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Remote Control

Homes no longer need to be specially wired to take advantage of automation technology


No longer a futuristic notion, home automation is fast becoming commonplace in residences across Perth.

The technology allows users to perform tasks such as turning lights on and off without having to get out of bed, set blinds and shutters to open at sunrise, control and manage security remotely and send music throughout the home with a touch of a single button.

Automated Interiors Managing Director and home automation expert Stuart Flatman says there are lots of reasons for the industry’s growth in popularity.

“The cost to install home automation has dropped dramatically in the last couple of years and this has had a big impact on accessibility,” he says.

The days of needing to have a home specially wired to allow for automation are long gone too.

“Now it is all about wireless, wireless, wireless,” he says. “Automated Interiors specialises in Fibaro, a new wireless system. It is kind of like C-Bus except without the need for extra wiring and cabling, with a vastly easier customer interface and better expandability.”

Stuart says new Z-Wave technologies allows seamless control of most devices in the home. “Lights, blinds, rollershutters and more can be controlled via mobile devices without the need for extra wiring.”

Security is a major focus of smart home systems. Stuart says advanced systems can notify homeowners remotely if there has been an intrusion, detect vehicles approaching the home, automatically lock doors and provide room-by-room surveillance.

“The benefits of the smart home are by no means limited to convenience, although this is a compelling feature,” he says. “The automation of simple tasks saves us time – time that could be spent on our families, our careers or other passions, which is a strong selling proposition.

“Smart homes also have the potential to be greener and cheaper: energy-monitoring tools, and programs to optimise energy consumption could compel us to lower energy usage, which could, in turn, lower bills and reduce our carbon footprints.”

Automation and centralised control also have benefits for family caregivers and people with disabilities. “By integrating the home, a smart home could simplify the caregiving process for the elderly and provide more freedom to people with limited mobility.”

Stuart says retrofitting is now easy and it is possible to fit out single rooms or entire houses. “That means you can progress on your home automation journey at your own pace,” he says. “Retro-fitting your existing home or new build with home automation using Z-Wave products is now cost effective and easy because there is no expensive cabling or structural alteration required. All you need to do is connect a Z-Wave controller to your existing router and you are ready to go.”

The future of the industry also looks bright with lots of potential for further technologies.

“The Internet of Things (or IOT) is an emerging trend of which smart homes is a subset,” Stuart says. “IOT involves the integration of digital and wireless technologies in physical objects and systems, especially those historically unconnected. IOT has significant ramifications for the future of smart homes, the more devices that are connected to the internet, the more can potentially be integrated into the smart home system.

“The typical smart home automation would feature seamlessly integrated security systems, refrigerators, televisions, dishwashers, cameras and other electronics and appliances, centrally and/or remotely controlled from a single device. As more devices become connected to wireless technologies, the more features the smart home will include.”

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