A variety of options are now available for the automation of homes. Once it was an area for strong-willed, wealthy individuals, prepared to negotiate with reclusive technocrats and followed up by maintenance call outs to highly skilled and often unavailable specialists.
Your local DIY store has been quietly adding to the shelves a variety of products that are simple to install, setup and operate. They can manage a range of controls, and be accessed from a range of devices, including your modestly sized iPhone or Andoid. Amazon has a range of products, and you can follow your own preference as Apple, Google or third party systems.
This is the offering from a global player that you may be familiar with, for other products:
We were pleasantly surprised when established professionals in the industry visited us with a sample system that is actually user friendly and easily affordable, and backed by locally based technical resources. The system was not designed to catch you out over a long maintenance contract for the life of the installation. Free apps allow you to interface the brains of the home automation with your BYO device. Portable switches and sensors, battery operated locks, light globes and controllers, all being brought online on a wireless platform with secure access control.
Bruce, from ProLamps explained: “you plug the components in, allocate room names to the devices and it’s all working!” Time schedules, sensor input, all accessible from the app. The system controls AC, sockets, lights, monitors power usage and plenty of functionality being added on regularly. The sample demo was voice activated and controlled by the iPhone app.
For those that wish to achieve a smooth retrofit or new install, it may be worth considering getting input from the industry.
If you favour DIY, trial and error, and learning on the job, a good way to learn is following up on the various standards that are emerging. (Hey, you always have the next project to fix the less desirable outcomes by going alone – We plug in here our interest in helping!).
In either approach, following a longer term strategy may be the best approach. While each product family has limitations, a consistent use of a specific standard will allow compatibility for a range of products and functions into the future. Most of us prefer a simple platform, all accessible from one device.
Whatever your preference, we should all be less apprehensive about the performance and potential for managing these systems, as technology progresses.