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Domotics 2017-09-05T15:12:09+00:00

It was 1968…

The year of release of the movie “Hollywood party” by Blake Edwards, with a hilarious Peter Sellers struggling with a hyper-technological home where controls activated automatically, lengthening the jet of a fountain, moving furniture and furnishings …. an amusing portrait of a “smart home”. For years in the collective imagination, home automation or domotics has been associated with futuristic, improbable and expensive hi-tech homes.
But today is no longer the case …. Now all this is available to everyone, both economically and of use.

HOW IT COMES ABOUT
WHAT IS IT
CHARACTERISTICS
How does it work
SCOPE
EXAMPLES
THE DESIGN
IN BRIEF

How it comes about

Beginning ‘900: first examples of home automation/ new technologies involved: electricity
1891: the manufacturer William Penn Powers founded in Chicago the Power Regulator Company, forerunner of the modern Siemens, an industry of temperature controllers, introducing, for the first time, the technology in automating.
1907: built in Chicago the first grand hotel features an automatic air conditioning system.
60s: the first automation control device is produced / New technologies involved Telephone, Television
1966: ECHO IV is distributed, produced by engineer Jim Sutherland in cooperation with the Westinghouse Corporation. The Electronic Computing House Operator was a real home management device that allowed the control of the temperature in each room, the shopping list creation, the switch on and off of electric equipment, weather forecast, and allowed to make annotations on CRT display.
70s: The first standard / New technologies involved: Electronics, Telephone, Television
In 1970 in Scotland the Pico Electronics develops X10, one of the most widely used industry standards that leverages the power line for the broadcasts. The company designed one of the first ultrasonic remote controls to manage the lighting lamps in the shows. In the 80’s began new experiments and in 1989 was born the first of X10 security system.90s: The union home automation and IT / New technologies involved: Computer, Mobile, Internet, Robotics
In these years we talk about home automation for all IT applications and about robotics applied to domestic management. The customers are technology enthusiasts or people with disabilities for whose special automations are designed. In general the most frequent applications concern the security and the management of audio-video systems.
2000s: Dissemination of home automation / new technology involved: ADSL, DTT
Home automation spreads and becomes synonymous of comfort, the house becomes super-connected and is easily managed using smartphones or tablets. Bill Gates house near Seattle is the most advanced model of smart home: every guest of the house receives an electronic key that communicates constantly his position in the system. In this way each environment reacts in relation to the presence of its occupants.
697/5000

Today
A strong integration between automation and design is introduced, with a easy management of a house in which objects acquire intelligence as they are always connected.
Samsung launches Smart Home and cloud-based app that enables integrated management of all appliances in the home.
The Italian BTicino MyHome is on the market with a product that enables the integrated management of all systems and appliances of the house, both locally and remotely, offering comfort and energy savings.
A new evolution will come with Google Glasses applied to home automation that will change once again the approach to the management of the various functionalities.

What is it

Home automation is the discipline that deals with the study of technologies to improve the quality of life in the home and more generally in buildings. But not only. Home automation also allows for a significant increase in performance and in the possibilities offered by the different systems in the home, optimizing consumption and enabling the integration of different functions such as control, comfort, safety, energy saving and communication.

A home automation system makes it possible to achieve, both in residential and tertiary sector, the coordinated management of all these functions.

In a traditional system the functions are activated through normal devices (switches, dimmers, thermostats, video phones, etc.) that are not able to interact with each other and therefore can not be governed by a single super-visioning and programming device.

The intelligent home

Thanks to home automation we are than facing a “smart home”, i.e. an environment providing to those who live in the home facilities going well beyond the traditional ones. Turning on lights, opening doors and shutters, air conditioning management, security systems, .. that can communicate from inside or outside, even through mobile phones, smartphones and internet network . A synergy that can increase comfort, energy savings, safety and connectivity with communication networks.
The range of offered solutions is really broad, with also the huge advantage that tit can be increased over time to accommodate the continuous upcomig demands. A home automation system in fact can initially be installed with minimum functions then adding new ones, according to increased needs. Once the cable connecting devices is arranged, it will be possible to add new ones at any time without making any further work on the building.

Home automation in the service sector

The use of home automation, as well as in residential, can be extended to the service sector. In this case we speak of “building automation”. This means giving life to the workplace where, in addition to lighting, heating and security, even the computer and communications networks are integrated into a single system that simplifies and optimizes the control and management.

Characteristics

Since home automation covers several aspects of domestic life we can define it as interdisciplinary, meaning that it can refer not only the electrical plant engineer but also those who care for the other plants present in a home.
A home automation system has different characteristics that turn into a wide range of solutions that can further enhance the value of the property right from the design stage.
It is not costly or futuristic solutions but, on the contrary, solutions easy to use, reliable and secure that allow to enhance the dwelling also with basic domotic solutions as the video entry, lighting and climate control. It will always be possible, at a later time, to integrate them with other functions to meet new needs.

