iPhone to Home: It's All About Communication and Home Automation.
by Don Ames, www.detectenergy.com
Right now, it's more of a joke than a reality. For some reason, even with an iPhone or Tablet in our hands, we fail to realize the fact that someday, in the near future, we will all be living in a Smart Home. Yes, for a while, it will probably be like coming to terms with our first iPod, we will need to have a teenager teach us how to unlock the garage door so we can get to work.
It won't matter whether you live in a gated community - overlooking the valley - or on the middle floor of a low-income apartment complex, you will live in a Smart Home. As a matter of fact, the people living in the apartment complex may experience Smart Home living before the tract home in the burbs. Apartment owners have an extra incentive.
What a neat tool it will be for the apartment owner to be able to visualize the energy it takes to operate the complex. The data a Smart Apartment will provide can go far in identifying energy waste and excessive energy use. Just the added control over time-of-use energy, has the potential to save thousands of kilowatts.
"Hey, you in apartment number 402, why do you leave your T.V. on all day, don't you know the Salmon are having a hard time getting up over the fish ladder at the hydroelectric dam?"
It's not all about energy savings.
The Smart Home is not just about saving the Salmon, it's also about security and the comforts offered by technology. How about this, you walk in the front door and the stereo starts playing your favorite music, the drapes open, and the desk top comes to life and displays your facebook page.
The touch screen monitor on the wall indicates all is well because your Smart Home has analyzed your security settings, your power settings, the appliance settings, the weather, and your evening schedule. It has your dinner menu and your grocery list because it knows exactly what's in your refrigerator.
It's easy, when you're away from home, your phone takes care of your home, when you're at home, your Smart Home takes care of you. Is it magic? No, it's all about communication and Home Automation.
The Smart Home will ride into everybody's lives on the back of home security. Home security and home automation will compliment each other. Not everyone is willing to pay the price of Smart Home technology for the privilege of turning your furnace down while sitting in line at the barber shop, but a whole lot of people will foot the bill to know that the creep from the garage sale just broke into your garage and swiped your new $1,200 barbecue.
By the time you get home, the creep will be behind bars and the barbecue will be on the list of items for the sheriffs benefit auction.
The Smart Home can have your dishwasher talking with your Smart Meter, but it can also have camera's, motion detectors, heat sensors, timers, and automatic locks.
Anything that uses electricity can be put on your home network and at your digital control. The technology will check your desires and resulting commands and evaluate them for energy wise conservation.
Stop by the clothes dryer on your way in the house and push the start button. A moment or two later, your cell phone vibrates. You pull the cell phone from your pocket and activate the screen. The phone reminds you that if you start the clothes dryer now, you will be paying 19 cents a kilowatt hour to dry the clothes. But, if you wait until after 10:30 PM, you can dry the clothes for 10 cents per kilowatt hour.
By waiting until after 10:30, you save money and the power company saves money by not needing to spend money producing more power to meet peak demand at 5:30 in the afternoon.
The sun comes out and begins to warm up the large picture window on the south side of the home. Since your home is already warm enough, the Smart Home closes your drapes and then notifies you that the drapes have been closed. The Solar Heat Gain has been reduced, and the air conditioner remains at rest.
Each person that enters your home may someday be introduced to - and then recognized by your home. Kind of like your Lap Top recognizes the different internet signals of the places you go around town. As that person moves about the home, the lights will brighten ahead of them and dim behind them. The home, with time, will learn likes, dislikes, patterns and individual tendencies and react with comfort, accommodations, and energy conservation.
Smart Home Benefits
1. Have your home work for you instead of you working for your home.
2. Increase Security through the addition of technology that allows you to monitor your home while you're away.
3. Lower energy use with the ability to communicate energy savings with all appliances and other power users.
4. Maintain safety by monitoring the activity of youngsters and elderly persons.
5. Enjoy comfort through intelligent learning that anticipates your needs and likes.
To have a Smart Home that is as Smart as the home Bill Gates constructed, you may need to throw a couple million extra into the Smart Home budget. To provide your home with a more basic education level, you can start with several hundred dollars and work your way up.
The best place to start is with a whole house energy monitor. A system like FIDO from EcoDog monitoring would provide your home with an elite energy monitor that will be expandable in the future. With a thousand bucks, a screwdriver , and a little do-it-yourself pride, you can install the FIDO and start monitoring the energy use in your home and begin to see the places where you can start conserving energy and lowering your power bill.
Still a little steep for the old pocketbook, I know it is for mine, how about starting the Smart Home movement with one basic Kill-a-Watt Meter. For $19.99, you can monitor the actual power use of all the appliances in your home one at a time. How much does it cost to leave your computer on standby all night? Now you will know.
The Kill-a-Watt won't turn your stereo on or close the drapes, but it will provide you with the data to begin the process of making Smart Home decisions concerning energy use. There is a Meter on Amazon with your name on it.
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More from Don Ames and Detect Energy at www.detectenergy.com.