With the right level of ingenuity, the sky's the limit on things you can automate in your home, but here are a few basic categories of tasks that you can consider:
- Automate your lights to turn on and off on a schedule, remotely, or when certain conditions are triggered.
- Set your air conditioner to keep the house temperate when you're home and save energy while you're away.
- Open your blinds during the day and shut them at night (or when it's particularly hot).
- Feed your pets on a schedule and with pre-determined amounts of food.
- Open your garage door with voice commands.
- Set your coffee maker to have a fresh pot ready as soon as you wake up.
- Create an emergency party button that goes from one to funky in seconds.
This is, of course, just a sample. To put it simply, if you do something repeatedly, you can probably automate it one way or another. Just about everything that runs on electricity, and several things that aren't, can be made smarter and possibly even hooked in to a central system.
The most dead-simple way to get started with home automation is to use basic boxes that add functionality to existing devices. For some things, you can use simple timers and sensors to turn the ordinary devices you already have into “smart” devices.
In that same vein, there are simple remote control outlet units that allow you to press a single button anywhere in the house and turn anything connected to a power outlet on and off. Of course, this isn't "automation," strictly speaking.
Next time, we will look at some of the centralized options you can use.
Daragh O'Higgins, has lived in Thailand for over eight years and has over 15 years of experience in smart home technology. Have a question? Email Daragh at firstname.lastname@example.org