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A guide to home automation

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 12:12

As the world becomes increasingly technology-driven and gadget-reliant, it only makes sense to find a way to gain greater control of your devices. Although some people shy away from the smart house movement out of a desire for simple living, home automation certainly serves a purpose. Find out why people make the switch, what you need to do so and what one major company is working toward.The reasoning behind home automation

According to Bitwise Controls, there are four major benefits to automating your home. First of all, the command you have over appliances can save energy and money. By programming your radiant heat thermostat to activate and maintain the system, you can heat your home more efficiently. As a result, utility bills can begin to dwindle. You could also deactivate all of the appliances that are plugged in during the workday, eliminating the subsequent electricity use that people don't often consider.With an automated home that can be controlled remotely, there will much less to worry about when you're not around. Many systems allow users to check up on the commands using a smartphone or computer. Others will even send text message alerts if anything seems out of place, like a light left on or a door left unlocked.Finally, home automation can save time by grouping tasks and simplifying processes. While turning lights on and off, brewing a pot of coffee and adjusting the thermostat take just a few seconds each, BitWise said the saved time will add up. With an automated system, you no longer need multiple remotes or complicated explanations. Using just one system to run all of the home's electronics means everyone in the family can learn how to control the activity. Additionally, people might use appliances and gadgets more often when they are so easily accessible.Basic necessary supplies

PCWorld described the three baseline products you need to begin a home automation project: a computer, automation-aware devices and specific software. The source compared the concept of a computer running automation software to the mind of your smart home. Because the house's brain should always be running, it was suggested that you invest in an always-on system or server that will keep the computer awake and functioning, regardless of inactivity. At this stage in the game, almost anything that runs on electricity can be outfitted for automation-awareness, from kitchen appliances to heated floor systems. To make the system work, you need to use a type of power-line technology or wireless program to help the devices communicate. You can even use multiple types of technology on one system, though your PC will need interface software for each. Apple's future program

At Apple's World Wide Developer's Conference in June, the tech giant announced the addition of the HomeKit system to the upcoming iOS8 operating system. Although it didn't show any hardware, according to Mashable, developers can currently test their apps using the software. A handful of sponsors who have already adapted to work well with HomeKit were announced, including Philips and Haier. HomeKit works using a series of names for various rooms and gadgets that can be automated. It can connect to multiple homes, each of which you must give a name, then delves into specific areas and devices. Once you name a room, HomeKit will identify appliances that can be automated using the software. After you name the items that should be automated, you can enter control settings such as on and off, or high and low. There's a group setting so you can control all of your lights at once, or set a morning routine for several appliances such as a coffee pot, lights, music and blinds. 

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