All you need to know about Home Automation

It’s not science fiction anymore, home automation is here.  A 2015 survey by home automation and security company Vivint found that one-third of New Zealanders have added  a home automation technology to their home, mostly to control heating, lighting, or security.

Insider Intelligence expects the total number of connected devices on the planet to reach 64 billion by 2025, up from about 10 billion in 2018. This includes all smart appliances (washers, dryers, refrigerators, etc.), smart home safety and security systems (sensors, monitors, cameras, and alarm systems), and smart home energy equipment, like smart thermostats and smart lighting.

What is a smart home?

In short, a “smart home” is a residence equipped with several devices that automate functions such as when heating/cooling comes on or when an alarm activates. They call this the Internet of things (IoT), as they don’t always require people to control them.  A home automation system can control lighting, climate, entertainment systems, and appliances. It may also include home security such as access control and alarm systems.

How many times have you left the house thinking you hadn’t locked the front door? Just by using your smartphone, you’d be able to know if you locked the front door when you left the house and be able to unlock and lock it remotely.

Why have a smart home?

Having some sort of home automation can deliver several benefits.  You can reduce your costs and conserve energy along with providing great control of your home with improved convenience. You can leave your home heating off when you are not home, which lowers your energy bill, but use your phone to turn the heating and close the blinds before you arrive home.

A smart home can also take away some tedious tasks of home care.  For example, a fridge that orders milk online when it senses you are low or turning off lights in rooms when nobody is in them.

With home automation you can feel safer and secure with connected lights, cameras and doorbells.  These devices can deter burglars. An example will be that you can activate your alarm siren and internal/external lights from your phone at any time.

How do you explore home automation?

The good news is that you don’t need a big investment or rewire your entire house to automate part of your house.  Many NZ homes start out with a relatively simple degree of home automation, and you can expand the capability as and when you want.  This could start out with controlling the lights in main living areas, external lights or controlling your heat pump or alarms through the internet.  AB Electrical are happy to give advice and guidance to ensure your entrée into home automation ensures you can develop your automation into added functions when you are ready.  Give AB Electrical a call and we would be happy to help.

How do I keep my Smart Home safe from hackers?

As with any device you have connected to the internet in your home, you must ensure the internet connected devices are properly password protected and your modem has a good WIFI password.

Best practice is to change your usernames and passwords regularly.  Use two-factor authentication when available.  We do not recommend using the same username and passwords across multiple website and apps. Doing so makes it easier for hackers to crack your login passwords.