Many years ago we started to hear the term ‘home automation’ giving us a futuristic vision of home. However, technology has advanced very quickly and what once seemed pure invention today is a tangible reality.
Facing a home automation project requires an initial investment -this is undeniable-, but the benefits it brings in terms of comfort, safety and efficiency does not take long to justify the cost.
Living in a smart home is living in a space perfectly adapted to our needs and, in most cases, in an automatic way, without us having to move a finger.
Spain is at the forefront, as evidenced by the fact that the only Institute of Home Automation and Energy Efficiency in Europe is located at the University of Malaga (UMA), having already 16 patents. This institute has the endorsement of the KNX organization, the world standard in technologies for control of homes and buildings, having chosen this laboratory as a certified training center.
If we look at the market, what are the latest advances in home automation twe can find?
• Security cameras. These devices have developed a lot since the first video cameras were installed. Is not only possible to control them and visualize what they film remotely, but they also have memory functionalities, allowing us to register our habits in order to determine if the movements detectrd are adjusted or not to our routines.
• Electronic locks. Some time now, just connecting the bluetooth of our mobile devices we can open or close both doors and windows. In addition, with smart locks we can check how many times you enter and exit, without using keys (with your mobile phone, access codes or fingerprint). In addition, the system will alert us if any of the accesses has been poorly closed.
• Smart thermostats. The air-con devices, whether heating or cooling, are increasingly using this type of thermostats; it is even possible to adapt them to our old appliances, reporting savings up to 30% on the yearly bill. Adding the gadgets that, from about 35 euros, are installed in the sockets of the boilers which allows, instead of heating the water 24 hours a day, forecasting to the moments when we are going to make use it.
• Ambient light bulbs. There are already models of bulbs in the market that have revolutionized the world of home automation. These are light bulbs that, once the light of a sunrise or sunset is analyzed from a photograph, are capable of reproducing it. Needless to say, these can devices switch on only when detecting movement and allows intensity regulation.
• Trash and shopping basket. We have heard about smart refrigerators that were able to alert when, for example, the milk was running out. Now, also, it is possible to do it with the garbage bin that, once connected to the Wi-Fi, scans the barcodes of the products we discard to make the shopping list.
• Voice assistant. If we have already become used to voice assistant in our mobile phones, why not having them in our home? Is as easy as installing a mobile app and, once the devices are adapted, be able to order the reproduction of music with our voice, raise or lower blinds or turn the lights on and off.
• Sweet dreams. Especially recommended for those having difficulties falling asleep, blankets with surround sound have already been commercialized. These blankets analyzes the acoustics of our bedroom, including the noise that sneaks from the outside, to turn them in the sounds our brain detects as pleasant, contributing to its sedative effect.
• Mirror, mirror. One of the most revolutionary advances. These smart mirrors are now at the cutting edge of home automation because, in addition on contributing to the decoration with increasingly attractive designs, they provide additional information to our simple reflection.
They become personal assistants on their tactile surface we can check our e-mail, offers us the weather forecast to know what to wear or, even, monitor our heart rate and other health aspects if we do exercise in front of it. Also, the most modern models can redirect sunlight, so when projected to the interior, offers the enjoyment of natural light for much longer.