Functional flexibility

You can at any time change the functionality of the system without interfering with further masonry work.

Temporal flexibility

It is possible to fulfill the system with basic functions and then add new ones, depending on the arising needs.

Integration between the plants

It allows a simple efficient and effective management of the installations in a house, because everything can be controlled from a single point.

Ease of installation

The use of a twisted pair cable for the control and of “classic” cables for the power bus, is simpler than what necessary in traditional systems.

Ease of Management

To give just a few examples, a program for closing the blinds or for the home lighting can be easily handled simply and in accordance with your actual needs.

Simplified management and remote use

Just a phone or an Internet point is necessary to operate promptly on the various functions, to receive a warning in case of alarm or to set the climate when coming back home after an absence.

Integration of devices

A home automation system allows communication between all the electrical devices of the system and, if it is designed using KNX standard, it also ensures interoperability with the thousands of products made by companies following this international standard

Function interoperability

The same device can perform different functions, for example a presence sensor can turn on the light or may report an undue intrusion, depending on the time and the purpose for which it was programmed

Use of a single user interface

This simplifies the dialogue among the various devices that can now be controlled from a single supervision point, such as a touch screen.

Simplicity

With more and more intuitive interfaces home automation has become completely user-friendly.

Energy saving

By integrating, within the home automation system, the climate and the lighting control, attractive opportunities for optimizing energy consumption is allowed.

Comfort

Home automation allows to create the desired comfort, room by room, situation to situation.

How does it work

Home automation enables the mutual interaction of all the systems in your home. This allows all the elements to share information and perform functions programmed by the user but also fully or partially autonomous ones.

Technology

Automation technologies, such as home automation, are based on the BUS, an electric / electronic system able to control an integrated set of simple and more complex functions. Physically, the bus is constituted by a twisted pair which simultaneously allows power supply and the exchange of information between the various devices. To control a home automation system, the BUS is composed of interacting elements, suitably connected to a primary device with control function gathering information traveling on communication media.

SCommunication media

The communication medium is the physical medium through which devices exchange information. As mentioned it can be a twisted pair, a coaxial cable or optical fiber, but it can also be the power supply cable of the electrical network or the ether, with radio frequency or infrared. A BUS system can be composed of one or more of these means

TCommand and data transmission

On BUS cable data are transmitted in digital format: a series of bits coded according to a specific communication protocol. A control device, such as a button, sends a message to an actuator, which receives a command and executes it. The actuator also sends back a return signal to notify the proper reception of the command.

Traffic management

The transmission of data is designed to avoid message collisions that, simultaneously sent to the BUS, may generate a loss of information and of commands. For this reason the BUS allows transmission from one device at a time. A second device ,if operated simultaneously with the first, hat to wait until the first message reached its destination. The waiting lasts a fraction of a second but is of fundamental importance to handle data traffic, without loss of information.
The difference between a traditional and a bus plant thus is in the philosophy and in the results: in a traditional system each component (lights, air conditioning, anti-theft etc.) is independent. In a BUS system all technical devices are interconnected and integrated and it is more correct to call “system” the whole set of devices, in order to highlight the interconnection. Each function then, even if can work independently, it can be connected to the other to obtain a perfectly integrated environment.

Scope

Even if the term Home Automation gives the impression that it can only be applied to domestic sector, actually it can be extended to many other fields more or less related to the home.
The real scope of home automation it is theoretically unlimited, or at least it can be extended to a plenty of areas, being very versatile and adaptable to the end user needs.
Here are some areas where home automation can be introduced:
– In the houses to improve the lives of those who live in and also to reduce energy consumption;
– In hotels, to improve and simplify management;
– In hospitals, to improve the efficiency;
– In ships and yachts, to keep everything under control even when we are not on board;
– For giving new possibilities to disabled people by simplifying many otherwise unthinkable functions;
– For industries to reduce energy consumption and costs, for example for a better management of nightly lighting.

Technology

Automation technologies, such as home automation, are based on the BUS, an electric / electronic system able to control an integrated set of simple and more complex functions. Physically, the bus is constituted by a twisted pair which simultaneously allows power supply and the exchange of information between the various devices. To control a home automation system, the BUS is composed of interacting elements, suitably connected to a primary device with control function gathering information traveling on communication media.

Communication media

The communication medium is the physical medium through which devices exchange information. As mentioned it can be a twisted pair, a coaxial cable or optical fiber, but it can also be the power supply cable of the electrical network or the ether, with radio frequency or infrared. A BUS system can be composed of one or more of these means.

Command and data transmission

On BUS cable data are transmitted in digital format: a series of bits coded according to a specific communication protocol. A control device, such as a button, sends a message to an actuator, which receives a command and executes it. The actuator also sends back a return signal to notify the proper reception of the command.

