The smart home is no longer the future, but now is may just be confusing…

clip_image002Hi my name is Scott and I am a technology addict. I am not being silly or funny I truly am. I love the concepts, ideas and impact of technology. So for me the concept of the smart home is something that will not only surpass where we are but will add so many layers to the home technology equation. The smart home will consist first off of a series of IoT devices. Analysts project 200 or more connected devices in the home of the future. I wonder if there will be more than that.

The first thing you have to consider is the protocol you are going to use in your house. Many smart devices do not leverage or utilize Wi-Fi, the use protocols that lie in the spectral range above and below Wi-Fi. ZigBee is one such protocol for home automation. Why don’t you want your IoT automation devices stepping on your home Wi-Fi? Well first off how often do you like to see buffering while watching Netflix?

clip_image004But smart homes are not just automated. The smart home of tomorrow will have its own energy source (Solar power) and a backup generator. Why? Because if you are ever out of power when it is freezing outside or when it is roasting outside you will realize that power is kind of critical in the smart home business. Smart homes have to been green homes as well I think. Energy efficiency, green technologies and where possible low energy utilities. Plus all of this, as in the image to the right running from a tablet. Simply log into the automation web site and control your home!

Frankly making the smart home decision now is way too hard. There are a number of competing standards and concepts. I suspect as time goes on the competition will slowly drift away. But there are far too many systems now. I’ve been talking to a co-worker about home automation for the past couple of weeks and from those conversations I’ve come up with some initial projects to consider when building your home as a service, service (HaaS).

clip_image006First HaaS projects to consider:

1. Door locks do some initial research but find automated door locks. You can allow people into your home remotely and also you don’t have to carry keys with you everywhere. You can have codes for the maid and the kids and set-up actions that notify you when not only someone logs into your house but when someone fails multiple times trying to log into your house.

2. Consider a video doorbell. Burglars often ring the bell to see if someone is home. If someone answers then they can never tell if someone is actually home and will move on. It also gives you a chance to see who is at the door without actually going to the door.

3. Lights are nice, when you get home after dark it is nice to have lights automatically turn on as you move from the garage to the kitchen. Also nice because you can turn lights on that are visible from outside but don’t reveal if anyone is home. Another really quick way to make your house appear occupied when you are not home.

4. Garage doors are always good to automate. Why? I can’t tell you how many vacations I started, got 4 miles down the road and turned around to see if we actually closed the garage door. Now it’s just check my phone or tablet and keep on driving. Well in Maryland or Virginia its actually hand my phone to someone else and have them check it.

I have more projects to consider but getting these four together and working on a single screen is a fairly big project. Look for three things in each item you consider – does it support what you want to do now and what you may want to do later. The other thing to keep in your thoughts is do I need a router or gateway for this device. If it is using a protocol you don’t currently support on your network you will need a hub. Almond or Smart things are good multi-purpose routers for the home that allow you to control devices via multiple different protocols. The thing you have to be aware of though for your home is the overall strength of the gateway. If you have a three story house, you will need an extender so that all levels of the home will have access to the gateways.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.