If you're like us, you probably can't help but be fascinated by all the smart home automation technology out there.
The idea of having a house that's aware and can respond to users preferences and needs is really appealing. The latest advancement in technology has made these once-utopian homes not only possible for everyone to enjoy - they're easier to operate too!
But wait... isn't the hassle and expense of completely renovating your home a bit too much?
Turns out, there's a simpler way. With retrofit automation such as Wozart, you can automate your existing house using just a few simple devices and make your connected come alive within moments.
All of this, while making zero changes to the home's electrical wiring or breaking of walls.
Doesn't that just sound great?
“Hey Siri, What Is A Smart Home?”
Smart homes are intelligent spaces where various devices are connected to the internet and are available to be controlled from anywhere in the world. Connected spaces allow greater flexibility, control and efficiency.
Home automation could be implemented in the form of something as simple as turning on a light through your smartphone, or something more complex like automatically changing the AC settings according to the outside temperature to the preference of the person occupying the room.
Smart Home Features
The list of things smart homes can accomplish grows by the day, and so does the number of possibilities. This makes planning home automation a somewhat daunting experience.
We've tried to keep it simple here by focusing on five key elements of a connected home:
Smart Energy Consumption: An automated system that monitors and optimizes energy usage goes a long way in promoting sustainability. It also helps cut down on energy costs, benefitting you and the environment.
Remote Access: The convenience and peace of mind fostered by remote home control is unparalleled. No more worrying about the appliances your forgot to turn off in a rush when leaving home.
Advanced Security: Features like proximity sensing, smart cameras and make-believe occupancy are a few of the many ways in which you can add layers of security to your home.
Automated Appliances: All connected devices can be set to run according to schedules with no daily inputs from your side. They can even be automated to turn on detecting your presence and turn off when you leave.
Personalisation: Everyone's lifestyle is different and there can't be a one size fits all smart solution. Employing a system without room for customization destroys the purpose of having a smart home.
Turning Your Home Smart
You don't need to have a lot of knowledge about the Internet of Things in order to take baby steps into home automation. You can start where you are and lay the foundations for a solid system that can be expanded over time.
A good WiFi router that can reach all corners of your home.
Smartphones, smart speakers or other smart gadgets for controlling the devices.
Devices that are compatible with each other.
Devices that are compatible with major smart ecosystems viz., Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, etc.
Pick Your Assistant
AI-enabled virtual assistants make it easy to control smart home devices using simple voice commands. You can ask assistants to turn on lights, open window coverings, activate the security system or switch on the Air Conditioner on your way back from work.
The most popular voice assistants are:
Apple, Google, Amazon and Samsung have launched smart speakers with their AI voice assistants embedded in them to support their smart home platforms. The smart speakers act as a hub for smart devices, allowing control of all compatible devices.
As the smart home industry is fragmented and devices are not interoperable across the ecosystems, choosing the smart voice assistant that matches your requirement should be the first step in your home automation journey.
Alexa is currently the most widely used smart home assistant due to the popularity of Amazon's Echo range of devices and its integration capabilities with a wide array of home automation products.
Amazon's Echo devices are simple to set up and connect in any location where you need to call upon Alexa.
The Echo Dot is one of the most affordable smart home controllers on the market, coming in at INR 3,999.
Alexa has 10,000+ skills, which is the most of any smart home hub.
Echo devices can be controlled with smartphones or tablets running both iOS or Android software.
The Amazon Alexa app for iPhones and Android phones, which is necessary for configuring some smart home devices, can be somewhat inconvenient.
The speakers on Echo devices are typically subpar.
You can't interact with Alexa by using a phone, you must give commands directly to the speaker.
Amazon is not responsible for third-party Alexa-enabled devices. In other words, you are responsible for finding out what third-party home add-on firms can do with the information they collect from you.
Major Compatible Devices: Echo Dot, Echo and Echo Show.
The Apple HomeKit smart home ecosystem is by far the most sophisticated, as it provides a much more holistic experience than the competition.
In terms of data security and privacy, Apple sweeps away all the competition. The data from smart home devices (even security camera recordings) is encrypted and stored on your iCloud account without access to any third-party individual or company.
Smart home devices can be accessed from iPhone to Macbook, Apple Watch to Apple TV, AirPods to HomePod.
It features a seamless connection with all compatible gadgets. The integration of Apple's HomeKit into its mobile devices makes it much easier to link Siri with home equipment.
Due to Apple's strict privacy guidelines, there aren’t many connected devices that work with Siri but quality products are being added to the list every year.
Siri is only available on Apple devices.
Major Compatible Devices: iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, HomePod Mini, AirPods, etc.
Google Assistant powers the Google Home platform, another major contender to be your smart home ecosystem of choice.
Google home brings the users, the complete Google Search experience that is unmatched by other smart home assistants.
It is proven to be the most accurate voice assistant in terms of understanding and answering queries.
Google Assistant is built into all smartphones running newer versions of Android.
The audio quality of Google Home is rather poor.
There are far more Alexa-friendly smart home gadgets than there are with Google Assistant.
Major Compatible Devices: Google Home, Google Home Mini, Google Nest Hub, Android Smartphones, etc.
Fun fact: Wozart is India’s only home automation product manufacturer that works with all these major smart home ecosystems.