Essentially, smart homes employ appliances and or electronic devices that are controlled remotely via apps on smartphones. Most widely seen examples in South Africa are: lighting and air con, smart locks, doors and security systems, TV and other media and irrigation and swimming pool controls. Kitchen devices are a burgeoning sector with smart fridges and even smart coffee machines.

Everything can be managed in real-time, either from an app on a smartphone or tablet or through a voice-controlled smart speaker. The plus factor is convenience and saving time on a regular basis.

‘This means connectivity with almost every device in the home,’ so says Nick Caripsis of BNC Technology. ‘Ultimately this makes life easier, providing effortless control, but most importantly making decisions. More intelligent software / hardware is becoming available to maximise functionality so that everything will work seamlessly in one application. Imagine leaving home and pressing one button, which activates the alarm, switches off all the lights, sound, TV’s, closes the blinds to keep the heat out, activates the air-con at a given temperature, locks / closes doors and then sends the user a notification.

‘We believe the core of the home will be technology-driven, so that this key investment will be the largest and most crucial decision for the homeowner who will live with the system and interact with it on a daily basis. Enjoying interaction / communication with the home as it lives and breathes – and the office and motor vehicle as an interlink – the transition from work to car and then home will be seamless.’

Then there’s information. Smart home gadgets provide easily accessible data on a variety of essentials.

Dean Joffe of Simpletech comments: ‘As we live our lives today, the big tech players are assembling data, ideally with our knowledge and permission, in order to do something meaningful with it. It’s collected via various personal devices such as: phones, tablets and smartwatches and importantly from all their different sensors and inputs. These include, but are not limited to, GPS receiver, microphone, video camera, keyboard and accelerometer (motion detection). This defines the concept of the value of Big Data.

‘Why is this significant? The answer is simple; this data can be used to understand an individual, his / her needs, and ultimately deliver exactly what is needed and when. For us, this means controlling the client’s environment, home or office in precise harmony: likes / dislikes, schedules, even moods and all other factors that can be derived from the relevant input and data.’

So, routines and rules can be programmed and certain actions can be triggered by entering or leaving the premises, through the activation of sensors. The rationale here is that the personal habitat becomes familiar with family, friends and their routines. And it operates automatically based on what’s occurring, without the need for regular input.

For the full article see Habitat #274 November / December 2019 | Habitat Online #4 December / January 2020


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