Overview on IoT Based Home Automation | Future of IoT
Agility, Scalability & Flexibility are the core building blocks of this ever-progressing world of the Internet of Things. IoT based home automation is something that is believed to be inevitable in this day and age.
Varying reasons such as improved lifestyle, advanced security measures or efficient energy usage, etc., are paving the way for adopting IoT-based home automation.
At the same time, understanding & awareness about the complex networking infrastructures is indeed essential for the optimized utilization of technology in your smart homes. So let us briefly understand ‘What exactly is an IoT system?’.
An IoT system is generally classified into four main layers. The software, hardware and integrated networks of an IoT ecosystem lie within these four layers.
1. Physical Layer
This layer forms the basis of an IoT system. It is composed of several sensors, actuators and other relevant devices carefully assembled. It collects the information in the form of physical data.
2. Cloud Layer
This layer comprises computing, processing and database infrastructures. In this layer, data obtained from the physical layer is stored and processed. Predevised algorithms assess the data during this stage, and decision making is ultimately made in this layer. The Cloud layer is very effective in the clinical handling of a large volume of data, which could have potentially caused problems if managed from other resources.
3. Communication Layer
As the name suggests, this layer serves the purpose of connectivity between different layers of an IoT system. The communication layer ensures accurate data transference between different layers. Widely used communication technologies are:
Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi utilizes radio waves for establishing a network that ultimately propagates data between various computing devices. Some significant benefits of Wi-Fi are its bandwidth speed and high range of data transmission.
ZigBee: Unlike Wi-Fi, it is a personal area network. ZigBee is widely renowned in IoT based home automation. Significant gains associated with ZigBee are low power consumption, minimal expenditures, reliability and easiness.
Ethernet: It is a local area network that uses a wired system. The data transfer speed depends upon the type of wire cable being used. Ethernet is a comparatively cheap communication method, but the associated disadvantage is that it isn’t viable for more considerable distances.
4. Service Layer
When it comes to your everyday home electrical appliances, IoT-based Home Automation puts the power to operate them right at your fingertips so you can save energy and money while still getting the most out of them.
For the last several years, there has been talking of a new form of household technology. Robot vacuum cleaners and internet-connected kitchen equipment would revolutionize our lives if they were made available to us.
According to a survey by the futurist consultancy company, the future of IoT is in home automation. This survey found that 58% of participants said they were interested in an innovative home system that could manage all of their devices from a single platform.
The idea behind home automation is that you can control all of your devices from a single app or interface.
In this article, we will explore IoT-based home automation and how it is the future of IoT.
What is Home Automation Using IoT?
IoT is proving to be revolutionary in shaping up the future of a modern-day home by depleting human to human or human to computer contact. Decreased manual work & Increased automation is the core objective behind the utilization of the Internet of things in smart homes.
Increased control over a wide range of home appliances through a centralized network, minimizing direct contact. The mutual connectivity lies through an embedded channel of three significant parts 1)Software. 2)Hardware. 3) Communication Protocols.
A carefully selected hardware that efficiently performs the iterative processes involved is necessary for the smooth functioning of the system. Connectivity between different network parts is also vital in ensuring that we don’t incur time lags and the other associated technical lackings.
Home automation using IoT is the process of controlling, monitoring, and regulating devices in your home from a remote location.
In the past, electricians and IT professionals would need to install several different interfaces to make your home’s electrical appliances smart.
This meant running cables in walls and under carpets to connect them. Fortunately, you’ll need an internet connection with IoT-based home automation!
Components of an IoT Based Automated Home:
A practical IoT Based Home Automation model is dependent upon integrating the following fundamental components.
Sensors contribute a pivotal role in automated homes. Their primary function is to detect the external effects, convert them into an electric signal that devices can recognize. In simple terms, sensors are used for the collection and transference of data. A comprehensive range of sensors is utilized for computing various physical parameters. Some standard sensors include Humidity sensors, Gyro sensors, Imaging sensors, Thermistors etc.
IoT Gateways serve the purpose of connecting various devices within the Internet of Things system. They also provide the connectivity pathway between these devices and the cloud. IoT Gateways also help out by refining the data, filtering out any noise and at the same time, keeping a close check on potential security threats.
Firmware of IoT devices
Firmware ensures the smooth functioning of hardware within the IoT infrastructure. It is a code that is subdivided into various components, which primarily include:
Bootloader: Its objective is to initialize certain functions within the hardware by providing essential resources.
Kernel: It connects the hardware of an IoT infrastructure with the Software side.
File system: This provides storage facilities within the system. Some of the widely used file systems in IoT devices include squashfs, JFFS2, ext2 etc.
Here is a quick explanation of how home automation works:
- You select the device you want to control.
- The device starts listening for a voice command from you.
- Once it detects your voice command, it sends a signal directly or through a bridge device to your central hub or app.
- The central hub or app receives the signal.
- It then sends a signal to your device instructing it to carry out your request.
- Your device carries out the instruction and completes the task.
We have talked about how home automation works and the different options available. Now, let us look at how you can set it up for your home.
A central hub is the most common and most accessible type of home automation to set up. If you prefer not to have a separate app for each device, this is your best choice.
