A smart home is what it is and what it involves

The term “smart home” means a home automation system. Its task is to ensure the safety and comfort of users, to control the consumption of resources, to notify about the current situation in the home.

In the advanced version, the smart home is able to react to certain situations in accordance with predetermined scenarios. What does this system consist of and what are its benefits?

Technical basis of technology

The basis of smart houses in Europe, the USA and Russia is an automated house management system. Often this concept is replaced by the term ACSMS, which is understood as a complex of automation of engineering systems.

The systems include air-conditioning, power supply, heating, ventilation, alarm system and a number of others. In developed countries almost all modern buildings are equipped with ACSMS. Russia also comes to this.

Automation in smart home technology is divided into 3 levels. Each of them has specific functions:

  • Upper level. At this level, the administration of the smart building complex is carried out. At this level, the interaction of people (residents) with the system is carried out with the help of a user-friendly interface.
  • Medium. Here communication between individual components of the control system is carried out. This level includes switching equipment, controllers, switches, control panels, including remote ones.
  • Bottom level. This level includes actuators and sensors that respond to changes in environmental conditions, as well as medium level switching devices.

Recently in Russia there have been standards in place that define the aspects of installation and configuration of a smart building system. In the rest of the world, this area is regulated by a set of standards marked ISO 16484-XX.

Systems entering the smart home

As it is already known, the term under consideration is a complex work of engineering systems at home. Due to its scalability, it is not necessary to connect all the systems available in the house at once. If the budget is modest, or if there is no need to control all aspects of the house, it is possible to start automation with important ones.

Modern smart home systems are able to integrate these aspects of a building into a single whole:

  • Management. Wall remote controls and wall panels allow remote control of electrical appliances, multi-room devices and actuators.
  • Climate control. Automated or automatic regulation of temperature, humidity and other climate parameters. This applies both to individual rooms and to the apartment as a whole.
  • Lighting. Control of lighting levels and automatic adjustment of lighting fixtures. Rational energy consumption. Automated control of shutters and shutters on windows.
  • Power supply. Ensuring uninterrupted supply of electricity to consumers. Connection of reserve in case of necessity, switching to alternative energy, saving energy.
  • Safety. Video surveillance, access control to the apartment or individual rooms, telemetry. A smart house is able to simulate the presence of owners in the house to prevent outside intrusion.
  • Entertainment. Multiroom, which combines multimedia devices in the house and allows you to manage them from any room. There is a function of handsfree communication and remote use of the intercom.

It is noteworthy that in Europe the automation of buildings is mainly aimed at energy saving, and only then at ensuring the comfort of residents. In Russia, the situation is exactly the opposite – the main task is to increase comfort and create an image, and only after that security, alarm system and economy.

Technologies used

Various communication protocols, controllers, control panels and other devices are widely used to control the smart home. Some of them deserve special attention. Here they are:

  • Z-Wave protocol. It is a wireless communication protocol designed specifically for home automation. In practice, the protocol is implemented as a compact radio communication module built into the electronic devices of a smart home. The protocol is optimized for the transmission of simple commands, which results in its speed and minimum delay, as well as resistance to interference.
  • KMX bus. It is a communication bus that is widely used in home automation systems. The electronic devices of the smart home are connected to this bus, after which they are able to exchange data with each other. Data transmission via bus can be carried out using such means as twisted pair, power line, radio channel and Internet connection.
  • Integra control panel. This is a fire alarm panel from the manufacturer SATEL. An indispensable element of a smart home equipped with a fire protection system. Panels of such a plan are used to organize fire alarms in small, medium and large objects.

It is necessary to understand that technology of the clever house does not stand still and constantly develops. Some protocols are becoming outdated and new ones are coming to replace them. That’s why we have to watch for updates to keep up with life.

Composition of an automated house

We’ve already figured out what a smart house is and what you can do with it. It’s equally important to understand the elements that make up this technology – this will help in the selection, installation and further operation of the house.

There are three categories of devices in the design of a modern home automation system:

  • Controllers. These are administrative devices that switch separate elements of the system into a single complex. Also, the controllers provide residents with the ability to control automation.
  • Sensors. These devices read information from the environment and monitor its changes. Sensors send signals to the controller, it processes them and acts according to the scenario of the control system.
  • Actuators. This category includes the actuators that execute the system commands. These are mechanical actuators, switches, fire sirens, valves on pipes and other devices.

Radio communication is most commonly used to send signals from motion sensors and other sensors to the controller.

In home complexes such standards as 869 MHz, 868 MHz and 2.4 GHz are common. In addition to ordinary radio communications, data transmission via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth is also used. The data is transmitted to the security desk or building owner via an internet connection or mobile phone.

Varieties of sensors

Dozens of different sensors can be used in a smart home. They are classified into types according to their purpose. It is not necessary to install each sensor type – you can limit it to one or two, and then add other devices if necessary. Sensors are most commonly used in control systems:

  • Motions. Keep track of the area of operation and monitor the appearance of moving objects. Are applied in systems of the automated control of light, air-conditioning, heating and alarm system.
  • Presence. The principle of work is similar to the motion sensor, however sensitivity is appreciably higher. Because of this, such devices are not used for security, but are often used in lighting control.
  • Temperatures. Essential devices for monitoring the air-conditioning and heating of housing. For more advanced climate control, it is recommended to install temperature and humidity sensors.
  • Sound. Sensors react to the sound of broken glass, thus monitoring unauthorized intruders in the house. They are installed next to the windows for accurate operation.
  • Door openings. These sensors have the same purpose as the sound sensors of breaking glass. When the house is set to alarm, opening the door instantly triggers the alarm.

Optional but recommended sensors for gas leakage, dampness, water pressure and leakage are available. These sensors respond to events such as fire, filling the room with natural gas and other types of gas, and flooding.

The importance of rapid response in such cases cannot be overemphasized. This also applies to fire sensors, which warn of the occurrence of a fire.

Home automation

A smart home can work without actuators, but their presence significantly increases the comfort of residents, and also simplifies some processes. These types of actuators are most commonly used:

  • Mechanical actuators. They are installed on garage doors, doors and window shutters. The doors and windows can then be closed and opened without wasting a second.
  • Fire extinguishers. When a fire is detected, the controller sends commands to the actuators responsible for extinguishing the fire. Extinguishing can be done with water or special powder.
  • Drives on curtains and blinds. This is one aspect of the multi-room system and lighting control system. When the Cinema mode is activated, the smart home automatically closes the curtains and blinds to make them darker.

This is not the entire list of actuators compatible with home automation. New types of actuators are constantly appearing.

The benefits of automation

The technology under consideration would not have gained such popularity and demand in different countries of the world if it did not have a lot of advantages. It is worth noting the advantages and capabilities of home automation systems:

  • Saving of electric energy due to its more rational use day and night.
  • Convenient management of multimedia devices and electrical appliances from anywhere in the house.
  • Obtaining up-to-date data on the state of the home and the people in it at a great distance.
  • Remote control of people’s access to the premises, the call of the response team during an invasion.
  • Ability to prevent fire, flooding, explosion of household gas and other accidents.
  • Automation of irrigation of plants, ventilation, heating of rooms and other home processes.

It is noteworthy that the automated system can be made by your own hands. You can start with a simple controller based on Arduino, a pair of smart sockets and sensors that respond to movement.

Even from this set it is real to produce a complex, which will significantly increase the comfort of the residents, will allow to switch on and off the electrical devices at a distance, will reduce the cost of electricity. Then the network can be expanded.

Today, automation systems are no longer an expensive luxury, but an affordable technology for the general public. If you want to make life easier and more comfortable, think about implementing a home automation system.