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Smart Home

Smart Home

Mighty IT has a range of Smart Home products that can help save money and automate elements of daily life. We are all excited about this technology, and what it can achieve, and therefore want to share this with you so that you can also benefit, and sell these products and a service to your customers. However, in order to appreciate the benefits of smart home products, it is important to understand the concept of a smart home eco-system.

You may have heard terms such as “Home Automation”, “Connected Home”, and “Smart Home”, but don’t really understand what they refer to. Perhaps you have seen some of these devices in action but fail to see the benefit. Even if you know what Smart Home products are, please read on as the following may enlighten you further, and explain what they can really do for you.

So what is a Smart Home?

If you Google search “what is Smart Home” you will find statements such as: “…a home equipped with lighting, heating, and electronic devices that can be controlled by smartphone or computer“.

Technically this statement is correct, however, it is only part of the answer. Smart Home can be much more than that. We believe that a Smart Home has the ability to manage itself, based on predetermined rules, set by YOU, to model how YOU want it to work. Yes, devices can still be controlled with a smartphone or computer, but this is more “convenient” than “smart”.

Smart Home products usually consist of a special controller device (a gateway), and a range of accessories that wirelessly connect to, and are controlled by, the gateway device. These accessories typically replace existing manual devices, from simple things such as light switches, plug sockets, or radiator thermostats, through to door locks, moisture detectors, and even automated curtains, which open and close themselves. All of these products can operate independently but the “smart” element is having these products to interact and work together.

What can Smart Home technology do for me?

The short answer is, “help to save money”, “improve safety & security”, and “make life easier”. For example, no doubt you will have a heating system at home that switches on and off on a timer at prescribed times. You will also inevitably have many radiators connected to your heating system, all of which heat their individual rooms. Now consider that 40% of the rooms that are heated, either don’t get used, or don’t get used until later in the evening. What if you could only heat the rooms you needed to heat, when you needed them to be warm. That would save you money!

Alternatively, let’s say that you installed a smart carbon monoxide sensor. If it was to detect a build-up of carbon monoxide in your house then not only could it sound an alarm, but it could also flash all of the smart house lights red, as a visual indicator!

The location services on your mobile phone can also be utilised with Smart Home equipment. For example, you could set a rule to switch off the wife’s hair straighteners when you leave the house (useful guys!?), or automatically set the kettle to boil when you are on your way home from work. These can all happen based on the location of your phone.

Does everything work with everything?

Different vendors adopt different wireless protocols for use in their Smart Home products, with names such as “Z-Wave”, “Zigbee”, “RF”, “Wi-Fi”, and “Bluetooth”. Typically, a controller that only supports one of these protocols will not be capable of controlling devices that use a different protocol.

However, all is not lost. There is a website (and an App) that enables “things” to communicate with other “things”, called “If This Then That“, or “IFTTT” for short.

The basic premise of “IFTTT” is that actions can be set up to trigger under certain conditions. These configurations are called “recipes” and are platform-agnostic. These recipes can therefore enable otherwise incompatible products to communicate, and therefore control, other products. For example, you could adjust the temperature of your radiator thermostats using voice commands via the “Amazon Echo” or “Google Home” products with the aid of “IFTTT”.  Imagine speaking to your house… “turn bedroom radiator up to 24 degrees”. “IFTTT” allows this to happen.

 

 

Summary

A Smart Home can help to save money, make life easier, and can improve security. Also, with the aid of “IFTTT”, numerous smart home products can communicate, even if they appear incompatible. The possibilities are endless, you just have to apply the right combination of products to the situation. This could be a great opportunity for you to get into this market, and offer additional services to your customers, such as installation and configuration. Your customers need to be sold on the idea, so understanding the capabilities and possibilities of Smart Home products yourself is crucial in order to engage your customer.

More Information

The trick to making Smart products and services irresistible is in clever ways to use them. Ways that do things cuter, smarter, and plain better than you do them now. But that’s easier said than done – not that it’s difficult, it’s just a matter of knowledge and know-how. Why not read our ShopTalk series “Smart Home, Office and Workplace” which will unfold in a series of 8 steps. Each step will cover a key way to apply Smart, and it’ll bring it to life with a useful way to apply it in your business. So in learning about Smart, you get the benefit first.