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What is home automation? – everything you need to know

In this article we explain exactly what home automation is. We also look at the protocols that are available and at cheap solutions.
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In 2016 we hear more and more about smart home, but in web shops, terms such as home automation are also regularly used to promote products. In this article we explain what home automation actually is. With home automation it is the intention that processes in a home can be automated by applying electronics. The word is derived from the words domus (house) and tica, which we also find in words like computer science and robotics.

What is Home Automation?

Domotics must ensure that processes in a home or building can be automated by applying electronics. In the house of the future we seem to be unable to ignore it. Such a house in which home automation is used is equipped with the necessary conveniences. Such a house is also often safer and more energy-efficient than houses in which you do not come across home automation. Domotics ensures that a house or building is made ‘smart’. For example, devices must be able to communicate with each other via WiFi and Bluetooth . Work is also still being done on new means of communication, including WiFi HaLow .

There are many facilities that must be able to work together with home automation. This includes heating systems, air conditioning installations, sun blinds, lighting and security systems. Household appliances must also be able to be connected, including coffee makers, refrigerators, microwaves and ovens. All those devices must then, for example, be able to be controlled via a smartphone and tablet, regardless of where you are. Home automation can also go a step further, where sensors detect when a window is opened, so that the heating is immediately lowered. In the latter case, you do not have to perform any action yourself.

Home automation also useful when you are not at home

Domotics can also lend a hand if you are not at home at all. For example, if you have a security system installed, you can, for example, set all the lights in the house to switch on if signals are discovered that something is wrong. There is also often the possibility that you will receive a warning on your smartphone as soon as, for example, movement is detected around the place where a security camera is aimed. Another example is that with a smart thermostat you can always and everywhere see how hot it is in which room.

Retrofit and home automation

At the time of writing, the use of home automation is getting a bit more popular. But not everyone is immediately prepared to dispose of all their ‘old’ devices and facilities in order to get smart devices back. In that case, retrofit is a handy solution. This means that you do not immediately throw out all your old appliances, but find a solution to make those appliances smart. In this way you allow new technology to work with the devices you already have.

A good example of this is, for example, a camera from Smarter that can be placed in a refrigerator. As soon as the refrigerator is opened, you will receive a photo on your smartphone. From that moment on you always know what you had in the fridge when you opened it for the last time. Very useful if you often forget what you needed from the supermarket. Such a camera shows exactly what retrofit is. With new technology you ensure that your ‘old’ device is made smart. And without having to buy a smart refrigerator right away.

Another example of retrofit is, for example, a smart socket. For example, you could still control your non-smart lighting remotely, because the socket is already smart. It is clear that you save a lot of money that way, because smart devices are usually considerably more expensive than devices that are not smart. If you still hate the price of home automation, you can always read our article about the cheap ways to make your home smart .

Protocols

The necessary protocols are now available to link your smart home devices to each other . It often depends on each device which protocols are supported or not. A number of protocols used in home automation are Z-Wave, ZigBee, Thread, WiFi and Bluetooth. If your devices do not all support the same protocols, it can sometimes be difficult to ensure that all devices can communicate with each other. TP-Link is currently working on a universal router for this .

Home automation and the future

It is possible that such a router can lend a hand, because it is certainly not yet known who will be the winner of the protocol battle. It is clear that the development of new home automation is far from finished. It is important that attention is paid not only because of the luxury, but also because of the fact that with such devices we can ensure that energy waste is prevented.

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