By: Virang Jhaveri, Founder, Picostone technologies
Amongst the many expectations that we have from technology, the baseline of all requirements is the need for it to make our lives more comfortable, more manageable and free us from the time-consuming daily chores. And technology has managed to bring us this comfort through smartphones. Our personal requirements to our professional commitments are now being easily managed using our smartphone devices. Shopping, banking, directions, emails, food and entertainment are all now a click away, saving us time, effort and energy.
The role of technology has now advanced into an intelligent play, wherein, it now effectively manages our all daily requirements, provide remote control access of all devices & appliances at home and act as a virtual assistant. And this is just the beginning of things with IoT and AI in home automation, Technology will, soon, virtually control all aspects of our personal and professional lives with advanced features of IoE (Internet of Everything). But acceptance of Home Automation in India is in its nascent stage and the slow growth of this segment can be credited to the old wired technology, the high cost of products & installation and after-sales service issues.
The smartphone revolution coupled with wi-fi technology has given this segment the required boost and home automation is now witnessing mass acceptance across individuals and also with real estate developers, who are now looking at developing smart homes. But the definition of home automation has now moved beyond from the basic comfort and control to an intelligent system that manages chores, provides system & appliance information, enhances monetary savings and secures the premises either through smartphone or voice control devices.
The integration of AI has redefined the role of home automation and few of the important features that new age home automation products provide are:
Location-based control of system and appliances:
Home automation products can be remotely controlled through smartphone apps and also be set up to auto-manage the home based on your location. In the event of the user approaching his home and within a given radius, the products can set his room up with his preference of lights, curtains and AC temperature.
Voice controlling of appliances/devices:
New age home automation products can be further linked with devices like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa to provide voice control options across all home automation devices. From basic control like switching of lights, voice or video calling, reading news, placing orders, playing music or controlling home settings amongst other things, home automation products can now be effectively voice-controlled through such devices. This feature is very important in making voice calls during a medical emergency in notifying family, friends or medical facilities for immediate attention.
Optimizing Energy Consumption:
Startups are now focusing on home automation products that provide functionality beyond control panels like product malfunction warnings, energy saving and optimizing energy performance. With the integration of AI and ML in home automation offerings, energy consumption pattern can help users to limit usage of devices and appliances when not required or to control usage of products that are high on energy consumptions.
Another strong feature of new age home automation products are the wi-fi enabled video feed security feature that can be remotely accessed on smartphones from any given location. Security products like microwave based motion sensors can detect random movement or the use of AI in facial recognition through video surveillance to detect intruders and warn homeowners is another strong feature of such devices. These security products are plug and play devices that integrate easily with other existing home automation panels.
The other main reasons for the growth of home automation in India, apart from convenience and control, is the affordability of products and the possibility of distributed installation, wherein, users can automate a certain section of the house instead of complete home automation. Though we are just opening up to the thought of home automation in India, growth in technology, affordability, functionalities (from comfort to safety) and acceptance of this technology will soon redefine our requirements, similar to how smartphones redefined nearly everything we did.