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What is home automation and what are the advantages?

Home automation is the automatic control of smart domestic devices such as lights, thermostats, appliances, alarm systems, and security cameras. If you're wondering what is home automation or how to automate your home, you should think of it as an ecosystem in which all the elements communicate wirelessly with each other — and with you. The advantages of home automation include comfort, security, convenience, and energy efficiency. There are many home automation examples that illustrate these benefits: from unlocking your front door remotely to let the dog sitter in, to telling your thermostat to turn up the heat before you get home from work. No more wondering if you forgot to turn off the stove or to lock the door: you can check from the office or from the road, thanks to your home automation system.

How does home automation work?

When ordinary household objects like a lightbulb or a thermostat get connected to the internet, they become part of the Internet of Things (IoT) and can be triggered remotely through a home automation system. This is a network that links together the IoT objects, and lets you control them one by one through a voice assistant or app. For example, a home automation system connected to IoT devices lets you turn your heating on and off from the office, monitor your home camera to see if your new kittens are getting into trouble, or set your outdoor lighting to turn on before you arrive – all from an app on your phone. Many of these devices are also equipped with sensors that provide you with information about the surrounding area.

Home automation systems can work in three ways, often at the same time:

  • You can monitor your devices remotely through an app (such as viewing a live feed from a security camera, for example)
  • You can have any equipment that moves or shuts on and off activated remotely
  • You can have devices automated to communicate with one another, like having an alarm go off when a security camera detects movement. 

What are examples of home automation systems?

Automated homes are full of smart devices: alarms and smoke detectors, lights and plugs,  thermostats for heating and air conditioning, and many more. Home offices, kitchens, bathrooms, and gardens can all benefit from home automation advantages. Many home appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, ovens come with smart features that enable you to control them remotely. Even smaller appliances like coffee makers, food timers, window washers, air purifiers and vacuum cleaners can be hooked up to a home automation system. To name just a few!

This means we need a home automation system to communicate with our smart gadgets and appliances in a way that is smooth, easy and integrated, and makes our lives more comfortable and easier.

 

An example of a home automation system is Enel X's Homix, an app that learns your habits, preferences and routines so that it automatically adapts to your way of living and adjusts your lighting, your thermostat and your home security devices accordingly. Homix acts as a portal to all your smart appliances so that you can customize their settings with just one click.

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Does home automation save energy and costs?

An automated or smart home saves energy, and therefore costs on your bills, because it cuts down on the power you use for heating, cooling, lighting, and running your appliances. For example, how many times have you left the heat or the air conditioner on full blast while you’re at work? How many times do you forget to turn off the lights in the living room before going to sleep? With home automation, you can set your thermostat and your lights on schedules so they switch on and off automatically at certain times of day or night, to make sure you’re not wasting energy and therefore money. So one of the prime benefits to consider in choosing to upgrade to a smart home is that home automation will save you money on utility bills. Another prime benefit is sustainability: an energy efficient home is a home with a reduced carbon footprint, and this is good for the environment.

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