested in how home automation can make our lives easier. This is possible in many ways. Basically with intelligently functioning hardware that literally takes work off your hands. But also with mutually communicating equipment, complete homes that are in contact with the outside world and even self-learning households in which the tasks are not only performed, but also monitored to improve efficiency.

On Smarthomemagazine.nl we mainly discuss the news, developments and of course the equipment and software that make a ‘home of the future’ possible. Basically we speak of the ‘simple’ software and platforms, of brands and products that offer ready-to-use solutions. A smart lamp, for example, or the voice control of your speaker. It is not necessary to develop and program yourself. However, there are also many options for the advanced user, including the complete programming of your smart home and the modular expansion with equipment and applications. In order to properly map out the current brands that offer the serious platforms and their advantages and disadvantages, we have planned a triptych in which we show these parties.

Sustainable energy supply

With a smart and automated home you may first think of certain basic facilities. Such as your thermostat, a well-established piece of home automation that ensures the right temperatures every day at the times you set. Or the more modern HUE lamps from Philips, which you operate with your smartphone. A nice side effect of all that smart equipment is that a lot of attention is also paid to sustainability within home automation. After all, there are more and more energy consumers in the house. A local network connected to applications from home automation brands can ensure that everything communicates with each other as smoothly and efficiently as possible. In addition, attention is paid to energy savings.

Home entertainment

To be fair, the energy supply in the home is a somewhat duller use of a smart system. Fortunately, there are also many applications aimed at the A / V equipment in the home. Via touch panels on the walls, via telephone or tablet, or via voice control. Wherever you are in the house, you can control, set and tune everything flawlessly. TVs that know when to switch on which channel in order not to miss your favorite program. Audio systems that can find your preferred playlist, as an alarm clock, work atmosphere provider or simply because you walk into the bathroom. Who has a remote control at all?

Independent house

The fact that applications in modern home automation go beyond lighting and heating is evident from the possibilities in the field of automation. We already saw as an example that your refrigerator keeps an eye on the stock on its own. But did you know that you can store your daily business completely in a home integration system? When you are on vacation, the house ‘behaves’ the same as during your presence; curtains open at set times, lights turn on and off during the day, and the curtains close again at night. Things that you can also control at your holiday address with apps on your phone. Or at work, if you suspect that you have not closed the garage door properly.

Voice control

In the introduction to this piece it was already mentioned: voice recognition. The modern home offers more and more options for equipment that uses voice control. That is actually a separate part of home automation: it is not about what the device takes off your hands, but how you operate those electronics. And nowadays that goes a lot further than moving your TV channel or dimming a lamp: your entire  smart home  will soon be free of buttons and physical controls, and you simply put to work with voice commands. You can read more about it in this article .

Security

In any case, security is an increasingly important part of the automation of your home: smart security. Think of a sensor that sends you an app in case of water damage or glass clinks. Or an independently operating camera that monitors your home. Nowadays this can be done by using a kind of memory function to make recordings of the mere seconds before the motion sensor is triggered. This pre-record function is a bit reminiscent of your old stereo tower, which was on standby to make recordings and when you pressed record also took the few seconds before. This way you could record songs from the radio to your cassette tape without missing the very first sounds because you pressed the button too late. The purpose of this function with a security camera is of course the fact that you get a clearer picture of any intruders,

Domotics in healthcare

It can be even crazier than a self-regulating house, with televisions that turn on pre-programmed cartoons when your kids sit on the couch in a certain place – while you’re still on the bed. Or doorbells that play different sound files at different times of the day – happy music in the morning, dogs barking late at night. Because what about sensors that measure your vital functions during your sleep, and that call in emergency services in an emergency? Or toilet bowls that keep an eye on whether all your ‘groceries’ are in order, and let a doctor know that if necessary. In short, alarm systems that make it possible to live independently for longer, if, for example, you have difficulty walking or otherwise require regular help. Let your home take care of you!

From simple to advanced software for your smart home

In order to make the last bridge to the follow-up articles about the more serious platforms to really get started, it is important to make a clear distinction. You have the brand-related platforms (everything from Netgear works with equipment from Netgear), simple platforms for multiple products (such as HomeKit or Google Home), the simple compatibility platforms (Nest works with Hue, Devolo works with Z-Wave products; so should pay close attention to what you buy), and finally the advanced software that you as a developer (advanced user) can get started with. We are now introducing the latter with the upcoming triptych.

Anyone who likes the first smart home options as described in this article, and who, for example, is satisfied with a self-regulating thermostat or smart total control of your home entertainment system, has already been helped a lot with ‘entry-level’ home automation. There is already a lot of ‘plug & play’ equipment available. Provided you pay close attention to what you buy and whether the various products can interact with each other, you have a good start. However, if you want to look a little further, you should read our series of articles. In this series we offer an overview of smart home platforms for anyone interested in the development of a smart home with all the possibilities of today.

What these advanced systems and software for your smart home can offer is the full definition of the concept of home automation: ‘integration of technology and services for a better quality of living and living.’ No stand-alone solutions, but intelligent internal and external networks in which equipment communicates with each other, learns and adjusts behavior accordingly. From the start, your home, garden and kitchen appliances not only go to work to make your life easier, but activities and patterns are simultaneously analyzed and adjusted to better meet your needs.

The first part of ‘ software for your smart home for advanced users: ten smart home platforms in the spotlight’ will be published on Saturday 11 March. In this we cover EnOcean, ZigBee and Z-Wave.

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