Also called domotics
What is home automation?
Definition of home Automation: the use of methods for controlling processes automatically, ESP. by electronically controlled systems at the place where one lives... Compiled from Collins Dictionary
Definition of Domotics: (DOMus infOrmaTICS) Information technology in the home (domus is Latin for home)… Tech encyclopedia
Although remote lighting and appliance control have been used for many years like the age old X-10 modules, domotics is another term for the age of digital homes, including the networks and devices that add comfort and convenience as well as security.
Controlling the heating, air conditioning, food preparation, TVs, stereos, lights, appliances, entrance gates and security systems will all fall under this domotics umbrella.
With an automated home there are basically three groups of activities that happen automatically. (Also see our questions and answers lower down)
1 Comfort of Home Automation
Definition: 1 A state of comfort or well-being, 2 a person, thing or event that bring solace or ease, 3 something that affords physical ease and relaxation, to bring physical ease… Collins dictionary
The climate control also called climotics, (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning - HVAC) of your house can happen via telephone, internet or a sensor check on temperatures and save energy when you are away from home
Activate pre-defined lighting scenes and operate curtain closers with the touch of a button or at a pre-defined event like sunset or a set time like 16:30
Various tenuous and recurring tasks can be automated
2 Convenience of Home Automation
Definition: 1 the quality of being suitable or opportune, 2 convenient time or situation, 3 usefulness, comfort, or facility. 4 labor-saving device
Lighting control by various methods: Motion detectors from the Alarm System, day/night sensors, alarm activation or opening of doors, gates, etc.
What do we really mean or talk about?
Here are some home Automation applications.
· When it is dark outside and you walk into your bedroom, the lights will switch on automatically in the room. The passage lights will switch on with the first movement into the passage after “dark” and will dim to 50% after 9 at night and dim to 15% after 11 at night, leaving just enough luminance to commute.
· Lighting moods for various occasions like romantic dinner, disco type of entertainment when having a party, reading or just watching TV
· The Home Theater is part of the total package. You can control the mood for specific sound or video applications. 80’ Party music like “The Klaxons” version of “Enamorado Voy” with vibrant flashing colorful lighting or on the other hand Liszt’s “Love Dream No 3” with passionate soft light creating a romantic atmosphere for a special “closeness” event!
The home automation control system automatically take care of almost all daily scheduled routine events, such as running the pool pump with different time tables to suit the seasonal and temperature changes. The irrigation system is controlled to cope with the seasonal conditions of the garden. Switch the geyser on and of to save electricity and regulating temperature for summer and winter conditions.
You can control all this remotely by internet. Some equipment and appliance activities can be remotely activated or de-activated by a simple SMS or phone call – “switch on driveway flood lights”
3 Security (secure) from Home Automation
Definition: 1 The means to provide freedom from danger, damage, and fear. 2 The precautions taken against theft, espionage, etc. 3 something given to or pledge to secure the fulfillment of a promise or obligation, 4 safe from attack, 5 free from care… Collins Dictionary
· All internal and external Intrusion, Fire and Smoke detection controlled to provide keyless entry-exit and alarm notification. Alarman program Alarm panels for some years already to notify Dad when kids disarm the alarm after arriving home from school!! This allow Dad to monitor their safety
· A home automation system can notify you by telephone, SMS and internet of any situation that your home automation system has been programmed to monitor. This now integrate various security components like the Gates, Internal and External Early Warning Burglar Alarm System, Smoke detector in the Lapa, home CCTV cameras and other monitored valuable equipment like the Big 70” (178cm) Full HD LCD TV with complimenting equipment in the recreational area!
Installation of Home Automation
Definition: 1 to place equipment in position and connect and adjust for use. 2 a large device, system, or piece of equipment that has been installed … Collins Dictionary
With a legacy of excellence in the security installation market, Alarman can now bring you our experience of perfect installations to the Domotics market. We took time to investigate and study the subject. This is a long standing desire and dream that we now fulfill. Many people asked us what we will do with Alarman if crime vanishes. Our comment since 1992 was – Home Automation. Back in those days’ people in South Africa did not even know what the term meant as it was just starting to “catch-on” in America. We studied the functions of up market Alarm Systems on the Global market and realized that X-10 modules just became available for home automation as an add-on to the alarm system, in America!
(The Paradox Alarm system we install does have an Automation Board that can be integrated with the Clipsal C-BUS Home Automation package. We prefer on this stage to keep the two entities separate.)
Our next step was to select products that compliment our urge for excellence! We made it!
Both Click-On and iTRONIC are reputable, reliable and cost effective products with excellent after sale service!
Summery to Home Automation
We can help you control:
· CCTV Cameras
· Garage doors
· Gates – sliding & swing
Brief technical commentary on Home automation
Home automation (also called domotics) is a field within building automation, specializing in the specific automation requirements of private homes and in the application of automation techniques for the comfort and security of YOU its resident. Although many techniques used in Office and Industrial building automation (such as automated light and climate control, control of doors, gates and window shutters, security systems, CCTV and other surveillance systems, etc.) are also used in home convenience and automation, additional functions in home automation can include the control of multi-media home entertainment systems, automatic plant and garden watering and pet feeding, automatic light scenes for light home dinners and parties, and a more user-friendly control interface.
