Smart homes - Statistics & Facts

Smart homes - Statistics & Facts

Facts and statistics about smart homes

The terms “smart home”, "eHome" or “smart living” refer to a house in which a number of interconnected electronic devices and home appliances are controlled or programmed to perform certain actions, in order to help the inhabitants save money, time, energy and manpower. The system enabling these actions is called “home automation” and has already been in use for decades in its basic form in many modern homes. Some examples include programming a microwave for a specific time and temperature or opening an automated garage door with a remote control.

The present-day home automation systems are, however, much more advanced. They permit the integration of various smart devices and smart appliances and their control through a central panel, sometimes accessible remotely through the internet. This is related to an idea which was first envisioned in 1999, but is now becoming a reality: The Internet of Things - a vast network of smart objects which work together in collecting and analyzing data and autonomously performing certain actions. The technology which permits the communication between different devices is called machine-to-machine communication (M2M). An early example of such technology is the security alarm, which uses sensors to detect movement in the house and the opening or breaking of doors and windows. Unless a specific code is entered into the central system panel, the system might sound an alarm to distract burglars and/or alert the owner, the police or a security company. A smart home can integrate the security alarm into a more complex system, in which other actions are performed, such as blocking exits or providing access to surveillance footage via the internet. Additionally, it could be programmed to turn on lights, the T.V. or radio in order to prevent burglaries, by simulating the appearance of an occupied home. Carbon monoxide or water leaks alarms, as well as fire detection can also be integrated in this system.

Other features of a smart home are designed to provide comfort, not just security. An audio/video system of speakers and screens throughout the house can be controlled through a central unit, such as a smartphone or a tablet PC. The user can program the system to play music or to turn on the T.V. upon entering the house or at specific times of the day. They could also play different genres of music and control the lighting in various parts of the house at the same time, in order to create distinct moods. The heating, ventilation and irrigation systems can also be integrated, as well as pool heating and a number of house appliances, from smart fridges to pet-feeders to smart vacuum cleaners.

The home automated system market has grown significantly in the past years. It extends to all types of buildings, as well as to the automotive industry, creating not only smart homes, but also smart cars and offices, and eventually smart cities. Technology experts predict that, due to the fast expansion of the Internet of Things, the next step in the technological development will be the Internet of Everything.

Picture: / geopaul; / Ambrozjo, sgback

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