Smart Homes, Smart Cities

Members of households can all relate to the paranoia of leaving their homes. There are multiple responsibilities attached with owning a house. It can be dreadful to constantly carry this stress. Fortunately, the rise of smart homes attempts to address this exact problem.

Smart homes are ‘‘a residence equipped with a number of devices that automate tasks normally handled by humans. Some are built into the structure itself and some added later, and homeowners operate them with voice commands or by artificial intelligence.’’ (AndroidAuthority)

Smart homes are intended to make the lives of homeowners much easier. Tasks such as turning the oven off, making sure the kids are in bed, and setting the security alarm can be automated with smart homes.

The smart home industry has recently matured into a new consumer trend. There are many vendors that are in competition to design the best smart home. The highly complicated technology needs to work sleek at all times. One of the most successful vendors so far has been Savant Systems. Their application system, Savant, controls specialized devices, as well as offers customization options in the areas of lighting, media, climate, energy, security, and intercoms for authorized integrators. (Bloomberg) It is one the most advanced application systems in the smart home industry.

Nest Labs, owned by Google, has manufactured many products for smart homes. They have a smart thermostat, cameras, and smart alarms. Nest products offer interconnectivity — it does not attempt to change your entire home into an automated state. You can by separate smart Nest products and implement them one by one — they even have smart light bulbs.

Many people wonder how all of these products come together. How exactly does a smart-home work? What is the underlying technology behind this innovation?

‘‘Home automation describes a system of networked, controllable devices that work together to make your home more comfortable, customized, efficient, and secure. You “speak” with your automated home through a remote control or smart device.’’ (SomfySystems)

The technology of this network is called the Internet of Things (IOT). This allows the products in the smart home to be interconnected and work together. Rather than working as separate gadgets, they communicate with one another through IOT. If the smoke alarm goes off, smart locks unlock all of the doors, so anyone can easily escape or attend the hazard. The alarm and lock communicate with each other to find optimal solutions. Or, if you cannot wake up before the shades are on and heavy rock music is playing, the smart home can launch the stereo system and open the blinds for you as you wake up. This communication is possible with the Internet of Things. The web-like network keeps growing and improving each day.

Lets expand our imagination of smart homes even further: is it possible to create smart cities? It may sound far-fetched, but it is a trend that is on the rise. With the increasing demand of urbanization, there are many efforts of launching smart cities. International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that smart city technology spending will reach 135 billion$ by 2021.

The IOT technology we have described is exactly applied to the city in the same manner it is applied to a home. With IOT, the city derives data throughout connected technological devices to improve the lives of citizens and visitors. Some functions of a smart city are avoiding traffic jams, finding parking spots, reporting a pothole, and access to data for the improvement of the city. The possibilities are endless with the implementation of IOT. (TechRepublic)

Two great examples of smart cities are Dublin and Amsterdam. Smart Dublin is a project that attempts to turn Dublin into a smart city in order to solve urban problems. They are currently tackling illegal dumping, flooding, and wayfinding through innovative solutions in the IOT system. With the improvement of this system, Dublin is on its way to enjoy the benefits of 21st century innovation. Amsterdam Smart City attempts to solve energy and mobility problems the city faces through online community projects. There are more than 7000 contributors, and citizens get to vote online to assess which project is worth paying attention. The smart city solutions help build a sustainable Amsterdam and address multiple concerns that the citizens face. There are many more challenges before smart cities can have full impact on cities, but with the rapid development of Internet of Things, most of our daily struggles inside and outside our homes can be addressed soon enough.

“Company Overview of Savant Systems LLC.” Bloomberg, March 19, 2019.

Teena Maddox. “Smart Cities: A Cheat Sheet.” Tech Republic, July 16, 2018.

Rebecca Edwards. “How Nest Can Turn Your House into a Smart Home.” Safewise, November 29, 2018.

JOHN CALLAHAM. “What Is a Smart Home — and Why Should You Want One?” Android Authority, October 21, 2018.

MOLLY EDMONDS & NATHAN CHANDLER. “How Smart Homes Work.” Howstuffworks, n.d.

“Worldwide Semiannual Smart Cities Spending Guide.” International Data Corporation, 2019.

“What Is Home Automation and How Does It Work?” Somfy Systems, n.d.