Home automation brings images The Jetsons. Think of Rosie, conveyor belts, closets that dress us, and a kitchen that cooks for us. We are not here yet, but it is getting closer to that thanks to systems like Nest and Google Home.
Some people are excited by the advances, while others are concerned. But what does this automation actually do right now, and what are the benefits and concerns? Let’s explore what it is and the benefits and concerns.
What is Home Automation?
When we think of automation, the very basic definition is a machine doing some amount of work for you or your home. From that perspective, modern automation really started in the late 1960’s with the Echo IV system. This was never commercially sold but paved the way for what we now experience. It had the ability to turn appliances on and off, store recipes, relay messages, control household temperature, and even develop a shopping list.
Now come to the modern era of the Internet. The current definition of automation means being able to control various components of your home from your smartphone or an internet browser. Most of this automation also includes programmable and automatic functions, depending on the application and your need.
Some of what is included in the modern household automation systems include:
Heating & air conditioning
Television & media players
Personal assistant devices like Google Home, Alexa, or Nest Hub
Most people know these systems by the more common name of smart home systems. Even if you have not fully integrated smart technology, chances are you have at least one component in your home.
Now that you know what these systems are, what are their benefits and potential drawbacks?
Pros of Automation Technology
Disregard the “lazy” comments from people who do not yet understand smart technology. There are many incredible reasons why these systems can give you extra security and peace of mind.
#1 extra security. When you install a full home system, it will include security devices such as cameras and alarm systems. When you hear something strange, you no longer have to grab a flashlight and go check it out in person. Rather, you just pull out your smartphone and see what is on the camera.
#2: Peace of mind. How many times do you leave wondering if you forgot to lock the door or turn off the coffee pot? These systems allow you to check the various components of your home and ensure they are turned off and locked so they do not pose a threat while you are away.
#3 Save money. Automation systems allow you to save money by reducing the energy used for heating and cooling while you are away. It also reduces overall energy costs by ensuring unneeded appliances and lights are not running when accidentally left on. This can be a major cost-savings, especially if you have kids.
#4: Better appliance utilization. Imagine making Thanksgiving turkey, and not having to guess whether the inside is cooked properly. Or not having to waste precious time searching for your favorite programming, but instead relaxing while watching. This is all possible with the right smart appliances.
#5: Home behavior insights. This benefit is especially helpful for those who are focused on improving productivity. A well-deployed automation system will yield insights as to various behaviors. This can be how much time a television is on, a computer is on, and more. Now you can really track down where wasted hours have gone, allowing you to better direct your time.
Cons of Automation Technology
There are always concerns with additional technological advancements and deployment, and smart systems are no different. Here are some of the biggest concerns people voice.
#1: Cost of implementation. The cost of implementation can be exceptionally high when first installing a smart system. If taken as a full system deployment at once, this can cost in excess of $5,000 to implement. If you live in a house with old wiring, it could cost more to run what is needed for the system.
#2: Susceptible to power surges. Home technology has always been sensitive to power surges. However, with more devices now connecting to the home power system, you have more at risk for failure. You will want to ensure your devices are protected with GFI outlets or surge protectors.
#3: Dependant on a strong Internet connection. In order for the system to work properly, you will need to have a strong internet connection. The more devices you have on the network, the faster the Internet service you will need. You will also want to make sure you have a router that prioritizes the network traffic.
#4: Vulnerability to hacking. Some critics are also skeptical of the vulnerability to hacking, bringing potentially unwanted eyes into their home. With the right home network security measures, this risk can be minimized.
With this information, you can easily determine if a smart home system is right for your family and to what degree.