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What are Smart Homes and why is everyone talking about them?

Blinds close automatically at twilight, the heating seamlessly adapts to your daily routine, and the oven notifies you when your pizza is ready – welcome to life in a Smart Home! For a lot of people, the concept still raises questions.

What is a Smart Home?

Until now, analogue sequences have been digitalized and automated in the Smart Home by connecting the building technology to a single system. The result is that individual functions of different devices and systems can be operated and coordinated via a central control element. Your Smart Home thinks proactively and relieves you of a lot of daily tasks.

How does the Smart Home work?

At the heart of the smart home lies a digital data network (often referred to as a bus system), which enables various technical components to communicate with one another. To do this, the networked devices require a communication interface in order to receive and send information (control commands or “stimuli” recorded by sensors).

This could be via WLAN, mobile phone, Bluetooth, or a data line. The building technology can then be programmed, automated, and controlled remotely via a control centre such as a PC, tablet, or smartphone.

What should you keep in mind?

Smart Homes are not all alike. Different transmission methods and standards have been developed over the past few years. For the networked devices to be able to communicate with each other, you need a unified programming language. In the case of wireless solutions, Z-Wave, ZigBee and EnOcean, are the best-known international standards. A big advantage of wireless solutions is that they can also be used in older buildings. For example, with eNet from Gira, functions such as lighting and blind control can easily be retrofitted and networked with one another – without having to tear down any walls. The KNX standard is established for installation in new buildings or large renovation projects. Here, certifying bodies ensure quality and compatibility across manufacturers.

The Smart Home can look like this:

What are the advantages of an intelligent home?

In principle, the networked home should make building technology simpler, more efficient, and more economical. But most importantly, you get to live more comfortably, if, say, you can dim the lights from the couch using your smart phone, change the television channel via spoken command, or regulate the heating with a timer. At the same time, an intelligent heating, power, or lighting system helps to save energy. Automated door locks, window contacts, or wireless smoke detectors can alert you via smartphone in case of an emergency. Your Smart Home stands for comfort, energy, and security. And the extent to which these three functions are implemented simply depends on the scope of the system in place.

And what about data security?

As with computers and mobile phones, the network and your personal data also have to be protected in a Smart Home. For data protection, individual settings like passwords and the authorisation of user rights are fundamental components when setting up the system. To guarantee the best protection possible, many providers have developed special rules for turn-key complete solutions. For example, Gira works with a comprehensive check list that covers all conceivable data security measures, from the conclusion of the contract, through specialist installation, to separate securing of individual data networks and VPN connections.

The Smart Home – Individualized living comfort

The Smart Home offers just as many technical possibilities as functional advantages in daily life. So, you can just sit back in your intelligent home and let (networked) things take their (digital) course.

What’s your visions for your Smart Home? What should it be able to do? We look forward to receiving your comments!

Automation Building technology Smart Home

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