Traffic management

The transmission of data is designed to avoid message collisions that, simultaneously sent to the BUS, may generate a loss of information and of commands. For this reason the BUS allows transmission from one device at a time. A second device ,if operated simultaneously with the first, hat to wait until the first message reached its destination. The waiting lasts a fraction of a second but is of fundamental importance to handle data traffic, without loss of information.
The difference between a traditional and a bus plant thus is in the philosophy and in the results: in a traditional system each component (lights, air conditioning, anti-theft etc.) is independent. In a BUS system all technical devices are interconnected and integrated and it is more correct to call “system” the whole set of devices, in order to highlight the interconnection. Each function then, even if can work independently, it can be connected to the other to obtain a perfectly integrated environment.

Concrete examples

Recent market surveys in this domain, give the evidence that it is constantly growing market, despite the crisis and the difficult economic environment: there are about 100,000 dwellings where every year a home automation system is installed.
Home automation acts mainly on SAFETY, COMFORT and ENERGY AND RESOURCES SAVING.

In terms of the Safety-security, automation may involve life-saving systems to detect gas, water, fire, leaks anti-theft and anti-intrusion devices.

As for comfort, moreover, forced air exchange mechanisms and air conditioning solutions can be designed, as well as automatic opening and closing of windows, doors, shutters, remote management of electrical appliances … and so on.

Power saving focuses on lighting management and heating bringing to a reduce consumption even more than 50%.
Can you imagine similar savings in industrial or commercial structures, with large surface areas, for example by installing sensors managing lightning according to the outdoor light conditions. There is also the possibility to monitor electrical consumption in a quantitative and qualitative way by immediate detection of faults and electrical equipment malfunction, thus allowing a quick intervention before the occurrence of much more serious problems.
IN terms of costs, home automation impacts, only of 3-4% of the overall budget of a building, a gap that will pay for itself within a few years through savings on waste.

A HELP FOR WHO IS ‘IN TROUBLE

Home automation has shown great potential in helping people with disabilities or various mobility problems, may be associated to old age, through the interaction with the technological (or not) elements in the house, allowing them to regain, at least in-house, a greater autonomy.
The “secret” for a really effective home automation is in the interface, or in the activation of the controls with interfaces using breath or voice synthesis, so that it can also be used by those who can not move.
Another application, can be the remote monitoring by medical personnel, of chronic patients or during convalescence periods, thus allowing additional possibilities for the care, at the patients’ homes.
E.g., what about a sensor that not detecting movements any more for instance in the bathroom, triggering an alarm? wouldn’t it be life-saving?

ELECTRIC APPLIANCES MANAGEMENT

Nowadays there are many electric appliance manufacturers putting on the market products, such as dishwashers, fridges, ovens, hobs, hoods that can be connected and directly managed from an iphone with a dedicated application. It can be useful for example if you want to start the cycle of a washing machine wherever you are, or manage to keep circulating the clothes in the washing machine to have always fresh laundry if you can not hanging it immediately. You can pre-heat the oven when you are about to return home or be notified when it is the best time to start cleaning.

SAFETY

Wi-fi cameras that integrate with all alarm systems to ensure a simple and secure control of areas, offering the ability to connect to audiovision of connected alarm systems. Thanks to a specific app, you can easily monitor environments remotely from your smartphone or tablet and interact with relatives, using the integrated microphone and speakers.

The design

Design phase has a fundamental role in the creation of a home automation system: it must be tailor-made, by analyzing the actual needs and the characteristics of the environment and of those who will attend it. After this, locate the most appropriate and customized solutions that can predict the ‘automation’ of certain installations and not of others and choose the most functional interfaces also considering, for example, whether it will be used by an elderly or young person.
For all home automation systems, it is available the openKNX, protocol: it is an international standard for the automated and decentralized management of technological systems in different structures, either already existing, or made from scratch, with several application levels according the level of automation to be achieved.
The physical devices through which the functions are enabled are increasingly interconnected, for this reason, choosing an international protocol enables better integration with other networks.
The phenomenon of the Internet of Things and the interconnection involving objects and places in an increasingly disruptive way, could also be a driver for the dissemination of home automation.

A SUGGESTION

However, we recommend, in the construction phase of a new building, to provide for the predisposition for domotics: it is enough to provide pipes that can be used later for the wires for automation. With a minimum expense it can be prevented the future breaking of walls, floors or coatings.

IN BRIEF:

The increasingly rapid and unstoppable progress of technology, makes us understand that home automation will be increasingly present in our daily lives. It is the natural consequence of developments in the recent years. So according to our company’s perspective, we already screened in the near future and we keep updated on the continuous news.

It is not true that it is expensive, it is not true that it is complicated and it is not true that it easily breaks. It is not true that it is a stuff for the rich, it is not true that it is useless and it is not true that it is just fiction.

The solutions and the possibilities are endless, in this section we are therefore limited ourselves to just give you some brief information about the world of home automation.

  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Intuitive
  • Reliable
  • Current
  • Current even in future years
  • It gives greater security
  • It gives greater comfort
  • It allows greater energy savings
  • It allows greater savings on waste

Here are some good reasons to choose to supplement your property with Home Automation!

Contact us!