Home Automation: A Dream to live in

Author: Sunil Kapadia

Designation: Tech Lead - Innovations

Which is your favorite sci-fi movie? If someone asks me this question, the only name pops up in my brain is Iron Man. The reasons are many, but the most important reason is JARVIS the AI digital assistant of Tony Stark who helped him do almost everything. Sounds cool right, but then it raises another question that whether it is possible in day to day life? To your surprise, the answer is yes. Let us imagine/visualize how a day in the house with the Central Intelligence System (CIS) which connects almost every device in your home.

This CIS has connected to the owner’s phone that as soon as the owner wakes up by an alarm set by the CIS, is given a schedule of the day. The owner asks Alexa (Voice enabled assistant from Amazon) to start the kettle to boil the water up to pre-defined temperature. While reading the newspaper and drinking the tea, Alexa can narrate the entire schedule of the day plus any special reminders. Alexa even can help the owner to add things to his/her shopping list and whenever the user visits any Amazon store, the phone will remind to buy those things.

This is may be normal but the question is, can CIS cook any special dish for the owner? Yes, it can. CIS is integrated into a smart bot which is based on NLP (Natural Language Processing) that can understand the natural language. So, the owner can request the bot to cook a special dish for him and the Robo Chef Moley can cook the same. Wait I know what you are thinking, can it clean also? Voila, it can! And I know the next question will be how can we order it? Well from the company site you can pre-order it

The CIS is also integrated with the car so it can provide the useful information like traffic and weather for the current trip. Now let’s imagine, the owner is outside the home, so now can he talk to the home? Any issue with the security system is reported immediately to the owner plus the live feed from home can also be seen on his phone.

The Smart Home

When the owner is about to leave for the office, he asks Alexa to turn off any electrical appliances and turn on the security system.

When the owner is about to return home, CIS would notify the smart thermostat like Nest and the thermostat keeps the room ready at a predefined temperature. Apart from this as soon as the owner enters the vicinity of his/her home, the beacons in smart garage detect the presence of owner’s phone and send a signal to the garage electrical system which opens the garage door and turns on the lights. The distance sensors in the walls of the garage help the owner to park the car at a safe distance from the wall. As soon as the owner walks towards the main entrance of the house, the phone sends a signal to the smart lock which unlocks the door and the owner can enter his/her house without the hassle of entering the security pin number.

And finally, something simple like controlling the luminosity of lights can also be handled by the CIS.

Can we Afford it?

It was a wonderful journey till now, taking a peep into the future smart home. But let us put our feet on the ground, can a normal person like us afford all these high-tech devices? And the most important question is – are these devices worth the spending money? Just now I have the ability to read your minds, and your minds are telling me that is there any cheaper way to have these kinds of products in our lives. And thanks to IoT it is possible. Let us take a look how that is possible.

Let us take an example of the garage system. In the garage, there is a Raspberry Pi 3 is placed which is attached to the garage door electrical system, motion sensors and distance measuring sensor. So, when the owner reaches near to the garage door, the phone calls an API which activates Raspberry Pi and switches on those relay to power on and to open the gates. As soon as the owner enters the garage, motion sensors which are attached to Pi detect the presence and gather data from the distance sensors via APIs. Then the system on Pi tells the user about the distance via playing a sound. This entire system can be built around 70$. According to Gartner’s Report, around 2020 the number of connected devices will be around 4.4 billion units. According to one more research by that time every single person will have at least 8 connected devices like mentioned above.

Microsoft is also not far in this technology. They have already introduced windows 10 IoT core operating system for Pi. Plus they have introduced a DIY (Do it yourself) kit which enables or rather empowers users like us to build something so cool. And in the last build 2017, they have introduced “Invoke” which is a digital assistant same like Amazon Echo and powered by Cortana. This means that you can even make skype calls by using the same device built by Harmon Kardon. Apart from this according to the Verge, Microsoft is planning to introduce SmartHub in next windows 10 update which will support devices from Philips Hue, Nest, SmartThings, Insteon, and Wink.

This means pretty soon we will feel powerful like Tony Stark and will operate mini JARVIS which will make the homes smarter, safer and most importantly fun to live in as there are many one time paid assistants around you which can make the user feel like a King. I think all these smart appliances together with a central controlling system make us feel like King of the Hill but with a touch of reality.

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