As a usual routine you reached your office on time. But suddenly you start worrying that perhaps you didn’t turn off light or Air Conditioner. You will keep worrying whole day as there is no one at home to tell that. Whole day you didn’t work as efficiently as you wished. Finally you reach home in the evening only to find that lights and AC were in fact on. You wished there were some mechanism available to monitor your home remotely and control the appliances. This is the idea of Smart Homes.
A Smart Home is a residence which has all electric appliances is connected to a communication network so that they can be controlled from a remote device such as a smart phone or PC. All the interconnected devices in the home realize the concept of Internet of Things (IoT). The devices are equipped with sensors which sense data from their environment. This data can be analyzed locally at the device itself or can be uploaded to a cloud server for further analysis. With the use of this data people can monitor the state of an appliance and control it if there is a need.
Home Automation is another term that refers to the smart homes. Home automation provides residence the comfort of controlling their home from anywhere. As a result the homes become more secure and convenient to live. People can efficiently control the device by using a smart home mobile app.
How Smart Homes Work
In a smart home the electric appliances such as light bulbs, fans, air conditioners, speakers and surveillance camera are connected to the Internet. These devices have some kind of embedded system along with the sensors. Embedded system can be a microcontroller board like Arduino or Raspberry pi which operates the system and enable the data sensed by the sensors to store locally or on cloud storage. The sensors can collect various types of data such as the temperature so that air condition can be turned on or off. Also, sensors can detect the presence of people in a room so that light bulbs and fans can be automatically turned or turned off.
When sensor data is uploaded on cloud server, the smart phone app can show it to the user and user can control a device using that app only. Likewise, other devices such as windows, doors, smart locks, television, refrigerator or domestic robots can be controlled.
Challenges in Adaptation of Smart Home Technology
- Currently, smart home technology is complex to operate. Not all people can work with smart home app either. Therefore, the users with some technical background adopt smart home technology.
- As the home appliances, are connected to Internet 24×7, there is a risk of security breach and hacking. If a hacker gets access to the data, then he can turn off the surveillance system and may enter in the home.
- There is an issue of data privacy also. The smart home data is uploaded on a cloud server for analysis. Consumers may not be comfortable in sharing their personal data.
- Last, but not the least, smart home solutions are expansive. As a result, this technology is yet to enter in the mainstream market.