Thanks to home automation, your home will not only be more comfortable and safer, you will also save on electricity and heating costs. In addition, with a home automation system, you can conveniently monitor and control your heating system, lighting and security with your tablet or smartphone over the Internet. Find out now how smart your home can become thanks to home automation!

What is home automation?

Home automation is the networking of home technology and its control via a central control point. Buildings equipped with a home automation system are referred to as smart homes or simply as intelligent houses. The aim of such solutions is to automate everyday functional processes and to make the operation and monitoring of individual devices more convenient for residents. But that’s not all! Home automation can also save energy and increase security.

More comfort through home automation

Before you can enjoy the convenience of your Smart Home, the first step is to install and configure all the components. You need to program your system’s software with the parameters necessary to automatically control your home operations in the future: When should which radiator thermostat in which room be opened, when should the washing machine be started or when should the alarm system be activated?

Once you have programmed the software, the roller shutters in the bedroom are automatically opened at the time you set, motivating music is played, the coffee machine is switched on and the room temperature in the bathroom is increased. Such a sequence of individual actions is known as a “scenario”.

Home automation saves energy costs

Heating control, controlled living space ventilation, sun protection and lighting: If you control and monitor these systems centrally via your home automation, you can reduce your energy costs smartly by up to 30 percent. At night, for example, the heating in a Smart Home is controlled down to a low flame, thus helping to save valuable heating energy. And once the last member of the family has left home, the home automation system turns off the lights, switches off the sound system and closes all windows. There are plenty of other possible applications in your Smart Home: Motorised roller shutters, blinds and awnings are systems that can be integrated, as is air conditioning.

When a window opens, the thermostat on the radiator is turned off as if by magic. It also makes sense to integrate household appliances such as washing machines and dryers or entertainment electronics, which are automatically deactivated when no one is using them. A detailed visualization helps to analyze individual consumer behavior. Energy consumption can even be determined on the basis of a monthly budget.

Home automation brings security

For most victims of home burglaries, the loss of a sense of personal security outweighs the material damage. This does not have to happen in the first place: Home automation products are an adequate and simple solution to deter thieves! For example by the automatic opening and closing of the shutters at fixed times of the day. Thus the presence of the inhabitants can be simulated outwardly, although these are far from at home in the well-deserved annual vacation.

The security concept of a smart home can also integrate lighting, which is automatically activated in the evening and follows a lighting scenario. Alarm systems, motion detectors, access control systems and smoke detectors can also be networked. Automatic alarm forwarding to a private security service is also possible.

Intelligent control of all devices via the Internet

Quickly open the external blinds on the way when a storm is on the horizon? No problem! Remote control via the Internet is a central service of home automation. The prerequisite is an Internet connection in the house, to which all devices are linked via a gateway, a central connection device (router).

Many manufacturers provide software for visualisation and control. Browser applications, on the other hand, are device-independent. They run on tablet PCs, but also on the PC in the Internet café. Because the browser always has to be loaded first, an app is faster. Apps are available for all common smartphones. These solutions turn your mobile phone into a remote control for your home.

Home automation with radio or cable?

If you want to treat yourself and your home to intelligent control, you can choose between a cabling-based or a radio-based bus system – a system for data transmission. In a new building, the installation of flush-mounted cables is not a problem; retrofitting an existing building is already more tricky and time-consuming. Here you can switch to a radio system, via which the sensors (command transmitters) and actuators (receivers) communicate wirelessly with each other.

The KNX installation bus is the most widely used and only internationally recognised communication standard for house system technology in Germany. No matter whether cable or WLAN, the information of all devices integrated into the home automation system converges in a central control unit.

Sensors distributed throughout the building transmit their values to the control software, which processes them, converts them into commands and sends them back to the actuators. The actuators then trigger the corresponding control commands in a Smart Home, such as closing all windows.

Leona J. Conway