The definition of a Smart Home

Lucinda Wood
13th August 2012 in Know How

Forget intelligent fridges!

Smart-Home-ist-nichtIf your idea of a smart home is one with an intelligent fridge which orders more milk from the supermarket when you run out: forget it!This sort of example puts a lot of people off the idea of a smart home (and quite rightly – the infrastructure for this sort of thing isn’t properly in place yet anyway). The media has played a big part in helping fuel a lot of misconceptions about smart homes, and we’d like to set a few things straight. This is Smart Home Automation, Loxone style.


All that glistens is not gold.

Be critical. A device which can open and close a garage door remotely, even if it’s sold as ‘smart’  doesn’t constitute a real Smart Home Installation. Smart Homes begin where simple automation alone ends. Would you not agree that ‘smart’ is when intelligent functions support your everyday life – whether the functions make you smile through their ingenuity, or just help save you money?

Our case studies are there to show you just how ‘smart’ Smart Homes can be. One of the case studies – The Brown Box has just recently been awarded best project in the “German Smart Home Awards 2012”. An award due, in no small part, to the practical functions in the house – tailored to the owners’ exact needs and designed simply to make everyday life easier.

Smart Homes – what we mean!

For us, there are some key ingredients for something to be called a ‘Smart Home’, here are a few examples:

Lighting

lightControlled by the Loxone Miniserver using presence detectors, and different lighting scenes. For example dimmed lights coming on in the corridor to guide you to the bathroom at night without getting blinded.

Shading

imageAdjusted automatically depending on the temperature in the house and the weather outside. Also linked to window and door contact switches to stop you getting locked outside the patio door if the blinds come down.

Heating/Cooling

temperatureTemperature sensors in rooms keep track of the current temperature, the Miniserver can then process this information, and decide whether it needs to heat or cool the room for you (depending on the room, the time of day, day of the week – exactly how you want). You could also link it window contact switches, so you don’t heat a room if the window’s open.

Motion / Presence Detectors

icon_bewegungsmelderUsed in most rooms for lighting and heating, but also used as burglar alarm sensors when you’re out – as part of a truly scary alarm system.

We’re talking about real home life!

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The things listed above cover the basics of smart home automation. After that it’s your chance to get imaginative and come up with functions suited to your home and your everyday life. With the Loxone Miniserver, things can get a lot smarter than most people probably realise – (almost) anything is possible.


Install for the future

A final word about smart home installations. Whatever your plans for a smart home are today, don’t forget that technology (and your lifestyle) will change a lot over 10 years. Maybe instead of switches, everyone will have multi-function touch pads, and what’s now a kid’s bedroom might become your Justin Bieber memorabilia room (you never know…).

Whatever happens, taking a bit of time to ‘future-proof’ your installation now will pay big dividends in the future. Wire everything centrally, and get yourself a big consumer unit which can be expanded when the time comes – it’s best to be prepared, and don’t let anyone talk you out of it.