2.1 do not have access to the internet

2.1 Smart Home Architecture

 

The official
definition for a smart home, according to the UK Department of Trade and
Industry, is: “”A dwelling incorporating a communications network that
connects the key electrical appliances and services, and allows them to be
remotely controlled, monitored or accessed.” (    http://www.sersc.org/journals/IJSH/vol9_no4_2015/21.pdf
) Therefore, to be considered SHT, a device or appliance should be able to
connect to the internet or to other devices, have a certain level of
automation, and be able to be remotely controlled – or at least monitored – via
a device such as smartphone or tablet. 
This definition, however, does not cover devices and appliances that do
not have access to the internet or the cloud, but are still considered smart,
as they can be set up to work autonomously without the need for user input
after the initial setup, or just minimal input – eg remotely controlled cooker
or washing machine.

A smart home is a
network of inter-connected parts – smart devices, each of which plays its part
in providing the user with their intended functionalities. Such functionalities
might be:

a)            Detecting or sensing things like
movement, temperature, visual and audio triggers.

b)            Processing information.

c)            Responding to user input or a
situation.

 

“A” is the most
common. Once a device sensor receives input from surrounding environment, it
then either carries out a task in response to this event, or sends information
to another device, known as an actuator, in order for it to react to the event
(or both). For example, lights can be set up to turn off as user leaves the
house, if the thermostat senses there is nobody in the house.

        Most of these products use Bluetooth and
Internet connectivity to interact with each other, send data to the cloud, and allow its users to remotely access and control them.
Wi-fi and Bluetooth are thought to be the most popular technologies for
connectivity between devices within smart homes, however not the most efficient
– Bluetooth, for example, can only work in smaller areas. Wi-Fi has replaced
Ethernet connectivity due to being more convenient, and other communications
protocols include ZigBee and Z-Wave, which use radio waves for communication between
devices. A network called Insteon, in fact, uses both wired networks as well as
radio waves.

Most modern systems also include a convenient
centralised smart home hub, also known as “bridge” or “controller”, that acts a
command centre to  every single device
that is connected to it, regardless of the protocol they use. Most popular hubs
have the ability to turn signals from different protocols into a Wi-Fi signal to
be understood by the router, which means that a very diverse range of devices
can be controlled via said hub. Any device connected can be controlled via the
hub’s software or a 3rd party application on one’s smartphone or
tablet; or, if using a voice-activated speaker like Amazon Echo, by issuing
specific voice commands directly to the hub. The hub will then send the
information to the actuator device, prompting it to complete the specified task.
The hub can also be setup to do completely automated tasks, like turning a
certain device on at a certain time, or making devices perform multiple tasks
at once when a certain pre-programmed scenario is activated – for example, by programming
and then activating a certain routine that the hub recognises.

However, users can increase the potential of
their devices by taking advantage of IFTTT – If This Then That, a service that enables
linking smart devices and appliances to increase convenience and add functionality.
It allows for certain actions or events to prompt other actions within the established
network of smart devices. It can then be followed by even more actions, that
will have triggered – for example, sending an e-mail of a shopping list that
Alexa saved, or programming for the coffee maker to turn on via a smart plug as
soon as user’s Fitbit senses that they are awake.

 

 

 

 

2.1.2 Outro

 

Most SHT devices can be interconnected to increase
their efficiency and add new functionalities. For example, Nest systems include
heating control, flood sensors, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms etc, which can
also be connected to the Philips Hue lighting systems – which will sound alarms
if Nest detects smoke, that will in turn make the Hue lights flash for emphasised
alert – which is also extremely useful for people with disabilities. Indoor and
outdoor surveillance systems can be used to keep an eye on one’s home  to ensure it is safe from intruders, or to
verify if a system is sending a correct signal to the smartphone
application  – eg if a Nest smartphone
notification has been received that it senses smoke, to ensure it is not a
false alarm – or to keep an eye on children or elderly family members outside
of home.  (risk analysis of shas) .

 

2.2 Smart home technology uses and
users

 

2.2.1 Convenience and resource
management

 

One of the first “smart” things that have
made their way into user’s homes were smart meters. In order to be able to
track energy consumption, and reduce their energy consumption – and bills – as a
result, homeowners switched their old energy meters for smart ones. However,
smart meters are not the only devices that can potentially help their users
save money. Devices like smart plugs and switches, smart lighting systems, thermostats
and others can assist smart home owners with the task, and can be controlled
via a smartphone or tablet application, or via a smart voice-activated speaker
hub.

Smart
plugs

Smart plugs allow users to remotely control
them, and as a result, potentially save resources – for example, when the TV is
left on when leaving the house. Depending on the model, a routine can be set up
for the plug to turn off the device that is plugged in, and turn it back on right
before it is going to be used. Some smart plugs have the capability to also  track energy consumption of the device that is
plugged into it, and, just like the smart meter, can help track energy
spenditure.

Smart
thermostats

Smart thermostats, while playing an obvious
part in setting up comfort in a home, can also help save energy. They can learn
heating habits, adjusting the temperature to suit user’s preference, and can
also be controlled via a smartphone – meaning it can be turned off remotely, control
temperature in different rooms, or even setup to turn off when the house is
unoccupied.

Smart
lighting

Smart lighting systems, such as Philips Hue,
among many other functionalities, allow users to set routines to turn lights in
the house – or outside – off and on depending on users’ preference, as well as
control the lights remotely – which in turn can save money. These lights can be
programmed to change color when a social media notification is received, or
when another device sends a signal – for example a smoke alarm – making it more
convenient to keep track of important events. They can also add to the comfort
in the home, as well as convenience – especially when using a voice activated
speaker hub to control them. In most instances, popular smart lighting systems
are very easy to set up and work with a hub, which, among other benefits, has
made them very popular.

Voice
control system and specialised devices

Apart from acting as a command centre for
all of smart home devices, such as controlling heating, lights, voice control
systems or smart speakers provide users with many other capabilities. They can
play music, read books, inform users of local news, weather and events, order takeaways,
as well as make and receive phone calls. Most importantly, it can do it all without
any physical input from the user, due to being voice-activated. Devices like
Withings Aura, similarly to voice control systems, combine connectivity to
light, sounds and other systems, in order to help users with their sleeping
patterns. They do so by establishing an appropriate atmosphere by controlling those
devices, such as playing calm music and turning down the lights. However, unlike
voice control systems, it is not voice activated.  

 

2.2.2 Security

 

Best home security
systems consist of a set of entry sensors, motion sensors, alarms and surveillance
cameras. Some of these systems and standalone devices can even contact an external
agency or emergency services should an even such as break-in occur – these,
however, usually require a subscription fee. Whichever option is chosen, the
house can usually be monitored via a portable device via Wi-Fi, as well as allowing
the user to respond to events when they occur by notifying them via a phone
call or a notification. However, this list of security-related devices is not
explicit  – many different smart home
technology devices can contribute to one’s safety and security.