Smart homes: What smart home systems and home automation make possible

Living in a smart home. Better security, efficiency, and comfort.

More security, more energy efficiency and more comfort – modern home automation promises all this. Smart home systems can be conveniently controlled while you're on the move. But when does a home count as smart and what can the smart home really do?

Smart throughout the day with a smart home

Imagine lying in bed in the morning. Your alarm clock goes off at 7:00 a.m. The blinds open, the light gently turns on and the aroma of coffee wafts into your room. You go to your bathroom, your favorite music can be heard automatically through the loudspeakers, and the water flows at a pleasant temperature from the faucet. Your coffee is also ready to drink, beckoning you with a frothy milky top. Just the way you like it. As soon as you go out the front door, the vacuum cleaner robot springs into life. On your way home you get a message from your fridge: You're out of milk. By the time you get home, the lawn has been mowed and the floor wiped clean by the mopping robot. Sounds like a distant fantasy? Well, smart homes are already making all this possible, and more.

How the smart home system works

The smart home works on the basis of networked and remote-controlled installations. The control center is the heart of the system. Depending on the provider, different alternatives are possible:

  • Networking in an open system takes place via one or more wireless networks such as WLAN or Bluetooth. The products can thus be selected independently of the manufacturer. But open systems are at greater risk of third parties gaining access to the data.
  • Closed systems use a manufacturer-specific wireless protocol. They can only connect components from the same manufacturer.Compared to WLAN, which consumes a lot of power, and Bluetooth, whose range is limited, wireless systems offer more reliable performance. Thanks to its encrypted communication, the risk of unauthorized access to the data can be reduced.
  • In the case of control centers that run via "bus systems," permanently installed lines transport the data. These therefore offer more protection and consume less energy.

We are ensuring every house we plan is prepared for the future applications of a smart home.

Corrado Palermo, Managing Director and Owner of Unica Architektur AG

The 11 most important functions: What the smart home can already do today

Building automation offers applications in the areas of security, energy efficiency, and comfort. An overview of the most important building automation features.

Surveillance cameras

Surveillance cameras send live pictures or HD-quality recordings via an app on the preferred device. Some smart cameras recognize saved faces and notify their arrival via push notifications.

Attendance simulators

Intelligent smart home systems can record which functions (e.g. light or music) have been used and play them back in replay mode to simulate the presence of the occupant.

Motion detectors

Motion and contact sensors report (attempted) break-ins.

Intelligent water sensors

Intelligent sensors warn of water damage.

Smoke detectors

Smoke detectors send an alert when smoke appears and so help prevent fires.

Door controls

Only registered people have access to the house or apartment via a fingerprint or iris scan.

Smart heating

Radiator thermostats can be controlled via a smartphone – even when you're on the move. Some heating systems even regulate the heat in the room or home themselves.

Data intelligence

The smart home app registers energy consumption and regularly notifies the owner about ways they can optimize consumption.

Lighting controls

Lighting and sun protection regulate themselves according to the amount of daylight, weather conditions or position of the sun, thus saving energy.

Smart devices

Washing machines, and robot vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers can take care of your tasks by remote control and without needing supervision.

Sound systems

Via WLAN, you can individually control and program your own music collection in every single room of your house.



The development of home automation

The smart home has experienced a boom in recent years. The digital home is increasingly establishing itself as the standard, especially in the area of security. Control via voice commands or hand signals is also becoming ever more important. Voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa can be linked via the internet to the smart home's systems and installations.

In the US, the trend is going even further: Not only is your coffee automatically brewed at 7:00 a.m. sharp, but in the future your fridge will order in fresh supplies of milk all by itself. That's because the intelligent home thinks ahead: As soon as a storm alert is given, the windows will be closed and the blinds lowered, fully automatically, so you don't need not to worry about a thing.

Are you planning to renovate or build a house?

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