It was only Thursday and already I was exhausted from a turbulent start to the week. After a late dinner and finally getting the kids to turn in for the evening I had two options: collapse into a heap and reap some much needed R & R, or keep plugging through with some late evening household chores. I chose the former. Collapsing onto the bed next to my husband, I sighed and commented that I think there were lights still left on down stairs, perhaps even a TV and I hadn’t even bothered to check that everything was locked up. Previously, after a statement like that, there would be a long silence between us, which usually implied that we were hoping the other would volunteer, get up and make the journey downstairs to take care of everything. After a hectic week for us both, the simple thought of hopping back out of bed seemed like a mission bigger than Everest.
Hello Home Automation
“No worries” came the reply from my husband. He rolled over to pick up his mobile phone and with a quick push of a button the whole house went into ‘Goodnight mode’; TV’s off, lights off, doors locked and the house alarm secured the premise downstairs. A quick login to the CCTV cameras gave him a quick view of the perimeter of our house, everything looked fine and we were able to settle down for the evening.
Later throughout the night, I hear one of the kids hop up for the bathroom. Our “smart home” detects this and lights up the hallway to only 30% capacity, with just enough soft lighting to see where they are walking. After they have returned to bed, the lights automatically turn off.
This is home automation, or commonly known as a ‘smart home’. Since having our home automated, it has simplified our life in so many ways as well as saving us a bucket load of money at the same time. From the little things, such as waking up to the blinds rolling up, filtering in the morning sunlight, music playing and having freshly brewed coffee waiting, or having the irrigation system water our garden at scheduled times because, let’s be honest, while hubby and I both appreciate a nice looking garden, none of us have a green thumb!
Home automation has saved us money, lots in fact! Power is a biggie! Our lighting control system is programmed to turn off after detecting ‘no motion’ within a room after a certain amount of time. If you have kids like ours, they seem to be programmed to go from room to room and leave lights on everywhere; this is a saver in itself! The ability to also turn off the lights upstairs, when we’re downstairs from our phones, mean we are always on top of our lighting consumption.
One of the kids likes to fall asleep to music and soft lighting. In his room, this scene is set so the lighting is at 20% capacity and the music will play for around an hour after he hops in bed. After this the lights and music automatically shut off into goodnight mode; another thing we don’t have to think about ‘doing’ before we hit the sack.
If this, then That…
We’ve had lots of ‘scenes’ or ‘conditions’ programmed into our home. For example, after a certain time in the evening, the lights will adjust themselves to a lower capacity of brightness, using less electricity. If we press ‘Movie Mode’ on our phones, the lights automatically turn off, the blinds close and the home theatre starts up. As you heard earlier, ‘Goodnight Mode’ turns off the whole house when we hop into bed at the end of a long day.
We’ve found this very useful when we’ve been away on holiday. We can set ‘scenes’ to make it look like our home is still lived in, to deter would-be intruders. Lights and blinds can be programmed to turn on and off and open and close at certain pre-set times, always looking like someone is home. Our pool pump is connected as well as our irrigation system, so we know we will return to a lush garden, that’s been looked after.
Our home can notify us via our phone with alerts if there has been any movement detected around our home and we can remotely login to our cctv security system and replay footage, whether it was from yesterday or last week.
Our Intercom shows us who is at our front door via our mobile phones and we can automatically let in friends with access control when we’re cooking on the bbq out the back! For us this also means, no more fumbling for keys, with keyless entry.
‘Party Mode’ sets the scene and plays our favourite music in our outdoor al-fresco area, or we can zone the music, like you would your air-conditioning, to play in certain rooms of our house. Speaking of air-conditioning, this is set to come on when the house hits a certain temperature to cool down or warm up, depending on the season.
The options and scenarios are endless. You can have a lot of fun with home automation and save money and time in the process. It has simplified our life a lot and is so easy to use.