Guest Columns

Technology For a Better Living

The quest to reach out to technology for enabling a secure and comfortable life has been on for a long time. It was in 1st century AD Hero of Alexandria invented Aeolipile, which one of the first steam engines to pull a rope to open temple doors, making them the first automated doors in known history. That was of-course quite a while back. Mankind has been making huge strides in technology for a long time, and things have really hit a ‘hockey-stick-curve’ since last 5 years with the confluence of several base technologies, smart phone penetration and usage, ubiquitous broadband connectivity and affordable cloud technologies. In the overall perspective of technological advancements, what we are going through is really historical. The rate of change has also accelerated quite a lot, and it is not inconceivable that what we have got today will look like that temple-door-opener technology of 1 AD some 20 years from now.

There has been a lot of buzz around Internet of Things (IoT) and Home Automation recently, and it would be good start this article by getting its definition right. IoT is a catch-all word used define a solution where “things” like sensors, actuators etc are connected over internet and exchange information and take actions amongst themselves without human involvement. Various elements of technology have now matured enough that IoT enabled solutions are now possible in a very scalable and cost effective manner across various domains. One of the most interesting manifestations of IoT in homes is Home Automation.

Put simply, Home Automation is set of technologies used in the homes to enable a better living by making is more safe, secure, comfortable, energy efficient,entertaining, space efficient, with better healthcare and so on so forth. So note that by definition it is not one thing, and hence it has become a catch-all word to denote anything which has to do with a bit of technology applied in homes. So one has to remember that Home Automation is not one thing, but a collection of technology solutions from people can choose what they want for their lifestyle needs.

Home Automation is not a new technology. It has been there for a while now. But till just a few years back, it was very expensive, hard to install, not so easy to use and very difficult to maintain. That is why its adoption was also not so widespread.

However, things have changed in last few years. Smartphones have become all pervasive, people are now used to using Smartphone for various things, wireless internet connectivity is there almost everywhere.. All that is changing the way in which the Home Automation technology is now brought to home owners. We call it Smart Home 2.0, where the focus is not just on the “cool factor”, but provide some thing really useful in a very intuitive and cost effective manner, using state of the art technologies like Smartphones, Ubiquitous broadband and cloud Computing.

Studies world over have established the correlation between penetration of Smart Phones and other mobility devices and Smart Homes. In one such study, it was seen that more than 85% of people owning any of the various kinds of mobility devices like Smartphones, routers, laptops etc were aware of Smart Homes, and over 60% of them actually want some form of home automation. This correlation conveys a very strong message that the Smart Home market adoption will see a huge jump.

The fast paced lifestyle these days require additional help in enabling better safety, security and comfort for your life, and Home Automation is definitely one such thing which can play a big role in simplifying your life. There has been a sea change in which it is now being brought to the consumer, call it Smart Home 2.0 , which has made it very affordable and simple to use. Several people are going for it and we see the trend increasing over a period of time.

The writer is Mr. Avinash K Gautam, CEO, Silvan Innovation Labs, Bengaluru.

 

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