What is Home Automation System

by Rory Milne on June 16, 2021
Home Automation system

What is a home automation system?? 

A collection of connected devices in a home, all working together, to make your life better.

Sounds pretty cool, but how?

It all starts with a good solid platform, a home base for all your devices to report in to. We use Home Assistant to gather all the info like this:

 

Smart Light - I’m on, and on 50% brightness.

smart light control

 

Camera – I’m recording the back yard with no motion detected.

camera monitoring

 

Door sensor – Front gate is Closed.

door sensor monitoring

Power Monitor – Geyser is drawing 3590w of power.

power monitor history

Thermometer – Its 20° in the living room

temperature sensor history

Light Sensor – I detect 58 Lux

light sensor history

     

    Now, using this platform to access vast information, users have the ability to monitor their homes in a meaningful way. With remote access they can get this information from anywhere with an internet connection. They can even get notifications when certain devices report certain information. I.E. “Front door is open”

     

    smart notifications

    The next step to a home automation system is the ability to control devices, whether from home or remotely.

    • Turn off that energy hungry geyser if you don’t need it.
    • Turn on security lights at night.
    • Turn off lights that were left on.
    • View live cameras on your property.

     

    So, is this a home automation system?

    Well, it is very clever and very useful!

    However, to be a true home automation system, it should accomplish some tasks in an automated way. Without you having to do anything at all.

    If this clever system knows that it is getting dark, and that there is motion in the home and can control lights …. well there is only one this left to do .… turn on the lights of course.
    A home automation system uses the same factors that you would use to make decisions. “I’m here, it’s dark, I need lights!” A well setup automation will have the lights on before you even think about it!

    “I have left home, I don’t need air-conditioning!” Thanks home automation system. Aircon’s are powered down.

    The benefits are obviously pointing to convenience, how lovely to have an invisible robot in your home doing chores for you, even if you aren’t there.
    But what about energy saving? In today’s world, this is of huge importance! Simply put, turn off things that aren’t being used, automatically. When we power down devices and appliances in an automated way the energy savings are far greater. This is because they are turned off sooner and they are turned off consistently. You can’t forget, because it’s not your problem anymore. Think about the positive compounding impact over a few years rather than just day to day.

     

    How do we get all the devices talking to each other?

    Home automation systems communicate via various channels. Its often easiest to simply beef up your existing wifi network and build your system from wifi connected devices. There are benefits to using RF, Zigbee, BLE, and z-wave devices, but just know that you will likely need a bridge of sorts to convert from one of these to wifi, to communicate with your chosen platform.

     

    The platform! The home base, the backbone, the heart and soul!

    Milney uses Home Assistant because it can integrate with SO many devices its actually ridiculous. Its installed locally, meaning you aren’t dependant on a 3rd party cloud server somewhere else. (Think security and reliability)

    The keen tech tinkerers like to set Home Assistant up for themselves. For everyone else, Milney will do it for you!

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