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Table of contents
1.
Introduction 
2.
What is Home Automation?  
3.
IoT in Home Automation 
3.1.
Wireless Sensor Network
3.2.
Cloud Computing 
3.3.
Big Data Analytics
3.4.
Communications Protocols 
3.5.
Embedded System
4.
Components of Home Automation
4.1.
Remote Control
4.1.1.
Mobile Applications
4.1.2.
Voice Assistants
4.2.
Electronic Devices
4.2.1.
Smart Lighting 
4.2.2.
Security Systems
5.
How does Home Automation work?   
5.1.
Smart Devices  
5.1.1.
Controller
5.1.2.
Smart Devices
5.1.3.
Wireless Connectivity
5.2.
Connection with Cloud 
5.3.
Alerts
6.
Securing Home Automation IoT Devices
7.
Frequently Asked Questions
7.1.
Discuss the advantages of Home Automation. 
7.2.
What are the disadvantages of Home Automation?  
7.3.
What are the benefits of using the Cloud with IoT? 
8.
Conclusion 
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
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IoT and Home Automation

Author Vidhi Singh
0 upvote
Leveraging ChatGPT - GenAI as a Microsoft Data Expert
Speaker
Prerita Agarwal
Data Specialist @
23 Jul, 2024 @ 01:30 PM

Introduction 

We all have heard of at least one: Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, or Google Nest. All of these are virtual assistants. They help us make our daily life easier by managing small tasks of our day-to-day life. So, shall we say they are automating things for us? 
Likewise, we have other devices that help automate frequently done tasks in our homes. 

This article will discuss Home Automation and IoT and how they are associated with each other. 

What is Home Automation?  

Home automation refers to the human-less control of electronic devices inside the home. The electronic devices can be controlled remotely as they are connected to the Internet. Basically, it minimizes human interaction with the devices for their functioning. So, even one device can trigger other devices.

For example, when you sleep, you first go to the switch to turn off the lights. In some cases, people may instruct Alexa or some virtual assistant to do so, which is also a type of automation. But, in full automation, you can schedule them to turn themselves off at specific times - like when you sleep or leave for the office, etc. Similarly, you schedule your ACs to cool the home before you arrive home.

Basically, Home Automation is done to decrease manual handling of electronic devices, save on electricity and make the home more liveable and secure.  

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IoT in Home Automation 

IoT is short for Internet of Things. It is the network of connected physical devices embedded with software, sensors, and some other technologies, sharing and receiving data with other devices and systems over the internet.  

Technologies that enable IoT are:

Wireless Sensor Network

Wireless Sensor Network is interconnected sensor nodes that interact wirelessly to collect data about the surrounding environment. 

Cloud Computing 

Cloud Computing is basically the provision of computing services involving storage, servers, networking, databases, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the Internet or the cloud very efficiently.

Big Data Analytics

Big Data Analytics is the usage of advanced analytic techniques for very huge data sets coming from several sources.

Communications Protocols 

A few protocols include WiFi, ZWave, ZigBee, and Bluetooth.

Embedded System

Embedded Systems are microprocessor-based computer hardware systems with software made to perform a specific function, with an integrated circuit at the core to carry out real-time functions. 

All devices involved in Home Automation are a part of the Internet of Things. 
Home Automation is based on the Internet of Things. IoT-based Home Automation comes with ease of use, ease of installation, easy fault detection, trigger warnings, and ease of mobility.  

Also see, Difference Between Verilog and Vhdl

Components of Home Automation

Remote Control

As earlier mentioned, Home Automation is about automatic and remote control of devices. It is achieved via mobile applications or voice assistants. 

Mobile Applications

The mobile application enables users to control their devices in real-time. It is through the application that users make schedules and customize devices. It includes switching off unwanted lights, setting time for the coffee maker, etc. 

Voice Assistants

Voice assistants allow the users to control the devices through their voices. Through voice assistants, the functionality remains name. Instead of manually operating on the app, users do it via saying commands. Examples include- Siri, Alexa, etc.

Electronic Devices

Some of the electronic devices which are a part of the Home Automation System are as follows:

Smart Lighting 

Smart lighting involves switching off or dining the light by sensing human environments and their movements, or whenever required. Through this, energy can be saved effectively.  

Security Systems

Home Security Systems include security cameras and sensors to sense an intrusion and send alerts. Alerts can be in any form, like alarm, message, or pop-up on the application.
Really advanced systems even send detailed alerts like an image shoot or short video clips. 

Other devices include smoke/gas detectors, smart washers/dryers, and smart refrigerators. 

How does Home Automation work?   

