Have you ever heard of a smart home system? A modern home is, on the one hand, a home with a modern design, on the other hand, a home equipped with a range of modern electronic equipment. However, flat-screen TVs, touch-operated screens, and wireless connectivity between appliances are no longer the most important markers of modernity today.
We are now moving toward understanding modernity through the prism of intelligence – a modern home is one that is also intelligent. What does this mean? What are smart home systems and what are the benefits of introducing them into your life?
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Intelligent, meaning what kind of intelligent?
What does it mean to be intelligent? The definition suggests that an intelligent person is one who can efficiently use cognitive activities such as thinking, reacting to changes, adapting to them, and solving problems. It is a person who is able to apply his knowledge and skills very well to the situations he finds himself in. And what does smart mean in the context of a home? An intelligent home is a place where all the mechanisms and systems work very well together and take care of many tasks for a person – anticipating his expectations and needs, as it were. This intelligence is, of course, based on advanced technology.
The smart home works on the basis of the BMS (Building Management System). The solution was transferred to private homes from the office space. Its original purpose was to support environmentally friendly activities. Today, technology is also conducive to the environment, but its main goal is to improve the comfort of the people who use it.
A smart home system is, in simplest terms, a network of sensors distributed throughout the house, which are hooked up to a central management system. This system independently makes all sorts of decisions, such as tilting windows, starting lawn irrigation in front of the house, or activating fire protection. The system reacts to certain signals that reach it and respond with appropriately programmed responses.
As an indication of how advanced the system is, let’s also say that it can control air conditioning based on humidity and room temperature, or send notifications to the owner’s phone when it detects movement in the house in his absence.
A smart home is based on intelligent electrical installations that combine all the systems available in a building into a single system. In a traditional installation, each system – e.g. heating, lighting, ventilation, entrance gates – operates separately and cannot be interconnected. So what is the advantage of a home with a smart electrical system? In such a home, all connected devices can be controlled with a single remote control, a device (such as a smartphone), or even a single button.
How much does a smart home cost?
Although it seems to be available only to a select few, the reality is that the price of a smart home system becomes less prohibitive with each passing year. It is difficult to determine specific amounts, because a smart building system is not one predetermined product that sits on a store shelf waiting to be purchased. The system adapts to the needs of the individual user each time. It may have only basic functions, but it can be expanded to include individual additional functions. This means that a building automation system can cost as much as a few thousand zlotys or dozens. For example, a system that controls lighting, heating, air conditioning/ventilation, and blinds on windows would cost between $100 and $200 per square meter of house.
Why invest in a smart home?
What are the benefits of using a smart home system? Is it all about living in comfort and luxury? If it were, only the wealthiest people would decide to install automation. Meanwhile, the idea of manufacturers is to make the home management system available to an increasingly wide audience. Smart homes thus have a number of advantages attractive to virtually everyone.
Let’s start with the aforementioned convenience. Is it really an unnecessary luxury for rich people? Not necessarily. Nowadays, it’s something that everyone needs and is due to everyone. We live in a time where responsibilities only increase, so relieving the burden of fulfilling some of them is at a premium.
Since the system takes over some of our duties, we save time. For example, instead of vacuuming the house, you can give a voice command, to which the robotic vacuum cleaner will respond. Instead of checking every quarter of an hour to see if the laundry is done, you can occupy yourself with something else, because you will receive a notification… via the light of the lamps in the living room. Such a benefit will be appreciated especially by owners of large houses, where the living room and laundry room are separated by a considerable distance.
This is certainly not the most important, but a very pleasant advantage. Thanks to building automation, your home becomes “one level higher”. It inspires admiration and allows you to shine in the company.
A smart home is ecological. Why? Because it allows you to use your home appliances in a more sustainable way, thus consuming less electricity. Depending on the level of sophistication, the system gives you the opportunity to use renewable energy sources and even create a home with energy-efficient or even passive status.
Since building automation saves electricity, it thus saves on bills. This is one of the most important benefits.
The system’s sensors will detect even the smallest symptoms associated with a smoldering fire, respond by closing windows in case of rain or strong wind, increase ventilation when they sense carbon monoxide in the air, and alert you when they detect a burglary threat.
To reduce the cost of a smart home, it is advisable to plan it already at the stage of house construction. Then you can immediately distribute a smart electrical system in the building, which gives you many more options than a system installed in an already existing building with traditional electrical wiring. At the stage of house construction, you can plan the automation in your house in great detail, even taking into account separate controls for literally every light bulb.
How can a smart home protect against theft?
If you want full control over who enters your property, you can grant access to specific people. Are you away and a gardener needs to take care of your garden once a week? Give him a unique PIN that will allow him to enter.
Smart home vs. insurance – what is worth knowing?
Building automation systems appear to be an excellent security feature for the home. What more could you want? Well, like any technology, this one too can be unreliable. What does this mean? That the system can also be hacked into. The more expensive and advanced it is, the more difficult it is, but not impossible. And the system’s devices collect a lot of data, the theft of which can reduce the security of the house to zero. The worst part is that you don’t have to know about the theft at all. The cybercriminal will use the stolen data at the most convenient moment for him, so that it will be as painful as possible for you and give him the highest possible profit.
Does this mean that a smart home system is dangerous and does more harm than good? Absolutely not – it’s just a matter of applying a healthy principle of limited trust to it.
“If you want to enjoy the myriad benefits of a smart home with peace of mind, and be confident in its safety, take extra precautions with property insurance.”
That’s fine, but it raises another question: why install such an expensive automation system if you have to add support it with insurance anyway? It’s worth looking at it as a two-stage, mutually complementary home security measure. After all, the automation system prevents a burglar from invading your home, while home insurance protects you from the consequences of a situation in which a criminal has nevertheless managed to wreak havoc (and the consequences of many other contingencies). Not only that – smart building devices such as a wireless alarm with a camera make it easier to identify what really happened during a break-in. You can use them when filing a claim with Allianz – then the estimation of losses and payment of compensation will go more smoothly. Smart home and insurance combined to act as the most effective guardian of your peace of mind and living comfort.
A smart home system is a wonderful technology that brings home life to a completely different and better level. Running your home is easier, cheaper, more environmentally friendly, and safer. Remember, however, that automation is not everything, and despite its application in your home, it is not worth sacrificing your home and apartment insurance.