Home Automation

The Best Home Automation Ideas for 2018

(Last Updated On: June 2, 2018)

Do you ever find yourself wondering what we’ll see in the future from home automation? Year over year we see the technology and capabilities of smart home devices grow and expand. We are no longer forced to use a light switch or manually set the thermostat. Home automation is continuously moving forward, and the roles these devices play are becoming a staple in our homes.

Of course, the convenience these devices provide explains their popularity. For instance, with a smart stove, you no longer have to worry about whether or not you left the oven on since you can control it remotely. A smart stove and many other possibilities continue to become a reality as the Internet of Things make more things smart.

The Internet of Things is giving you the ability to control your home right from the palm of your hand. Your appliances will connect to the internet, you’ll have the ability to close your garage from an application, and you can sit down and tell your television to play your favorite show. These and many other ideas are some of the best in home automation. Let’s visit some of the best home automation ideas for 2018.

Smart Lighting Systems

Smart lighting is one of the most popular smart home areas in the Internet of Things space. Each day new products come onto the market with new technologies and features. Here are some of the ways technology is advancing smart lighting for home automation.

What’s new?

New in the smart lighting area are LEDs with low power and low maintenance. These LED bulbs have the controls located in the fixture itself. This gives you the ability to adjust the color of a light or a group of lights, and create scenes that change the lights in specific rooms or areas. With these new LED bulbs, you have the ability to allow other devices to communicate with your lighting or vice versa.

Smart Lighting capabilities

Is used to be that compatibility between smart lighting systems was an issue due to drivers needing special electronics. In today’s smart lighting market, this is no longer the case since the controls are built directly into the LED. As a result, it’s easier for you to use and install smart lighting systems. You can install the fixture in your home, and it’s as easy as replacing a light bulb. This makes smart lighting more user-friendly, and seamless.

Additionally, users have the ability to create schedules, which helps give the illusion that you’re at home, even if you’re on vacation. This means that your home is more secure. You can set your lights to come on via a set schedule, with geofencing, or through your mobile application.

Users also have the option to integrate their smart home lighting system with Google Home or Amazon Alexa. With a smart assistant, you can have your lights respond to specific commands such as “Wake up the kids,” or any other lighting needs that you have.

What’s next?

Who knows what light switches will look like in a decade? Those that own homes are always looking for a sleeker, cleaner, more unobtrusive design. Removing light switches and using smart home LEDs allows users to control multiple areas of their home, and personalize a functional system that works for them.

Smart home lighting systems are just the tip of the iceberg for what can is capable of smart homes. With voice activation and the added security of controlling your lights from anywhere, homeowners will find smart lighting easy to use and customize.

Smart Security Systems

Current trends in the Internet of Things sector allows for growth and popularity in the smart home security market. We never want to experience mishaps or be subject to criminal behavior, and with the advances in smart home security systems, those types of occurrences decline.

Some people believe in the benefits that having a smart security system provides, but not everyone feels that way. Of course, the primary benefit of having a security system is the protection and peace of mind provides. Here are some reasons to have a smart security system in place:

  • Home monitoring
  • Protection of personal belongings
  • Burglary protection
  • Fire outbreak notifications
  • Carbon Monoxide outbreaks

These and other ideas make a smart home security system a smart investment. Here are a few other ideas for smart home security systems.

Smart locks and cameras

Cameras and locks are often a part of your smart home security kit, and there is a huge variety on the market today. You can use your smartphone to control these devices via a mobile application, and if you forget to lock your door, just jump into the application and take care of it.

You can also set up notifications to send you an alert if a suspicious or unwanted behavior is occurring. This is especially true for smart cameras, as they can provide you with video or screenshots that it captures when its motion sensor trips.

Smart water sensor

While smart water sensors aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about smart home security, they can come in handy by preventing flooding or alerting you to leaks. The device usually connects to your home automation system or your wifi network and sends a notification if it senses water or moisture.

Smart fence

Utilizing a robust, reliable all-in-one smart fence system can be a security boon for both industrial and residential. You can use a smart fence in a variety of settings, including to address perimeter intrusion, access control, pressurized gas and liquid system monitoring, and cable reinforcement. You can choose between a traditional fence powered by a 110-volt connection, or solar power fencing. No matter which you choose, you’ll be providing additional security and safety for your home or business.

Smart smoke detector

Putting a smart smoke detector to use in your home can help you stay ahead of fires. This device notifies you when it detects smoke, or when carbon monoxide reaches a dangerous level. Some, but all smart home smoke detectors have a built-in sprinkler that will go off when it notices a high amount of smoke in the area.

Video doorbell

Making a video doorbell part of your home security system makes your home an added layer of protection and convenience. From the comfort of your bed, or from your office, you can see who is at the door. As long as you have connectivity, you can view your front porch via your smartphone. Some smart doorbells provide audio, so you can have a conversation with the person at your door if necessary.

