Home Automation (Blog 3 of 3)

Making a scene!

In our first post on home automation, we discussed the 3 main areas where automation can impact our lives at home… safety and security, convenience, and through energy savings. The second blog touched on getting started with home automation. Here we are going to examine ‘scenes’.

A smart home provides a wide range of automation possibilities, as diverse as lights to locks, and cameras to pet feeders. The common element is automation, permitting devices to save you time, money and make your life a little easier.

The next step is to link these devices together through a series of commands, in a manner that is relevant for you and your family. During a typical day there are usually a number of activities where you turn devices on and off. In home automation these are sometimes referred to as scenes, and scene setting is one of an automation system’s most appealing features. By linking your home environment to the scene, you can help your home run more efficiently, while establishing a unique personality for your home.

Think of a series of buttons programmed for these examples from around the web…

  • Good Night: Turns off the lights, arms the security system, closes the motorized window shades and sets back the thermostat.
  • Good Morning: Ten minutes before you want to get up, gradually brightens the lights to 40% in the bedroom and bathroom, opens the shades, and readjust the thermostat. When it’s time to get up, turns on the television to the morning news and starts the coffee maker.
  • Welcome Home: Opens the garage door, illuminates the pathway, unlocks the front door, turns on the inside lights you’ve chosen, and plays music.
  •  Vacation: Adjusts lights and audio equipment to make the home appear occupied, adjusts the thermostat to maximize energy savings, arms the security system and has surveillance cameras record to a DVR, sends a text message and pictures to your smart phone if someone rings the doorbell.
  • Party time: Here you could program a variety of party buttons—elegant, casual, Super-bowl Sunday, Christmas, etc. Have the system illuminate the pathway, disarm the security system, play music throughout the house, raise the temperature of the hot tub, adjust the A/V system and lighting, etc.
  • Intruder alert/ emergency: Turns on all lights inside, flashes outside lights to attract attention and initiates the alarm, dials 911.

When professionally programmed, your touch of a button will accomplish in seconds what may take several minutes to handle manually. You’ve probably got a number of great ideas for scenes already. And yet, you’re asking yourself questions like, “Do I really need this?, “Isn’t this frivolous?”, and/ or “Will this really change my life?”. Only you can answer those questions, but consider this to provide context. Did your smartphone change how you communicate, the Internet change your shopping habits, auto GPS systems reduce travel stress, etc.? Eventually, a truly smart home will know who you are, where you are, and what you want. As it becomes integrated into everyday life, it’s less likely to seem frivolous, and more likely to leave us wondering how we ever survived without it!

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