Is Your Smart Home Really Smart Without Sensors To Tell It What’s Going On?

If you’re a recent convert to Smart Home automation you may be starting to think “well this isn’t all that smart at all, is it? I still have to tell Alexa everything I’m doing before she’ll help me with anything!” and you’d be right. But only because you’ve got Alexa’s ears set up, without sensors’ she’s got no eyes.

A truly Smart home system relies on sensors to be able to work efficiently. Sensors feed data back to the Home Hub enabling it to make decisions and obey commands which would have been set up in order to make the Smart Home system integrated and intelligent.

There are a wide range of sensors which will serve various different purposes, from fire and smoke detectors to thermostats and motion sensors which will tell your hub not only when you enter a room, but when an intruder breaks into your home. Making use of these sensors as part of the everyday home hub utility will vastly improve the intelligence of the system since you won’t have to tell it directly what you want to happen, and make you safer since you will be able to rely on your home hub to react to changes such as movement, smoke, fire, or gas and water leaks. Read more

Smart Sensors Offer So Much More Than Security

sensors. alarms, automation, security, We talk a lot about “Home Automation” and then go on to speak about how we can control our home environment via our apps, computer, control panel or voice, but surely that’s negating the entire ethos of ‘Automated’? For a full automated home you need sensors. With a little time and patience when setting up you can let your sensors take care of many of the mundane tasks which you do every day. Tie them in with Smart or If This Then That (IFTTT) devices then the simplicity and elegance of a fully automated home is on the horizon.

There are a range of different sensors which detect one, several, or many of the following:

  • Temperature
  • Light
  • Moisture
  • Movement
  • Other specific Smart devices
  • Fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide

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The Biggest Threats To Safety In The Home

Home, by definition, is a place where your can feel safe. A place to relax and unwind without being worried or stressed by the everyday troubles of the outside world.Coming home and relaxing isn’t always possible though. There are always safety concerns that it would be remiss to ignore. In the UK there are an average of 2.7 million visits to Accident and Emergency and 6,000 deaths due to accidents. Along with these accidents there are 650,000 break-ins each year. That means that 2% of homes every year have intruders break in and damage or steal goods from the householders.

Some groups are more vulnerable than others. The elderly and infirm are prone to accidents and it’s important that if you take extra special care of your home security and personal safety.

People who wish to ‘age in place’ have a number of options today which weren’t available until very recently. Sheltered housing may have had call buttons and alarms in the bathroom in case of slips or falls, but adaptations for the home were normally restricted to additional handrails and ramps for people who had trouble with steps. Personal alerts in the form of a fob worn around the neck were available, but if you weren’t wearing it when you slipped they weren’t much use. Read more

Not Sure If You Locked The Door Or Turned The Oven Off? Check It Without Rushing Back Home

Woman using a button access control panel on a white wallIf you’re anything like me you’ll find yourself constantly returning home to check you’ve locked the doors or turned off the stove. Barely a week goes by when, if you were my stalker, you’d see me turn around before I’d even got to the end of the street and checking I’d locked the door to the office when it comes time for me to go home.

Some say it’s down to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), others say it’s a short term memory problem, but personally I put it down to an incredibly short attention span. If I deliberately try to notice something or do something out of sequence, such as turning the locks in a different order, then the event is impressed into my memory and I can get on the bus, safe in the knowledge that work will still be there when I come back in the morning.

If the anxiety sets in soon enough I can come back and check, but sometimes that nagging doubt doesn’t manifest itself until I’m on the bus miles toward home. I reassure myself with the fact that never once have I ever forgotten to lock up and, thanks to the aforementioned short attention span, I soon forget to worry about it and carry on without turning back. Read more

Are You Surfing The Z-Wave Of Home Automation?

Z-wave is a wireless protocol which links a number of over 2600 different Smart Home Devices together. However, unlike your WiFi network or Bluetooth, Z-Wave is a software and hardware solution designed specifically to support a Smart Home environment. It differs significantly from WiFi and Bluetooth as it is a mesh network, meaning that each device repeats each signal it receives. Consequently the more Z-Wave devices you have, the stronger and more reliable the network is.

The signal the devices send is short range in itself, (up to approximately 330ft but a range of 50ft or less is recommended for solid reliability) but when many small devices are operating in your home, the mesh ensures that distance between the originating device and the intended receiver is no problem. This means that unlike other wireless communications, the more devices enhance reception rather than taking up bandwidth from a router which also serves your other connected devices, internet access, et cetera. Read more

Smart Home Makes Life Easier For People With Disabilities And Those Who Want To ‘Age In Place’

Smart Home Automation Controlled by a wall panelSmart home technology seems to be about making routine tasks simple and effort free. It’s most appealing to people who are among the most tech savvy, young and engaged with what’s happening on the electronics front. They earn enough money to be able to afford home automation and the devices that are needed to seamlessly integrate Smart tech into their routines. That mundane, boring tasks are taken care of without a second thought. But what about the people whose need is greater? Those who wish to ‘Age in Place’? Or those with disabilities or other lifestyle limiting problems whose lack of engagement with the latest trends in home technology. Not being into tech means that they’re unlikely to hear about the advancements which are taking place, and least likely to appreciate how those innovations are going to help them with their daily lives?

Smart home technology is all about outsourcing routine tasks to a device or app which can do it for you, so it’s perfect for people with disabilities, loss of fine motor controls, dementia, injuries, and mobility problems. However, in the ads we see for Connected Devices we, so far, have only seen the fun side of home automation with happy smiling families enjoying an active lifestyle which Alexa or Google simply add to. How long until we see a wheelchair user or someone with life affecting injuries using their Smart devices to do things which are awkward, or impossible for them to do without help enjoying the benefits that these technologies bring? Read more

How To Get The Best Out Of Your Smart Home Security By Adding Additional Alarms

There’s very little difference between  Smart alarm systems and CCTV security as far as installation and effect is concerned. Either will alert you to the fact that there is an emergency on your property or in your house. In the past a security system linked to a burglar alarm would have meant installing cable, sensors and a big ugly box on the outside of your home which would scream and flash whenever the alarm was triggered. Today installation is nothing like as hard thanks to Smart Home Security systems, while coverage and adaptability are greatly improved.

Your Smart Home Alarm differs from your Smart Home Security only insomuch as your alarm system will let you and the intruder know audibly when someone triggers the security system you have protecting your property. Smart security will alert you to break-ins, intruders on your land, take video footage of them and, depending on your set-up, let emergency services know. However, there’s no reason why the two systems can’t be synchronised so that anything that happens in your home late at night or while you’re away will trigger an alert to let you, your burglar, and the police know.

So, while your old fashioned alarm system had a panel by the front door which you would need to arm whenever you left the house and input your disarming code when you came home your smart alarm can be controlled from a panel on the wall, a Smart Home hub, or from your smartphone via an app. With geofencing, technology which lets your smart home know where you are by tracking your phone, you can automatically arm the alarm every time you leave the house and disarm it when you come home again without needing to touch the control panel. Friends, family, carers or other trusted parties can be added to your approved list so they can let themselves in in case of emergency without setting off the alarm.
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