What Really is a Smart Home?

Updated: Nov 6, 2021

Smart homes are not well understood by many in Kenya. Not many companies have used smart devices especially in home automation. For this blog, I will explain what a smart device is and secondly what really makes a smart home. A smart device is a device that we use in our daily lives, at home or work that has the ability to receive and send commands and data over the internet. Smart switches can send and receive commands to turn on and off over the internet and through wifi. Smart device industry is so big with many tech companies like google with Nest products operating on google home app, Amazon, Xiaomi, Phillips with the Hue bulbs, emastiff with security sensors and so many companies, we can never exhaust the list.

First thing that makes a device smart is its ability to send and receive commands. Smart devices do not have to be operated directly with physical buttons. With smart home apps like google home, or smart home operating systems like Control4, and hubs, they can be controlled remotely. They can also receive instructions through voice commands most common being Alexa and “hey google” assistants.

The second very critical ability of smart devices is the ability to send information over the internet. You are able to know that your front door was unlocked at noon, your lights are on, the smoke sensor is beeping or a person was detected near your car. This makes those devices really useful, ability to to receive data from them to anywhere you are in the world. This brings is to another very important feature of smartphones: the ability to send data over the internet. The ability to send data. These devices can communicate with each other. This ability allows us to create really smart homes.

When creating a smart home, it is not really the collection of devices that matters but how you have set the devices to communicate with each other to bring out desirable actions. We will use a security system to explain this. If you design the system such that when you arm your home, a detection of a person outside the house will trigger lights to switch on for some seconds to create an impression that someone is awake. The motion will also trigger video recording, and a bedroom lamp to light up as a warning someone is outside. The system can also be automated to send a live video to your phone. You can also automate such that when you are not at home, any failed attempt at opening the door lock can send live video of the door to you wherever you are and sound alarm accompanied by flashing red lights (normal smart bulbs can produce any color of light). Other automated smart home systems include switching off the air conditioner when you are not at home, cleaning at midnight, dimming lights when watching a movie, and turning red lights of desired intensity for romantic mood or bright colors for parting, study mode, sleeping mode when lights turn on at a very small intensity which can be activated between certain times of the day, etc. Flood leak sensors can turn off the water valve etc.

Therefore, to experience smart homes, besides buying various smart home devices, you have to learn how to create the routines. A smart home places a home in your hands literary, you can do anything you want when not at home. Feed your puppies, monitor them, talk to them, wake up your children, control their tV and internet use, lock the house, clean your house, water your garden, arm your house, turn off the water supply. The list is very long.

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