The decision about building an 'intelligent' home is not always based on technical content. Some believe that home automation should support saving, others might name the increased comfort as the main argument. There will also be those, who will simply treat it as a fulfilment of their dreams or those, who just want to have what is modern and fashionable without understanding a thing.
Below you fill find an attempt of collecting the most important arguments, which I collected after 5 years of living a new house. It is a summary of the main perks of having an 'intelligent' installation.
Comfort – is the first and the main argument. Your home remembers about simple tasks and takes care for itself. It opens the blinds at dawn. It turns the lights off where nobody is present. It waters the garden, makes shade when it is too hot, informs about malfunctions and unexpected events. The system allows to use shortcuts: to control a group of lights with one button, to switch light scenes, check if windows or the doors are opened.
Centralization - many of functions of an 'intelligent' home can be provided by not-so-intelligent sub-systems offered widely on the market. Watering the garden can be set with a dedicated controller. A similar thing can be done with the blinds, which can be controlled by a dedicated timer and a remote. Outdoor light can be controlled by a dusk sensor, the lights in the lobby by a simple movement sensor. There are simple controllers, which light up your staircases, control the garage doors etc. If, however, we fill the house with all the gadgets, we will start to stumble. Something will stop working, things will need reconfiguration. It will be necessary to remember where what is installed and what needs to be turned in each of the boxes. An automation system with a well-designed visualization is a place of a central command. All changes or supervision can be executed easily and quickly.
Fun and satisfaction – might be the main motive. Home automation can move a computer program into the real life. Finally - what we design and code becomes a part of real processes. When all is finally laid-out, programmed and fine-tuned, joy will fill you lungs.... especially when your family and guest show how much they are impressed ;)
Security – Home automation can look after things we fail to remember about. It can simulate our presence, warn against high level of toxic gases, control excessive temperature, signal leaks and supervise the overall status of your home installations.
Variety of means of control – is a feature, which is often excessively emphasized as if the possibility of making a bulb light up with the use of an iPhone was the essence of intelligence. Nevertheless - the easiness of writing a program for a mobile phone, a tabled or a control panel or building a web page makes the usage of all the sub-systems easy.
Saving – I am very cautions when writing this as most of the opinion about savings offered by intelligent homes are greatly exaggerated. One can, however, find savings in turning unneeded lights off, controlling temperatures, shutting the blinds at night in the winter or adjusting the amount of water that makes your grass green.
Surely, the list presented above will not convince those who are sceptic nor will it dispirit those who are in favour. Everyone needs to make their own decision. I am sure, however, that the technical solutions offered so cheaply nowadays beg to be used at home. If your investment is earn the label of being modern, it must include some traces of intelligence.