The first step in setting up a central hub is to select which central hub you want. However, some popular choices include:
- The Google Home Hub
- The Amazon Echo
- The Wink Hub 2
Once you have selected your central hub, the next step is to connect all of your devices to it. This can be done by clicking them directly to the hub or using a bridge device that links the hub to your devices.
If you don’t want to use a central hub, you can also set up home automation using individual apps for each device.
The first step is to install a separate app for each device you would like to control. Here are a few examples of devices that can be controlled using an app:
- The Amazon Echo Dot through the Amazon Alexa App
- The WeMo Switch through the Belkin WeMo App
Once you have installed these apps, connect them to your home network. The final step is to configure all of the devices to work together. You can make it happen either through a web interface or by using an app.
The best type of home automation depends on your needs and budget. If you are searching for a simple, cost-effective, and customizable option, individual apps might be the best choice.
If you prefer a more user-friendly yet expensive option, then a central hub could be the right choice.
There are many different advantages of IoT based home automation, including:
Ease of use
Home automation makes your life easier by allowing you to control your devices from anywhere.
You do not have to panic about switching on lights or appliances before leaving the house.
You can set up security systems that send alerts if they detect an intruder.
You can save energy by turning off devices when not in use.
When it comes to home automation, there are three different levels:
Basic level is the most basic level and includes devices that can be controlled using individual apps or a central hub, the Intermediate Level have devices that can be controlled using voice commands while the Advanced Level includes controlled devices using machine learning or artificial intelligence.
The IoT level that home automation uses will depend on your needs and preferences. If you are starting, then we recommend using the primary level. However, if you would like to have more advanced features, you can upgrade to the intermediate or advanced level.
Applications of IoT Based Home Automation
Following are a few of the most anticipated applications of IoT in modern homes, catching the eye of one and all by making Normal day-to-day life advanced, easy, and prosperous.
Bright lights through IoT are an incredible experience of home automation. These lights turn on or off automatically in the presence or absence, respectively. In future, their brightness might adjust as per the required needs. For instance, brightness may increase when you are studying or diminish while watching a movie.
These doors will automate through connected face detection applications. So open when the residents approach them. The added feature will be the automatic turning on and off of the lights within the home after doors open or close.
The future withholds several surprises in the application of IoT to control various home appliances. For example, a microwave oven provides a predefined heat range for a particular food—detecting problems in different instruments or parts of vehicles.
Management of Routine Activities
In the future, IoT apps are supposed to help you out by reminding you of daily life activities from time to time. They may assist you in keeping a close check on top-notch performance and may reprimand you in case of specific errors you might have committed while performing a particular task.
Another application of IoT might be auto controls on windows. For instance, As per the defined set of instructions, they will get close during rains or nights and open during sunshine or while the pleasant wind whistles through.
Future technology will most likely get rid of the manual handling of thermostats. IoT will regulate them as per the required circumstances. Maintaining an appropriate room temperature or alternating it as per the performed activity(i.e., Exercise etc.)
Internet of Things withholds a solution for your garden as well. Sensors will be powerful enough to look after its maintenance, cutting out the grass above a prescribed range and regulating important factors like fertility, dryness, chlorophyll levels etc.
IoT and intelligent home automation are changing our lives by making it easier and more convenient to control our devices. They are also making us more energy efficient.
According to many of the world’s leading technology companies, this is just the beginning, and we can expect to see even more significant advancements in the coming years.
Here are a few examples of how IoT and intelligent home automation will change the way we live:
1) Home Security
IoT is believed to make your home more secure than ever before by taking several effective measures. Some significant steps, such as A Mobile notification in case of any breach, feature monitoring your mobile through connected surveillance cameras. Increased intensity of lights in case of any suspicious individual entering the house. Automatic lock if the owner forgets to do so. All this provides strong assurance in making your home secure and prosperous in the near future. You can set up security systems that are controlled using IoT-based home automation. So, this will allow you to keep an eye on your home at all times and send alerts if there is any activity.
2) Health and Fitness
You can use IoT-based home automation to track your health and fitness data. This will enable you to keep track of your progress and set goals.
3) Food and Drink
The Internet of Things allows us to access information on our food and drink. This means that we can determine how long it takes to make a dish, what goes in it, and where the ingredients come from.
4) Home Appliances
People are now using IoT devices to control their home appliances. You can switch on lights, close the garage door or lock up the house without needing to go anywhere near it.
IoT is still in its early stages; however, there is expected to be massive growth in this market in the coming years. Analysts predict that the IoT market will grow from $157.05 billion in 2021 to $661.74 billion by 2025. However, this is tremendous growth, and it is clear that IoT and intelligent home automation are here to stay.
At the moment, It is essential to realize all the technical complexities, limitations and cyber security vulnerabilities in the adoption of IoT based home automation. Several challenges are indeed hampering the progress in establishing all these applications practically possible. But in these ever-advancing times of technology, progress is equally rampant, and the future is promising.
Never has there been a better time to get into home automation! There is something for everyone with so many different devices and levels to choose from. Whether you are just starting or looking for advanced features, you have an IoT level.
Let’s start using home automation today to make your life easier and more convenient.