It wasn’t too long ago that smart homes really weren’t that smart. In fact, they were downright dumb. What was being billed as smart home technology was nothing more than a new kind of timer control system that could turn lights on and off. How things have changed. Today’s smart homes might not yet be thinking for themselves, but they are a lot smarter than they have ever been.
Vivint Smart Home defines a smart home as one that utilizes the latest machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to make a home more efficient, more safe, and more comfortable. One look at all of the new equipment now on the market shows just how smart today’s homes are becoming.
We owe much of our modern smart home technology to the smartphone. If it were not for the revolutionary ideas brought to market by phone makers, smart homes would probably still be quite dumb. However, that is another topic for another post. This post is all about how today’s smart homes are smarter than most people think.
Thermostats and Lighting
A good place to start a discussion of smart homes is by mentioning thermostats and lighting. These two really mark the precursor of smart home technology decades ago. At minimum, a modern smart home should be able to automatically control thermostat settings and different lighting settings based on time of day, seasons, etc., thus saving money on energy.
A smart thermostat is capable of learning how a homeowner lives and automatically updating its own programming accordingly. The same thing with smart lighting. How does it work? The homeowner installs thermostat and lighting devices, creates an initial program, and then lets them run. The devices measure activity throughout the home using sensors, gradually learning how homeowners live. Then they adjust their own programming.
Thermostats and lighting are just the starting point for smart home technology. Today, you can also install technologies to make your windows smart. Think two things here: blinds and smart glass. Both can be controlled with a home automation system.
Motorized blinds can be outfitted with smart home sensors and then programmed to open and close at certain times of the day. Imagine automatically closing the blinds at 9 o’clock on a hot, summer morning. This helps to keep the house cool during the hottest hours of the day. They can be programmed to open up again in the evening, as the sun starts to set.
You can do the same thing with smart glass. What is smart glass? It is glass with an embedded layer capable of changing opacity. Windows can go from completely transparent to fully opaque in seconds. If you can control your blinds with home automation, you can do the same with your smart glass windows.
Can your doors be smart as well? Absolutely. There are two door technologies that are hot right now: electronic door locks and video doorbells. Both can be connected to a home automation system for both security and efficiency.
Electronic door locks with smart capabilities generally do not require a key for entry. Rather, the lock is opened with either a keypad or cell phone. The keypad allows you to give guests access to your home without having to give them a physical key. Cell phone access makes it possible to open the door from nearly anywhere.
As for the video doorbell, its effectiveness should be pretty obvious. The video doorbell makes it impossible for someone standing at your front door to know whether or not you are home. As a bonus, the bell’s built-in video camera records all activity. You can use a video doorbell as a security device even when you are not home.
The ideas discussed here do not even scratch the surface of the modern smart home. Today’s smart homes include all sorts of exciting technologies that are truly changing the way we live. From voice assistants to automatic lighting and temperature control, our homes are doing things for us that we have always had to do manually.
What about your home? Has it entered the smart era yet? If not, it is probably only a matter of time.