There are plenty of options to choose from when selecting a smart home security system, and many of them can be customized and personalized to fit the needs of your home, business, or family. Implementing a smart security system can be beneficial when it comes to protecting you and your loved ones.

Smart Kitchen

Most people spend the majority of their home life in the kitchen or the living room (when they’re not sleeping of course). That’s why smart appliances and kitchens are becoming more and more popular. As home automation moves forward, home kitchens are beginning to emerge as a focus for brand name appliance manufacturers.

The thinking behind smart kitchens is to start connecting devices and appliances to the Internet of Things. This may be a refrigerator that knows what food it contains, a stove that can be set to preheat while as you head home, or additional interfaces and sensors that make kitchen life more manageable.

Voice interfaces

While smart home assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home have been around for a few years, it wasn’t until recently that they began making an investment in kitchen gadgets and appliances. Now, you have the option to integrate your smart home assistant with your smart kitchen. So if your hands are full, you can just ask or tell your kitchen to complete the task.

Food Inventory

Another interesting concept is the idea of tracking and managing food inventory. Wasting food is a big problem, and several companies are developing solutions to allow us to track our food better. Some companies are creating food tracking and management systems, while others are looking at ways their appliances can help manage food inventory.

Smart Water

Surprisingly, there aren’t many resources dedicated to managing water, which is perhaps one of the most significant areas of waste in the United States. A few, however, are offering ways to manage water consumption and waste better, while others are helping us determine whether water is safe to drink.

Home Grown

Growing food at home has become very popular in recent years, and 2018 will be no exception. Options are ranging from an IoT grow box to a grow wall available. Additionally, many systems include automation that knows when to water the plants, can measure the soil nutrient content and can let you know whether or not your plants are getting the attention they need.

Health and Wellness

Health Tech has been gaining tracking in the IoT arena over the past few years, making the transition from pedometers and heart-rate trackers to more widely used devices for health and wellness. Now there are options for people who want to do more than just track their run or follow a workout routine.

The most significant driver behind the growth of health and wellness tech is the demographic change as Baby Boomers reach retirement age. Many technology companies are doing what they can to provide devices which allow the elderly or those with disabilities to not only live independently but succeed in doing so.

In the health and wellness sector, there are a variety of concepts and ideas being developed and created. Many of these products can help us live healthy and more advanced lives, making us take stock of our own health, and take the necessary steps to improve. Here are some ideas currently under discussion in the health sector.

Self-care

Nowadays, taking the initiative of taking care of yourself has become more and more prevalent. This means understanding where your risks lie and taking the proper steps to address them before they become more significant issues. With the advances in health and wellness tech, you can do more than just the basics to head off any health concerns that might be bothering you.

For instance, on the market today are smart air purifiers and aromatherapy diffusers. These devices monitor and assess the quality of your air, and purify indoor air if necessary. The diffuser can be used to create an aromatherapy session complete with organic oils and clean air.

Another smart device in the health tech arena is a pulsed electromagnetic field device. It increases blood flow to parts of the body that are typically known to cause problems. The device is ideal for those that suffer from arthritis or stiff muscles.

Elderly care

For many, caring for an older loved one can be a challenge. Balancing the care your parents need with the tasks of raising your own children is difficult and can be overwhelming. With technologies available in the elderly health market, it’s easier to manage and monitor an aging person who may require a little more attention.

One such device caters specifically to those that are at risk of falling due to a hip injury. These injuries can be deadly, and one fall is all it takes to do severe damage. This device has airbags, sensors, and a battery, and detects when someone is falling. When the sensor goes off, the airbags deploy which helps cushion the fall.

Another example in this area is a GPS sensor kept in a shoe that detect abnormal behaviors or movements. If the sensor notices a fall or some other type of anomaly, the appropriate person is contacted automatically, along with emergency services.

Wellness monitoring

It’s important to know your body and know what is going on with it. Measuring and storing specific stats can help you track and monitor what needs to be given attention along with seeing your progress as you take the necessary steps to be healthy. A few devices on the market today help with monitoring your stats and vitals.

An example of the capabilities behind monitoring vital signs if a device that can be magnetically attached to your phone, and measures things like your blood pressure, body temperature, O2 levels, and heart rate. There is also a device in development that measures allergens in your home and outside. So if you’re a person who has troubles with allergies, this is something you can look forward to using in the next few years.

Sleeping right

Getting enough sleep is a challenge for many people and is essential since lack of sleep can lead to many health risks like diabetes and high blood pressure. Devices in the health market are focusing on ways to help you relax and get some sleep, and track your behavior during the night so you can make the necessary changes needed to improve.

One product that can help you sleep is a connected mask, which covers your ears and eyes. It illuminates and dims to mimic your breathing while playing ambient sound to help block out unwanted or disruptive noises. There is also research being done on a smart pillow, which has an accelerometer embedded within it. The pillow also has a carbon dioxide and audio sensor and can be used to help regulate breathing to help you fall asleep.

