Smart Home Features

By: Sam V

It's about time I go to the nitty gritty about what kind of features you might want in a smart home. Both x10 and INSTEON have products that can suit these needs. Anyway here are the most common features you might choose to have in a smart home:

Lighting

As lighting is an integral part of a building. The user would be able to choose the time of activation, for example, in the home 7pm when it starts to get dark might be a sensible option. If the user wishes to further customise the lighting settings there should be an option available to implement motion detection, which would involve a person actually stepping into a room, in order for the lights to be activated. This could include a specific room in the home or all the rooms. In a voice controlled format the user could check if the lights were on in any room of the house by speaking into a Bluetooth headset. The system could then ask the user is the lights are in the required state.

Security

With the advancements of smart technology, it makes sense to include security fetures. The user would be able control the arming and disarming of the alarm, as well as edit specific settings of the alarm, such as the key code. The user could also have the option to configure intrusion detection settings. This would work firstly by outside lights detecting motion and then the system would warn the security personnel or house owner of any windows or doors being forced open, through the use of electronic sensors that are connected to the system.

Temperature

The user would be able to control the heating and cooling of the home, through the use of both time and parameter-based functions. The user may choose for the heating to come on when outside conditions drop below a certain temperature, there would be heat-sensitive sensors placed outside to detect varying conditions.

Appliances

The power supply to all appliances in the home could be controlled using the smart system. In a large home this would be a very convenient feature because there may be a lot of electrical appliances that are left on standby, hence the system should contain a feature, which searches all power supply links in the home to determine where energy can be saved.

Entertainment

For a fully capable smart home, entertainment features would be an innovative feature to include. The most widely used aspect of entertainment features would probably be the ability for subtle music to air throughout the household, this would be very welcoming especially if a resident has had a stressful day at work.

System Status

It is worth having an option to verify the current status of the system. This kind of feature would provide the user with the ability to scan the entire system or just parts of it for errors.

Vehicle Detection

When a vehicle approaches the driveway of a home, the system should be able to alert the homeowner. This is only possible if certain types of smart home technologies are used. It would work very well with a Bluetooth headset because the system announce the arrival of the visitor to the homeowner. It would also work well with more long-range wireless standards, such as, GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) because the homeowner could receive an SMS (Short Message Service) when someone arrives at the home, which is especially useful when away from the home.

Phone set-up

A home-based system should be able to initiate with a mobile-phone when the house is empty. The system should provide the ability for the user to enter the name and model number of the phone so it can be verified for use. The user will be able to communicate with the system when approaching home to switch the television or the oven on and any other electrical appliances the house owner may wish to make use of.

Wake up

A useful feature in a home-based smart system would be alarm clock functionality, for example, the user would be able to choose from a selection of wake up sounds from more pleasant sounds to more piercing types. At the weekend the more pleasant ones are likely to be selected.

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