What is Home Automation and how does it work

The concept of home automation is certainly not new. In fact, we have already covered it in another article where we tried to show that we are not dealing with science fiction but with a new way of thinking and managing home devices. Thanks to continuous technological innovations, a large number of increasingly efficient devices, capable of simplifying our lives, are becoming available on the market.Nowadays, many families already own at least one intelligent device; however, there is still a lot of confusion around this new technology.Let’s try to clarify a few key aspects in this guide, starting by looking at what home automation actually is and what it means to have a ‘smart home’.

How a smart home works

Broadly speaking, a smart home is a house that features devices capable of managing some home systems like thermostats, lighting, security cameras, blinds, etc.The advantages of having a smart home are:

  • energy savings
  • improved security
  • savings on your bills
  • improved comfort

Domestic devices are usually managed via an app on your smartphone or your computer, and they are capable of answering voice commands using digital assistants like Siri or Alexa.Smart devices often speak to each other using special protocols that create a smart home network.

What is home automation

Now let’s take a look at the concept of home automation, which usually encompasses the automatic control of routine activities in a house, using specific hardware and software. A couple of examples of this would be a lighting system that automatically switches itself on when you enter your home or a security system that can detect intruders and notify you in real time.These two simple examples easily highlight how home automation can not only improve our well-being but also keep us safer when we’re at home.In fact, home automation can be beneficial when it comes to assisted living and improve the functionality of homes for elderly or disabled people, proving to be a good alternative to care homes and other medical facilities.Many devices for assisted living home automation allow medical staff to continuously monitor people in their own homes and provide alerts and reminder systems.You only need an internet connection and an intercom to remind a patient to show up for an appointment, take their medication, turn off the heating or lock the doors.That’s why home automation can be a great help both when trying to support people with disabilities and older people, as well as in our daily life.Home automation can, in fact, be very useful in our daily tasks – for example, let’s think about robot vacuum cleaners programmed to switch themselves on and off at different times, voice-controlled blind systems and even self-cleaning litter trays for our pets.

How to get started with home automation

The idea of taking the first steps into the world of home automation may seem difficult to you. You are probably interested in the advantages that home automation can offer, but you might be unsure about which are the right devices to buy.To help choose the right home automation devices that would be a good fit for your lifestyle, we advise you to consider these four aspects:

  1. Consider your technological knowhow: some of the devices available on the market need a certain understanding of the technology to be used. So, if you are a novice in this sense, make sure you buy models that are intuitive and easy to use.
  2. Give yourself a budget: think about how you are planning to use the device as you might run the risk of buying something rather expensive that might not serve you and lifestyle well.
  3. Evaluate your device according to your needs.
  4. Research the available products before you buy: read customer reviews, buyer’s guides and other official reviews.

Having considered these factors, we can now look at the advantages offered by home automation.

The advantages of home automation

Earlier, we listed some of the advantages of home automation, like energy savings and improvements in security and comfort however, these are not the only advantages that this new technology can offer.Another key aspect is the time that you will save when transforming daily tasks into completely automated processes. You will find that this saves a considerable amount of time that you will be able to spend doing the things you like.Maybe you never thought about it, but many of us already use automated systems at home: the washing machine, dishwasher, your remote control and water heater are all perfect examples of this.With that in mind, it’s not difficult to imagine installing other systems that could help us save money and energy, such as fully automated lighting and heating systems, or even a system to control your blinds remotely.A smart home that will automatically turn off the lights when nobody is in the room, that will raise or lower the blinds depending on the time of the day and with timers set up for heating and air-conditioning systems, so they won’t run when no one is at home – all useful strategies to reduce your energy consumption.Many daily activities can be managed by a home automation system with the installation of hardware and software that will send information and plan activities like watering the garden, access to security cameras, the opening and closing of doors and windows and so on…

Sunbell Blinds: Suncen control unit and AI-SUN app, compatible with Alexa

As we have already mentioned, window blinds are amongst the systems that can be automated and managed with home automation – a solution that saves time and energy because they will only be activated when strictly necessary.With regard to Sunbell blinds, our Suncen model is designed to be used with a control unit, available free to customers and also compatible with Suncen blinds that have already been installed.An LAN internet connection is usually required, but installations with Wi-Fi connection are also possible.A Suncen automated blind system will allow you to program the opening, closing and orientation of the blind depending on different factors such as the time of the day, the day of the week, time of sunset or dusk; in addition, the control system can also be used remotely, when you are away from home.This system is compatible with Alexa via the Suncen Smart control unit and the AI-SUN app with an LAN internet connection.With this solution, you can control your blinds by speaking directly to Alexa using:

  • Amazon ECHO speakers
  • Other compatible speakers
  • Smartphone

You can program personalised settings that will allow you to use blinds in different situations that can be managed by any of the smart devices in your home.These personalised commands can be activated by your voice, by the time of the day or day of the week, and by other devices connected to Alexa.ConclusionsWe hope we have given you some useful information to help you transform your house into a smart home with home automation, which will not only help to make your routine activities easier but also monitor and control your home when you’re not there.If you would like more information about our Sunbell blinds, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Sunbell, the future of blinds design
Born in 1977 thanks to the intuition of its founder Giuseppe Zuelli, Sunbell is a leader company  in the sector of technological advanced blind systems and it established itself for the strong connection between product development and design. High-end technology applied to solar shielding and a  ‘Made in Italy’ style are at the heart of all Sunbell projects, thanks to an innovative production process, in constant development.