It is undeniable, home automation systems are ceasing the spotlight, especially after Apple announced at WDC that they will soon be getting into the market. New competitors and manufacturers of home automated devices are emerging today, bringing in new ideas and products aimed to outshine those that are already available to consumers. ABI Research’s study reveals that this market could be one of the next biggest ones for the Internet of Things, pegged as a $6 billion open market.
And as proof to this, a 5,000 square foot property in New Jersey has become the poster-house for a Smart Home. According to reports, this house is a realization of virtual automated home that showcases smart kitchen appliance such as an oven and refrigerator, bathroom towel warmer, color-changing windows as well as standard automated features like lighting and thermostat controls. These are among the many other things that you can find in it. And yet despite the seamless integration, it still manages to maintain a tech-free appeal.
Most home automation devices appeal to generally people who either want their homes to look cool and high tech, or those who automation enthusiasts who embrace this kind of technology with open arms and think that these devices are just next generation. Whether you are those kinds of people or simply just want to experience a bit of comfort and ease of not having to do things all on your own, it is important to understand what comes with this technology.
Of course, with every new technology, there will always be challenges. Especially that Smart Home is relatively new, there may be some things that needs to be considered before deploying such technology. One of the advantages of these automation devices is that they operate on a wireless network. Wireless networks are known for providing utmost flexibility in terms of infrastructure. No drilling or wiring required. Upgrading components can also be a lot easier. Another advantage would be overall cost savings. Because there are no wires to install, initial cost normally is a whole lot cheaper than wired systems. Security companies that install these devices for you may also charge less when their monitoring systems are used and bundled with the device.
However, one of the major challenges of wireless communication is its distance limitation. Some areas of the house may be out of range. And there may also be a limit to the number of sensors and equipments that you can connect and control with wireless systems. Another issue is incompatibility. Currently, there is no unified platform for most of these automated home devices. This is what Apple is trying to achieve with iOS 8 and HomeKit application. Apple has announced some devices that can work with HomeKit, however, no further details as to how this will come to play for other home appliances as of yet.
At this point, home automation can present a bit of a hassle as there may be a need to configure separate applications for several devices, and there no easy means of making them communicate to each other. Many of these products may also require different wireless adapters as they may speak in different languages as well. A way to connect several various devices is to setup a hub that can communicate with the devices in a common language. But it could still get messy.
However, we do not discount that Smart Home communication has improved over the years and had proven to be a more cost effective. Mobile platforms have also been added to facilitate ease of use as well as create a much larger ecosystem of developers for this technology. It still has a long way to go, but may be worth getting excited about.