Smart living has become one of the essentials of surviving in these modern times. With endless updates of hardware and software coming out, we’re moving towards a smarter lifestyle with each passing day. So, how are we making use of the cutting edge technologies of today’s world to improve our lifestyle? What is a home automation system? Let’s learn more about it!
In layman’s terms, smart homes are basically powered by advanced home automation systems. This advanced and modern technology is not particularly new but has evolved into something that provides unprecedented means of monitoring and control. Although this tech is not new to the market since the past few years, it has become more affordable and its usage is now more widespread than ever.
One of the biggest advantages of smart homes is that they enable homeowners to enjoy unlimited control of their property without being physically present on the premises. If you live in Pakistan, you can also check out our analysis on how home automation can bring some much-needed ease to your daily routine. From being able to converse with someone who rings the doorbell to adjusting the thermostats of different rooms – all while being away.
In principle, to enjoy the perks and convenience of smart living, take a house of your liking and introduce it to smart tech – where the sky’s the limit when it comes to the limitations of automation. After the installation of this modern technology – and a stable high-speed internet connection – you can use it to control everything from managing the coffee maker to monitoring security systems with one tap of your finger.
Pros and Cons of Home Automation
Evidently, smart homes are not a collection of various devices and appliances, rather it is a network of such devices that can be remotely controlled. All these are controlled by a master home automation controller, often called a smart home hub. The smart home hub is a hardware device that acts as the central point of the home automation system and is able to sense, process data, and communicate without getting tangled in wires.
The undeniable fact is that smart homes are the future as this technology has ultimately been designed to add additional comfort to our lives. However, like everything else in the world, there are ups and downs of any innovation.
Over the years, this technological advancement has been edging towards more refinement and many things once considered ‘science fiction’ are becoming a reality – including smart homes. It is, however, crucial to understand both the advantages and the disadvantages of this technology before making the decision on installing this inside your home.
Our compiled list will aid you in avoiding hasty and half-cooked decisions and generally help you in this regard. Here are some of the pros and cons of living in smart homes:
Pros of Smart Homes
- Convenience and manageability
- Energy saver
- Adds value to your home
Convenience and Manageability
Convenience plays as one of the prime factors when it comes to home automation as it eliminates little hassles that present themselves as big annoyances like switching off the lights before you go to bed or adjusting the thermostat in the middle of the night.
Contrary to older times, with smart home technology, the maintenance and upkeep of your house become more efficient and effective as to hiring various personnel for different jobs/tasks. It allows you to remotely control almost everything in your house. After all, the future is online; you can check out our blog to learn more about how the internet of things and smart technology are making our homes smarter.
Smart homes are much easier to manage than conventional houses because your automation systems can cater to your tailor-made requirements – from controlling various electronics, security devices, and maintaining specific temperatures at variable timings.
These home automation systems come with a remote dashboard capability. So, if you forget to switch off the coffee maker before going to work, without an integrated smart home system, you are left with no other option than a trip back to the house.
However, with the installation of smart home automation system, you can simply pull up its dashboard on a smart device or a computer, and switch things off in a matter of seconds.
Safety and Security
Home security is very essential to those seeking a peaceful residence. An integrated smart home system allows the provision of remote monitoring that can put your mind at ease while you’re away. Auto-locking doors with two-way camera systems can help you overcome the fears of intrusions – apart from mitigating the possibilities.
Immediate alerts can be set up to trigger when something uncharacteristic happens – all to keep you updated. Integration of security cameras, alarms, and motion sensors allows easy monitoring of what is going on around their house.
Additionally, the usage of smart locks and garage-door openers automatically grants or denies access to visitors. These locks can also be programmed to detect residents and unlocks the doors for them.
Depending on your usage, home automation systems are usually energy efficient. You can program the system to manage your home’s climate control system – providing a cost-effective measure towards your heating or cooling bills. Lights can be programmed to switch off and on as per the timings of sunrise and sunset.
Appliances can be set to deliver at a particular time, for example, the coffee maker can be tasked to make a cup of coffee by the time you are done getting ready for work. These devices utilise very little electricity and offer better control to avoid energy usage/wastage during peak times.
Smart homes offer numerous solutions when it comes to managing and monitoring senior citizens and the disabled persons. These systems can be equipped with two-way voice command and control that also comes with locking exterior doors and control over lights.
Moreover, you can automate your pet care options by integrating the feeders with the smart homes systems. Sprinklers can also be timed to save water when watering various houseplants and lawns.
Adds value to your home
Some real estate analysts reveal that integration of smart homes technology helps increase the resale value of your house as this adds additional convenience and comfort for potential buyers who would be willing to pay extra for these features.
Cons of Home Automation:
Now that you have been enlightened with some of the major pros of smart homes, here are some disadvantages that may sometimes overshadow the comfortable, convenient and easily manageable lifestyle choice.
- Complex technology
- Power outages
- Internet connectivity
- Centralised command and control
Installing a home automation system is not an easy task. It can become a significant burden on the homeowner. Contractors will charge you a lot and if you plan to do it yourself, be prepared to evaluate the time you’ll end up investing in it.
Newer homes sometimes have the options and space for the installation of such systems. However, older homes may need rewiring as this high-tech requires a wiring system capable of handling its basic electrical and networking needs.
Living in a smart home might sound extremely appealing but it comes with its own hardships. Sometimes relying on a flip switch is a lot easier than reaching for your smart phone to switch the lights on and off. Before investing in this smart home idea, decide how far do you really want to take the home automation process in your household.
Power outages or load shedding is still a reality in our country. If your residence is located in an area that faces frequent power losses, your home automation system can be compromised. Sometimes these power outages can also damage the system, which can be costly to repair.
Apart from that, relying on just a single source of power is not effective – what will you do when the power is out and you need to operate the automation system? Installation of additional power sources just to feed your smart system increases the installation and upkeep costs. Make sure that your smart home system can work manually in case of any power outages.
Home automation systems are not cheap in Pakistan. They require specialists to install and maintain. Apart from adding to the electricity bills, the equipment itself is costly as everything is imported from abroad. Local manufacturing of these products is not that common. Specialists, who have dealt with the technology, for the installation, repair and maintenance process will charge you big bucks.
Your entire home automation system experience is built upon the availability of a high-speed internet connection that actually works. The better the internet connection, the better the experience – lagging is not an option here. If you go for a complex home automation system, you might end up needing a dedicated internet line (over a shared connection) to allow uninterrupted connectivity. It is one of the biggest disadvantages of wifi-based home automation systems.
Centralised command and control
The problem of having a centralised command and control system for your smart home is that if it fails, your entire system collapses. It might not be an imminent concern when installing the home automation system in your house, but it should exist for the long run.
Secondly, your entire home automation network is dependent on wireless connectivity. The increasing cybercrime activities can pose a threat of compromising your system. Evidently, safety and privacy concerns can spark vigorously under the possibility of such threats. These were some of the major pros and cons of home automation systems.
If you liked this piece, don’t forget to check out our pick of smart home gadgets available in Pakistan that can help you transform your house into a smart home.