Sunday, February 3, 2013:The interface mimics the room layout, and you click on the appliances to operate them.
When Ms. Ashwini reaches her house in Chattarpur, Delhi, the motorized door of the compound slides open automatically, and the door to the home clicks open just as she is parking.In the summer, her bedroom’s air conditioner switches on when she leaves her office in Gurgaon, but for now only her TV is on, with VH 1 playing just loudly enough to let her parents know she’s headed home.
Ms. Ashwini, a 30-year-old dealer in high-end video equipment, has long been fascinated by house automation technology and has, over the past 5 years, at a cost of just under Rs.1 lakh, set up 3 main automated systems in her house—the doors are controlled with a radio remote control she keeps in the car; the TV is managed with a smartphone app; and the smart lights switch themselves off when a room is empty.
Ms. Ashwini says: “My parents find the TV switching on and off a little annoying, but they really like the lights. The door, I hired a contractor to do. For the lights, I had read about these motion tracker switches, and just bought those & got an electrician to rewire it. The switches cost about Rs.2,000 for each room; it was worth it.”
Of course, not everyone is willing to rewire their house for automation; if you are buying a new home though, there is a good chance that it is going to have at least some of these services built right in.
Mr. Sanjeev Jindal, Director (Marketing and sales), Punjab – headquartered Barnala Realtech, has just completed the construction of a residential complex with 165 flats in Zirakpur, in Mohali. The flats come with a lot of automation built in, and Mr. Sanjeev Jindal says future projects will also incorporate the technology.
He says: “We integrated the technology to bring in something new, and the response has been good. We have automatic lights in every room & remote-controlled curtains, and electronic door locks, along with a TV & DVD player you control with your smart phone. Everything can be controlled with your smart phone, or / with a single touch panel in the home, even the door.”
“There are also motion detectors that can alert you if someone breaks into the home, and aside from sending you a message, the sensor can also trigger an automatic phone call to the police with a recorded message asking for help,” he adds. If you are not looking to buy a new house though, you can hire Smart Automation, a supplier and contractor for remote control and automation services, to build a solution for you.
Mr.C.P. Singh, Founder, Smart Automation says: “We have got a lot of wireless options today, so you do not need to rewire the house to do something like this any more. Depending on what a user wants, we can put together a package and design control schemes. Anything that has a remote control; your A / C, your music system, your TV, doors, all that can be designed to work with our systems.”
According to Mr.C.P. Singh, security is a top priority, followed by automatic lighting.
He says: “Most people want digital locks. With these locks, instead of a key, there is an RFID (radio-frequency identification) tag you carry which unlocks the door. But you can also have biometrics- a thumb scanner to let the maid in when you are not at house. We are trying to set up a system where the doorbell can be used to call your phone, so you can talk to people at your door even when you are not at house, and then let them in if you like.”
With this sort of system, if you forgot your key one day & got locked out of the home, you could just pull up your phone, run the app and let yourself in. Or you could put a bowl of soup in the microwave and have it heated by the time you have reached home.
The entire interface is graphical – you see your room on the smart phone. Tap the fan & you can switch it on, speed it up or / slow it down. Tap the lights and you can change their colour, or / open the front door. And it is not too expensive – Mr.Mr.C.P. Singh says it costs about Rs.3 lakh to automate a 3 bedroom home .
See Your Room on the Phone.!
As wireless technology becomes cheaper, the possibilities of automation will be limited only by our imagination.