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Tips to turn your house into a smart home: Fully automated

Tips to turn your house into a smart home: Fully automated

In India, following the boom in the realty sector, new home buyers are opting to add automated elements to their property. Technology has developed so much so that anyone can afford to automate their houses, customised to individual needs and, more importantly, individual budgets.

Home automation has long been considered the exclusive domain of the unimaginably rich. Urban myths about Bill Gates' automated mansion were circulated less than a decade back. But, now, technology has developed so much so that anyone can afford to automate their houses, customised to individual needs and, more importantly, individual budgets.

The concept of automated homes has evolved from pressing buttons to open doors to securing your house and being able to remotely observe and control this space. As an add-on, automated homes tend to be more energy efficient than conventional homes.

In India, following the boom in the realty sector, new home buyers are opting to add automated elements to their property. While some real estate companies give you such options as add-ons when you buy a new house, more buyers prefer to hire third-party operators who offer comprehensive solutions.

The first item on a home buyer's wishlist is usually security, followed by automated and energy-efficient lighting systems, says CP Singh, founder and chief mentor, Smart Automation, a firm that offers home automation services. "The initial investment will turn into savings in a few years. An energy efficient home can reclaim the amount spent on automation within two to three years from the reduced power consumption alone," Singh explains.

Smartphones and tablets are also helping with this change, allowing home owners to take charge of their houses no matter where they are. So, a smart home is also a connected home.


**Rs 3,50,000 is the cost of basic automation, including lighting and security, for a three-bedroom house. You can slash this cost by choosing only the features that you want.**

PLANNING FOR AUTOMATION?
Sandeep Singh, VP, LifeSpace BU at Schneider Electric India, says planning for automation for a new house should start when the electrical layout is prepared. This would enable a well designed solution meeting the home owner's expectations. While it is possible to automate an old house, the cost of retrofitting will be much higher. Or, you can opt for a wireless home automation solution, such as the Schneider EZInstall3.

WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL

>> LIGHTING: From integrated entertainment hubs to sensorbased LEDs that switch off automatically, the options are many. ABB has presence sensors for Rs 3,500-Rs 7,000, while timers and switching units are cheaper at Rs 2,500. ABB brightness sensors that control lighting according to the ambient light cost about Rs 3,000. Schneider Electric can help you control lighting from a mobile device.

>> SECURITY: A complete CCTV surveillance system will cover a wide area and record in low light. However, a more practical solution would be a video door phone. It can be linked to remote door mechanisms like the Trane electronic main door mortise lock. Both Zicom and Eureka Forbes have such systems for under Rs 20,000 and fingerprint or biometric locks for about Rs 12,000.

>> CLIMATE CONTROL: You can access the air-conditioning system from a mobile device and set it even if you're miles away.

OTHERS: You can open or close curtains with the click of a button, have a remote to open the front gate and sync your home entertainment equipment using a single mobile application or remote. You can also control ovens, freezers and refrigerators.


THE CONTROLLER
The crucial centralised controller receives information from multiple sensors or other devices and generates the orders for the devices. Alternatively, there is the distributed architecture, wherein all intelligence is through sensor and actuators.