There is also a focus on smart mattresses, which gather information about you and your patterns while you sleep. They will track the amount of time you were asleep, how well you slept, snoring patterns, and other stats to help you get a good night of rest. Additionally, development is underway with smart mattresses to determine risks like sleep apnea and heart attacks.

On the go

Last, but certainly not least in the health and wellness area is fitness. Smartwatches, wearables, and a variety of other personal devices are hitting the market in droves. Huge strides are being made in the wearable sector that allows you to do a better job of measuring essential vitals like heart rate and blood pressure.

A device that will be released later in 2018 is a fitness tracker with a specialized band. It inflates to take your blood pressure and monitor your heart rate, but can also be programmed to take periodic measurements while you sleep. That means the device can watch for specific risks like stroke or hypertension.

If you’re big on fitness and running, some devices focus specifically on improving the user experience with their wearable. Many smartwatches and smart fitness trackers can now store hundreds of songs and include GPS tracking. More advanced devices have specific training modes available and can monitor your vitals while you work out.

Smart Entertainment

As home automation and smart devices continue to develop and expand, smart home entertainment has started providing a connected listening and viewing experience through immersive technologies. These are devices that help create a full-blown connected entertainment experience, and it’s easy to see how this technology is only going to get better in the near future.

Defining smart entertainment devices

Most people may think of only a sight and sound experience when thinking of home entertainment, but there is much more available in the smart home market when it comes to relaxing and entertaining.

Of course, your devices aren’t really smart if they can’t be controlled, are they? Your smart media devices can communicate through voice control, with a mobile application, or remote control no matter where you are in your home. This means your smart entertainment system is entirely connected and is part or your smart home network.

Smart entertainment technologies range from smart TVs and Bluetooth audio devices to voice-activated controls and mood lighting. These devices can respond to all of your entertainment needs as they become more intelligent and more integrated than ever before.

The beauty behind smart home entertainment is that the devices bring home automation into play. It will have the capability of performing specific tasks without input from you. Think about the possibility of arriving home and having specific lighting and music already playing to help you relax. This is just one of the options that exist with smart home entertainment.

Using a central smart hub helps you bring all of your smart entertainment technology and integrate it with your home automation system. Each and every piece of your smart home, from video to music to security to lighting, all in one intelligent, connected, seamless package.

Hubs and device control

As you begin to set up and equip your home with smart entertainment devices, you’ll encounter a myriad of wireless technologies and protocols. Some are more prevalent, while others may not be as common, but all are important in allowing your devices to communicate with one another.

You’ll work primarily with Zigbee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth, and WiFi protocols, which means you’ll have a lot of devices operating on different technologies. Unfortunately, these devices are going to be controlled independently of one another with their respective smartphone applications, and eventually it’s going to be difficult (not to mention painful) to manage all of them. This is where it comes in handy to have a smart hub controller.

Your smart hub works as a central location for all of your wireless devices. It brings together the different protocols used to communicate with individual devices and turns them into a format that can be interfaced from one point in your home, as opposed to several separate ones. Basically, this allows for control over all devices from one interface. It could be a remote, a smartphone application, or through voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Home.

Smart speaker systems

If you’re the type of person who enjoys high-quality video, then a smart speaker is an absolute must for your home automation system. Whether you’re watching a movie, listening to music, or just hearing the current news and weather, you’ll want a smart speaker that provides the best user experience available.

When looking for the perfect smart speaker for your home, you want one that will provide wireless capability for control and playback. Ideally, you will find one that offers various forms of application based and voice controls. Of course, as an audiophile, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re getting a smart speaker with high-quality sound.

Typically in the smart speaker genre, you’re going to find the traditional audio producers trying to keep pace with the changing technology, and the new players who are looking to integrate their technology into an excellent sounding smart speaker. There are enough offerings on the market that you shouldn’t have any trouble striking the perfect balance between connectivity, quality, and price.

Smart TVs

Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video have changed the way we consume our television shows and movies. Now we are able to watch when we want, what we want, and for how long we want. Smart TVs are the next in the evolution of visual entertainment, and offer us on-demand viewing, high-definition quality, and connectivity with other automated devices in our home.

Summary

As you can see, there is no shortage when it comes to home automation ideas for 2018. From Smart Kitchens to integrated entertainment systems, home automation is making our lives easier and more straightforward. We can now measure our blood pressure while we sleep, or tell our lights to turn on while driving home from work.

There are many, many other ideas in the home automation industry. The ones listed here are perhaps the most popular and commonly used in our society today. Don’t let that be a deterrent. If you come up with a creative way to use your home automation devices, go for it! These areas are just the beginning of what we can expect to see from home automation in the future.

About the author

Patrick Sinclair

Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn't have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!

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