When home automation is installed during the building of a new home, usually conduit for additional wires is added before the interior walls are plastered and painted. These control wires run to a central controller next to the mains power distribution board (DB), which will then control the environment via contactors and relays from instructions received from the controller via a keypad or bigger user friendly touch screen LCD display.
Standards and bridges for Home Automation
No specific domotic standards are available in South Africa at this stage. The general SANS Wiring Standards apply: C-Bus and ZigBee are the most popular that will allow for control of most applications. Some standards use communication and control wiring like the C-Bus system, some use embed signals in the power line like the X-10 systems, some use stable (868MHz) radio frequency (RF) signals like ZigBee, and some use a combination of several methods. Control wiring is hardest to retrofit into an existing house. Some appliances include USB that is used to control it and connect it to a domotics network. “Conversion Bridges” translate information from one standard to another, but this is not always available (e.g. from C-BUS to ZigBee).
Effects of Home Automation
In extreme installations, rooms can sense not only the presence of a person compared to a pet but know who that person is and perhaps set appropriate lighting, temperature and music/TV preferences, taking into account the day of week, time of day, and a few other factors.
Other automated tasks may include setting the air conditioning to an energy saving setting when the house is unoccupied (armed), and restoring the normal setting when an occupant returns and switch off the alarm in his/her partition. (More sophisticated systems can maintain full inventory of consumable household products, recording their usage through an RFID tag, and prepare a scheduled shopping list)
Some practical implementations of home automation are for example when an alarm system detects a fire or smoke condition in the house, then all lights in the house will blink at full power to alert occupants. Some access doors may be unlocked to speed up evacuation and prevent pandemonium.
If the house is equipped with a home theater, a home automation system can shut down all audio and video components to alert the user to a possible fire or a burglar.
The primary elements of a domotics or home automation system are:
Architecture and design of Home Automation
From the point of view of where the intelligence of the home automation system resides, there are three different possibilities:
Centralized Architecture: a centralized controller receives information of multiple sensors and, once processed, generates the appropriate opportune orders for the actuators and sub controllers.
Distributed Architecture: all the intelligence of the system is distributed to all the modules that are sensors or actuators, connected to the network. Usually it is typical of the systems of wiring in bus, like C-bus using special data cables for communication
Mixed Architecture: this system is a combination of above systems with decentralized architecture as far as which they have several small devices able to acquire and to process the information of multiple sensors and to transmit them to the rest of the devices distributed in the house.
HVAC integration into Home Automation
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) solutions include temperature and humidity control or home automated climate control (climotics).
This category also typically includes control of kitchen exhaust and standard ceiling fans.
Lighting integration into Home Automation
Lighting control systems involves some or all aspects related to controlling electric lights.
Natural lighting integration into Home Automation
Natural lighting control involves controlling window shades, curtains, draperies and awnings. Recent advances include use of RF technology to avoid wiring to switches and integration with third party home automation systems for centralized control. Alarman use this method to control and report. Click-On (Code Hopping 433MHz) and iTRONIC Home Automation from Crabtree (ZigBee @868MHz) are typical of this class that we use and recommend. These systems are ideal to retrofit an existing house with installed wiring but needs upgrading to home automation or domotics
Audio integration into Home Automation
This category includes audio switching and distribution throughout the residence. Audio switching determines the selection of an audio source, type of music and sound levels. Audio distribution (like TV distribution) allows an audio source to be heard in one or more rooms of the home. This feature is also referred to as 'multi-zone' audio distribution.
Video integration into Home Automation
This is most probably the most known part of home automation known to everybody. This includes video switching and distribution, allowing a video source to be viewed on multiple TVs and multiple channels at other areas. This feature is often referred to as 'multi-zone'. Alarman can add an Solid State Noiseless – on fans - (19” Rack mount if required) Home Theater Computer (running on Windows XP) to capture all the DVD’s, CD’s, video recordings and old 33” LP’s onto the system and integrate it with your Home Theater system
Security integration into Home Automation
Control and integration of the security systems with the home automation system
This category also includes control and distribution of CCTV (security cameras)
Detection of possible intrusion
Simulation of presence.
Detection of fire, gas leaks, water leaks
Medical alert. Tele-assistance.
Precise and safe closing of blinds.
Intercom integration into Home Automation
The more sophisticated home automation systems can incorporate an intercom system
Robotics integration into Home Automation
This is more towards Industrial applications of Automation and fall outside this category for the time being. We are waiting for the technology growth in the not so near future of home robotics! Just imagine the swimming pool cleaner senses garbage and go and pick it up even outside scheduled cleaning cycles. The lawn mower is programmed to cut the lawn without assistance, around edges, the works! (And it barks back at your dog .. just a joke but possible!)
Using special hardware, almost any device can be monitored and controlled automatically or remotely. Alarman is moving into this market on demand of our clients
Questions and Answers on Home Automation
Can I expand the system on a later stage?
Yes, you can customize your Domotics (home automation) system as your needs change. You can add remotes, touch screens, audio, home theater, security, sensors and actuators to these systems
What will it cost me?
Domotic costs very drastically, depending on your needs, and the size of the home that must be automated with the various components. With Alarman home automation, your home’s value will increase instantly, even with the economical start-up package that suites your pocket.
Is domotics (home automation) easy to operate?
Yes, it is almost child play, with features mastered in a few minutes. With one button, all the daily routine requirements such as lighting, security, climate control and irrigation can be controlled.