Let us now move to work of Home Automation long with the involved devices. 

Smart Devices  

Major devices that are present in all Home Automation setups and actually enable the automation are described below: 

Controller

The essential part of the Home Automation system is the controller or the hub. It is also called the Gateway. It is also called the brains of this system.
It is connected to the home router through the ethernet cable. All the IoT-based sensors receive and transmit the requests via the centralized hub. The hub receives the input or sends the output to a cloud network situated over the internet.

It is this architecture that allows remote communication with the centralized hub via smartphone with just a requirement of a stable internet connection at the hub location and the phone to connect to the cloud network. Most of the smart home controllers cater to all three usually utilized protocols of wireless communication for Home Automation: ZigBee, Z-Wave, and Wi-Fi.  

Smart Devices

All the sensors within a common network perform cross-talk via the main controller unit. Few of the smart sensors in home automation work as sensor hubs. They are the signal repeaters of signal bouncers situated the midway between the sensors at a distant location,, the hub installation location, and the. These sensor hubs play an essential role for very long distances, enabling easy transmission of signals to sensors that are far from the central controller but closer to the sensor hub. Widely used sensor hubs in IoT-based Home Automation systems are Smart Plugs. 

Wireless Connectivity

IoT based Home Automation systems work on three widely used wireless communication protocols namely Wi-Fi, ZigBee, and Z-Wave

The Z-Wave and the ZigBee controllers have specified network ID that is distributed to other sensors in the network. These devices communicate in a mesh topology where there is no fixed path for the signals sent from the controller to the sensors and vice-versa. The signal from the controller travels to the target sensors either directly or through signal hops based on the availability of the shortest path. In case, any intermediate sensor in the pathway is already occupied the signal traces another path within the mesh network to get to the final destination. The sensors with different Network IDs cannot communicate with each other over common channel.

Connection with Cloud 

The Cloud-based-Networking system includes storage and maintenance of data over the Internet. This provides users the flexibility to have access to the data from any place on the planet.

As a result of this, in IoT-based Home Automation systems users over the cloud network can send requests to the hub even from a very long distance. The hub further sends the signal for the intended sensors to inform and perform the commanded action. Once the action is performed, the hub updates the status of the action taken to the cloud network, and in this way users can control and monitor every aspect of their smart homes.

Alerts

The cloud network receives and stores all the user inputs and transfers them to the hub according to the scheduled events.

After the hub transfers the desired signals to the target sensor and the desired action takes place, it quickly uploads the new status over the cloud informing the user instantaneously. For example, the motion sensor will instantaneously notify the user via notification when it detects any unwanted motion or intrusion. After receiving such a notification, the user can quickly turn on the IP-based home security smart camera and can check the status of your home even from a remote location. 

IFTTT is such a software platform that offers autonomous service.

Securing Home Automation IoT Devices

As the Internet is a vulnerable and highly exploitable thing, it is good to adopt practices that ensure digital security. A few of them are:

1. Select a strong encryption method for services like WiFi, like WPA2. 

2. Ensure that the WiFi network has a long, complex, and unique password. This may make it more difficult to add guests, but it also prevents others from hopping on and hacking as well. 

3. Electronic devices often have features enabled by default that are not really required., and that can make the IoT devices more hackable. Ensuring to turn off these features when not in use, like WiFi, Bluetooth, and Location Sharing.

4. Ensuring that the software in use is up to date. They often consist of updates specially targeted at increasing digital security.

5. The IoT account should have a password that is not redundant on any other account and is unique and hard to guess. 
 

Of course, there can be more apart from the ones mentioned above. But they are the most common and significant ones. 

Check out this article - Components Of IOT

Frequently Asked Questions

Discuss the advantages of Home Automation. 

A few advantages of Home Automation are as follows:

  • Allows remote access.
  • Saves the efforts and time of the user
  • Contribute to the conservation of resources
  • Adds to the convenience of the user
  • Provide the homes with more safety and security 

What are the disadvantages of Home Automation?  

Major drawbacks of Home Automation include:

  • Home Automation systems are very costly.
  • As there is a network of so many devices inside the home connected to the Internet, privacy becomes a major issue.  

What are the benefits of using the Cloud with IoT? 

It provides the following advantages:

  • Lesser cost of setting up new infrastructure. 
  • Easily scalability
  • Easier access only using the Internet. 
  • The user only pays for the amount they use. 

Conclusion 

This article extensively discusses Home Automation, its working in details, and how IoT is involved in it.

We hope that this blog has helped you understand IoT and Home Automation, and if you would like to learn more, check out our articles on Coding Ninjas Blogs

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