Smart home automation promises complete control of every facet of your living space at your fingertips from anywhere in the world. Now, with lightning fast wireless communication rolled out across much of the developed world and powerful devices in the pockets of almost everyone, that promise is becoming a reality.
Various players have jumped on the smart home monitoring bandwagon, from telecoms operators to tech start-ups, giving their customers the ability to control and monitor every aspect of their homes from anywhere in the world.
In Canada, Rogers offers one such service with its Smart Home Monitoring system.
From any internet connected device you can get a video feed of every room in your house, control appliances, turn off the lights, monitor when your loved ones or other family members are home and, of course, manage your energy consumption by remotely controlling your thermostat.
However, your humble smartphone can’t do these things unaided. To make the whole system work, you will need to install costly additional hardware, including video cameras and special plugs. Perhaps that’s why, despite the rapid take-up of smartphones and tablets, smart home monitoring has been slow in catching on.
Things are changing, and much of that has to do with what is popularly called the “internet of things.”
Almost any electronic equipment in your home today, from smart TVs to smartphones and smart fridges, can be bought with internet and WiFi capability. For example, internet connected baby monitors are already widely available, allowing parents to monitor their infants no matter where they are.
From there, it’s a simple step to getting the right app out in the market that will allow users to control these appliances from their smartphones.
Of course smart fridges are far from as ubiquitous as smartphones, so for most, total home automation is still some years off. But those enterprising enough can find several companies offering discounted hardware to transform your existing appliances into “smart” appliances.
Considering all these options, the question is why you would choose to go with one of these providers today, when in a few years smart thermostats, lights and video cameras will be more widely available.
The answer is that these devices take up high bandwidth with constant streaming, particularly with video cameras installed in your home. What’s more, if home security and the safety of your family is of prime concern, it won’t simply do to have smart burglar alarms and video cameras unless someone is monitoring them.
Round-the-clock monitoring by a central office is an essential component of most home security systems today, and this is unlikely to change just because you’ll be able to monitor using your own devices as well.
That’s why telecoms operators and security specialists are moving into this area, to provide the bandwidth for your connected home and to save you money on installing all the hardware it will require.