With every 007 movie you watch, do you picture yourself owning high-tech gadgets like the cigarette cyanide or the Rolex watch that performs more than one uber cool function at the click of a button?
This fantasy, in the past decade, has somewhat come true in the form of home automation systems as new-age homes in the city are coming fully loaded with electrical panel to control all electrical appliances and gadgets with a central console or tablet.
Smart homes equipped with special wiring that enables homeowners to control and manage everything from lighting to appliances, heating and cooling, security and entertainment devices with a single electronic appliance such as a touch-screen around the house, a web browser, PC or a mobile phone has become the new fad.
In 2011, the Tardeo-based Sharma family was renovating their home and changed the way they operated their electrical appliances and gadgets. “I always complained that the upholstery on our sofas would fade due to afternoon sunlight. When we got the home automated, I set a daily timer to draw the curtains at 3 pm. Now, I don’t need to even remember to draw the curtains. It just happens automatically,” says 39-year-old Swati Sharma, a garment exporter.
How it works
The home automation system gives the user control over the technology in his/her home via a central, and often wall-mounted, control panel linked to a remote control or smart phone. From controlling the temperature in the house, lighting, music, Internet, television and home cinema, everything is possible at the touch of a button, without having to walk from room to room.
“The optimal time to automate is when you are either building a home or re-modelling so that you can conceal cables and systems around your décor,” explains Sanjiv Malvi, who started Home Intelligence India Pvt Ltd along with Jai Sheth. Such systems, whose price range starts from Rs 2 lakh, is completely scalable. More devices and home appliances can be added to the home automation network as and when required. The system provides homeowners a sense of security, safety, comfort, energy efficiency and above all convenience at all times, home- automation systems are imparting enormous value-addition to consumers today.
According to Umesh Rao, founder CEO, Vector Projects, the easy-to-use interface helps users to set or change various scenarios such as arm/disarm mode, sleep mode, wake up mode, and movie mode according to their habits or preference. “This enables them to control all home devices with one click. The biggest advantage of home automation systems is tailor-made services that have proved to be a big hit amongst end-users.”
With the timers in place, the automation system also saves electricity. “Home automation silently blends into the design and allows buyers to save money, be more environmentally aware, and enjoy a variety of conveniences that make homes easier and less expensive to maintain. Home automation definitely improves the functionality as the single touch of button can perform a lot of functions,” says interior designer Ankush Aggarwal.
Safe and secure
The security settings in the system are another interesting feature. The consumer can select and watch cameras feeds live from an Internet source to their home or business. “The security cameras can be controlled, allowing the user to observe activity around a house or business using the monitor or touch panel. Security systems can include motion sensors that will detect any kind of unauthorised movement and notify the user through the security system or via cell phone,” Aggarwal adds.
For senior citizens and children such security systems are a boon because these have of detectors integrated into one network which allows monitoring and control motion sensors, magnetic door/ window contact and security cameras of interiors and exteriors with ease, using smartphones, tablets or laptops. It even alerts you in the event of a security breach so that you can immediately call for help, explains Jai Sheth, Home Intelligence India Pvt. Ltd.
A sharp rise in disposable income coupled with aspirations to lead a luxurious life has led to consumers becoming more conscious of the facilities provided in their homes. This has given rise to high-end technology enhanced services and amenities provided by developers. “Home automation is becoming a mandatory feature in all upscale projects coming up across the city. The new-age Indian customer is on the lookout for smart home network solutions that provide an entire range of utility services on an automated platform that may be linked to a telephone or the Internet,” says Sarita Mantri of Mantri Realty, who has such ongoing projects in Malabar Hill, Sewri and Marine Drive. “This equipment allows owners real-time control over almost all functions in the house and, at the same time, ensures that their house is secured and burglary-proof in their absence,” adds Mantri.
Rustomjee Builders offer clients an array of automation in their luxe project, Rustomjee Elements. The terraces and decks are installed with intelligent louvers that help control the amount of sunlight into the apartments to iPad controlled home automation, which allows the owner to change the settings of the house on the screen.
“Today, there is focus on creating intelligent living spaces through latest gadgets and technology. Digital locks, electronic surveillance systems, temperature control, wireless communication for Internet and in-house entertainment are common in most luxury homes. Developers are using systems with sensors to enable residents to control ambience, light and temperature, among other things, through pre-programmed machines. These homes are intelligent enough to sense human presence and accordingly adjust light and temperature,” says Percy S Chowdhry, director, Rustomjee.
Many companies such as iLiving-Lifestyle Automation Solutions by Eureka Forbes, which was launched last year, brings a one-touch integrated control over a wide range of home appliances to the users, making it easier to keep an eye on the house while away. “If a child or senior citizen is alone at home, the system helps you monitor them when you leave the house,” says Marzin Shroff, CEO-direct sales and senior vice president-marketing, Eureka Forbes Limited.
While the Sharma family has brought the control of their home into one single remote, industry experts say the concept of home automation system can only get better, with new technologies being introduced regularly.