The chances are pretty good that you have heard of home automation. Even if you don’t own any devices yourself, you’re probably familiar with the concept. But are you familiar with the idea of integrating multiple devices so that they work together? Integration is truly the key to getting the most out of the home automation concept.
For the record, a modern home automation device is any device that automates an otherwise manual task and can be accessed remotely. Common home automation devices include:
- smart thermostats
- smart light fixtures
- video doorbells
- electronic smart locks
- smart irrigation systems.
Thanks to the internet of things (IoT) the list of available smart home devices continues to grow. We truly are well on the way to building the smart home that futurists only dreamed of fifty years ago. But enough of that. Let’s get back to the idea of integration.
Integration Means Working Together
In the home automation space, integration is all about designing a system so that all the devices on the network can work together. A properly integrated system can complete multiple tasks based on a cascade of events. One event starts things off, then triggers another event, and another, and so on down the line.
In a recent post discussing smart smoke detectors, Vivint Smart Home offers a couple of examples of this cascading action. For example, a smart smoke detector can immediately send an alert to a remote monitoring center where personnel can assess the threat and call the fire department.
Meanwhile, the smart home’s control hub recognizes that the smoke alarm has been triggered. It immediately sends a signal to shut off the HVAC as an extra precaution. That way, if a genuine fire is in progress, the HVAC system will not accidentally fuel the fire by turning on and circulating air.
Full integration can be accomplished through event-based programming. In other words, you program your system to respond to certain events based on your daily routine. We can use temperature, lighting, and video cameras as an example.
Let us assume your children get home from school a few hours before the end of your work day. You have a smart lock on the front door, allowing the kids to get in without a key. You could program your system so that, as soon as one child enters a PIN code to unlock the door, the thermostat automatically adjusts to the right temperature. Meanwhile, all the first-floor lights turn on and interior cameras activate.
All these actions result in a push notification being sent to your phone. It acts as a reminder for you to open your home automation app to check your video feeds. You will know in an instant that the kids are safe at home.
Programming Based on Geolocation
Another way to get the most out of home automation integration is to set up programming based on geolocation. A quick example would be programming your system to automatically turn off all the lights and lock the doors as you drive down the street on the way to work. Returning home triggers the same actions, only in reverse. This is all accomplished by creating a geo-fence using your home automation app.
There are many more ways to accomplish integration within a home automation system. What has been discussed in this post barely scratches the surface. The lesson to be learned here is quite simple: your home automation system is only as good as the integration behind it. The more integrated it is, the better for you.