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Home Automation

There’s a new kid on the block called “home automation”. An article written by Antonella Desi defines home automation as “anything that gives you remote or automatic control of things around the home. A home automation system amalgamates two or more subsystems under the control of one central controller, so that at a press of a button, the homeowner can quickly and simply issue several commands to a variety of different electronic products.

The main objective of home automation is to give the home owner a sense of comfort, convenience and security. As with anything in life there are some pros and cons to adopting this worldwide phenomenon that we have listed below:

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Pro

Smart home programs can be customized to suit your needs. This makes it easy to use even for the most technologically-challenged person. It is however imperative that a reputable specialist is contracted to execute home automation because it can be disastrous if the wrong programming is used. In a nutshell, it can make life a living hell if corners are cut when executing the program.

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Con

The start-up costs are expensive especially if the home already exists. For example, basic controls and light switches may need to be substituted with “smart” controls that will be programmed to run the software that automate the home. A normal light switch may cost about R80-00 whereas a “smart” light switch would cost upwards of R400-00.

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Pro

Although the initial start-up costs are high, in the long run home automation systems are designed to use minimal electricity. Furthermore, you can manipulate the system so that lighting in your home turns on and off at selected times of the day. Using a remote device, you’ll have remote access to operate any lighting or electrical appliances which include switching on/off the pool pump at certain times of the day, opening and closing curtains or blinds and gardening irrigation.

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Con

The wireless signals for home automation can sporadically be intercepted by compound electronic devices such as televisions and computers. This may lead to phantom and weak signals as well as unreliable operation. Also, additional electronic devices added to a smart home can potentially cause problems with the existing wireless home automation.

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Pro

Home automation can be dubbed as your new best friend. It reacts to changes intelligently, like switching on the lights when you enter a room and setting them to suit your mood, or heating the building only when it is occupied. It can also be connected to home cinema systems and with a single remote you can turn on a projector, lower the screen, dim the lights, activate the sound system and start a media source.

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Con

Technology changes rapidly and the chances of obsolescence are very high and thus will need to update and upgrade the automation systems on a regular basis which could be quite costly in terms of time and money.

Whether or not you are inclined toward all things technological, it seems home automation is here to stay. For now, it is still an option to automate your home but it is predicted that in less than two decades an automated home will not be a concept used by the ‘Jones’’ but will become an integral part of our day-to-day living.