Friday, June 14, 2024

Be(a)ware of the Smart Home

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A home that runs like clockwork

A smart home could satiate unfulfilled dreams—kids who switch off the fans when they leave the room, a husband who helps around the kitchen or a wife who wakes you up with a hot cup of coffee!

A smart home can pamper you and see to your every comfort. Your water heater will turn on when you enter the home, the coffee maker will start brewing when you park your car, the air-conditioner will turn up the temperature when you pull up your blanket tighter. It is just what you need to live a comfortable life, 24×7.

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One look at the current generation of consumer electronics and smart home platforms is enough to prove this point.

Nest protect and thermostat lifestyle
Nest protect and thermostat lifestyle

Whether it is a washing machine to which you can send your instructions (LG), a learning thermostat (Nest), intelligent remote-controlled lights that can wake you up with gradual lighting (Philips), a super-smart mobile-controlled security system (Piper), easy to setup motion sensors and baby monitors (WeMo) which help watch your home or a TV that switches itself off when you fall asleep (Sony), today’s chip-equipped gadgets ensure that your home runs like clockwork.

There are some brilliant examples in this space, and one such device that is expected to create waves is Rotimatic.

Dubbed as a one-touch solution for fresh chapatis, Rotimatic is a device developed recently by an Indian couple for making chapatis, apparently inspired by the long hours Indian wives spend in the kitchen.

You can customise everything from the number of chapatis and the amount of oil in each chapati, to their thickness and crispness. Each chapati takes around a minute to prepare and slides out temptingly from the cute machine! Launched in Singapore, Rotimatic is expected to be sold in the Indian market too, perhaps sometime this year.

The Internet-connected crock-pot launched by Belkin at CES 2014 is another example to show how automation is invading the kitchen. The WeMo-compatible slow-cooker can be programmed and controlled remotely too. So, you can load it with all that needs to be cooked for dinner and switch it on just before you leave office.

The watchdog that never sleeps
“With the increase in nuclear families and urban living with double-income households, there is a growing need for intelligent surveillance of residential properties. Home owners are looking for solutions that can help them clearly identify intruders, monitor their homes while they are on the go,” says Sudhindra Holla, country manager, Axis Communications, India, which offers several advanced security products and solutions.

The Internet-connected crock-pot (WeMo-compatible slow-cooker) launched by Belkin
The Internet-connected crock-pot
(WeMo-compatible slow-cooker)
launched by Belkin

Indeed, security appears to be the biggest motivation for implementing smart home solutions in India. Builders and real-estate developers are installing holistic surveillance systems that help to monitor large residential campuses.

Traditional measures such as locks and extra doors have been replaced by high-end burglar alarm systems and security products with integrated remote monitoring software. Security guards are ably supported by intelligent CCTV surveillance systems.

There is a growing demand for cameras with smarter analytics, especially vandal-proof cameras and video motion detectors. “The latest tech trends unfolding on home security are razor-sharp detail on video, motion detection and tamper-proof cameras. In India, we see a higher adoption of thermal cameras, cameras with high definition (HD) motion sensors and facial recognition software,” says Holla. A thermal network camera uses thermal imaging, allowing users to detect people, objects and incidents in complete darkness and difficult conditions such as smoke, haze, dust and light fog.


Likewise, smartphones and video-capable networking have also given home security a boost. Real-time access to recorded visuals is a reality today, and there are several affordable smartphone apps that make good use of this. “Home automation technology has become an integral part of nearly every new alarm panel that hits the market these days. This will enable mobile users to monitor their home from any corner of the world 24×7,” says Holla.


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