While the smart home may seem to be straight from a sci-fi movie, it’s no longer a thing of the distant future. With the arrival of Web 3.0, home automation is not only a reality, but its use is growing. Gartner forecasted that 8.3 billion connected things would be in use in 2017, up 31% from the previous year. They expect the number to reach 20.5 billion by 2020. (source)
What’s Web 3.0?
Here’s a quick history lesson. Everything started with Web 1.0. In the early 1990s, websites were interconnected via hyperlinks, like a vast spider web. The 2000s saw the advent of the social web (Web 2.0), where blogs and other social media platforms took precedence over other forms of communication. In 2008, Web 3.0 (then known as the Internet of things) made its debut. According to Juniper Research, the number of connected things, sensors and triggers installed in consumers’ homes will approach 46 billion in 2021, up 200% from the number of things expected to be in use by the end of 2017. (source)
Your smart home
The Internet of things is all well and good, but how does home automation change our everyday lives? What can we use it for? Home automation is defined as the use of smart objects
to optimize and automate domestic processes via information and telecommunications technologies in homes. Appliances are interconnected and can interact to reduce energy consumption in terms of heating, hot water, air conditioning or lighting, to ensure the comfort of people’s homes. Cédric Locqueneux’s 2016 book, Le guide de la maison et des objets connectés (in French only) outlines the three main components of home automation: energy savings, security and comfort.
What would your smart home look like?
If you want a smart home, you’ll have to set up a home automation system. Whether you’re going all out or you want a simple system, you’ll need three main components.
- Control panel: This computer or machine keeps all of the home’s information in the same place and can trigger various programmed tasks.
- Sensors: Installed throughout the home, these sensors are used to gather the information that the control panel requires to trigger tasks. For example, if a sensor detects activity at the front door, it can set off the alarm. Or if the thermostat detects a drop in temperature, it can turn up the heat.
- Actuators: These devices perform the tasks programmed by the control panel. They control home appliances like heaters, hot-water boilers, TVs, washing machines and refrigerators, as well as things like doors, lamps and blinds.
Together, these three components are what make a home “smart.” Because they’re all connected to a central computer via a WiFi, cable or electrical network, you can automate your energy consumption and security. The computer will send out programmed commands when you want. What’s more, they can be controlled at home or remotely using a smart phone or home touchscreen that acts as the smart home’s control panel.
The Internet of what things?
There are as many applications as there are connected objects, but the Internet of things is most commonly used to control heating, trigger alarm systems, control lighting via smart phones, turn on pressure cookers, control robot vacuum cleaners or start washing machines. Above all else, the Internet of things will save you time, money and energy. If a device can be programmed or automated, it can be controlled with home automation. This includes appliances, media equipment, security systems, doors and blinds, and even sprinkler systems!
A futuristic solution that requires an initial investment, but that can produce long-term savings
The possibilities of a smart home are endless, including substantial savings on your energy bill. Home automation can adapt to your needs and lifestyle. Plus, it can be a lifesaver for people living with disabilities or who need assistance. There’s no more denying it—the smart home is here to stay. To automate your home, all you have to do is decide what you want and how much you’re ready to invest. You can make this decision based on how much you expect to save on energy, water, heating and time in the long term. These savings will be sure to offset the purchase price of any home automation equipment.
Passionate about colour, vintage decorative elements and hand-made items, Vanessa Sicotte celebrates décor in all its splendour. Vanessa is the mastermind behind the Damask & Dentelle blog—and author of a book in the same name—where she has been sharing her favourite décor discoveries since 2009. She is also the host of Sauvez les meubles and Marché Conclu on Canal Vie. Since fall 2015, viewers can reap Vanessa’s valuable advice by watching the Marina Orsini show on ICI Radio-Canada Télé, where she is featured as décor commentator.