Smart homes provide their owners with convenience, comfort, security, and energy efficiency. But what are they, exactly? Home automation describes homes in which nearly everything - lights, appliances, outlets, plugged-in electronics, heating & cooling systems - are hooked up to a remote network, usually controlled by smartphone. From a home security perspective, this also includes your alarm system, and all of the doors, windows, locks, smoke detectors, surveillance cameras and any other sensors that are linked to it.
There are two main characteristics of home automation systems:
- Automation - this refers to the ability to program and schedule events for all the devices hooked up to your "smart home" network. The programming may include time-related commands like having your lights turn on or off at specific times each day. It also includes non-scheduled events, such as turning on all the lights in your home when your security system alarm is triggered.
- Remote Control - thanks to the rise in smartphones, tablets, cellular data and Wi-Fi, we can now readily connect to our home networks while we're away. With monitoring apps on your smartphone, you can check your security system's status, whether any lights were left on, if the doors are all locked, and your home's current temperature all while you're out and about, and make changes remotely if needed. In addition to monitoring these systems while away, you can also program your home automation system to send text alerts straight to your phone in the event of a problem.