Your Home Can Be Smart Even When You’re Away

Cyberhomes project Country Retreat Oxshott | Whole house lighting control

We’ve all been there. You’re half way to the airport when a thought springs to mind… …did I leave the bedroom window open, did I leave the lights on in the dining room, did I leave the radio on in the kitchen or worse, did I leave the iron on in the utility room. You try to put the thought out of your mind but it continues to nag away at you. You’ve no option to turn around and double-check. Even if everything turns out to be ok you’re no running late for your flight.

How Could a Smart Home Help?

A smart home where all your home’s technology is integrated into a single control system allows easy control and automation of all our devices. Yet you don’t have to be at home to take advantage of this integration. As long as your smartphone has an internet connection you can remotely monitor and control your home.

Lights left on, no problem—you can check the status of all the lights throughout the home and if you’ve left lights on by mistake then simply remotely turn them off.

Window left open—the window sensors used for your intruder alarm can also provide feedback on whether or not a window is open so you can confirm that all is well.

Iron left on—energy consumption monitoring allows you to see how much energy your home is currently using so you can get an indication that a high-power device is in use. With network-enabled sockets you could also remotely turn these off.

Music playing, no problem—simply turn it off remotely.

More Away-from-home Automation

Most quality CCTV systems will allow you to remotely view the live camera feeds; but when they are integrated into your home’s other technology then they become more effective. Motion detected outside?… …all the home’s perimeter lighting can be automatically turned on to ensure the cameras get a good image. In the unfortunate event of a fire breaking out while you are away, the system can automatically open driveway gates and lock them open to ensure fire tenders are not hindered in their access.

With all the sensors fed into the home automation system and all the control actions available; custom functionality can easily be created to suit a home owner’s requirements and concerns.

Occupancy Simulation

Turning things off remotely that you’ve accidentally left on is one thing; but you might also what your home to automatically turn things on too. Security lighting timers are commonplace, but the odd light randomly turning on or off doesn’t really fool anyone. With an integrated home, your control system can ‘record’ all the activity in the home for a week or more. Then when you are away it can replay this, truly making the house look occupied. That doesn’t have to be just lighting, it could also turn on and off TVs as your normally use them; trigger water sprinklers and other activities that would convince any potential no-gooder that that the house isn’t empty.

One Touch Security

You don’t have to think about setting all these systems live when you go away. A simple ‘vacation mode’ can be programmed in to your Control4, Savant Pro or Crestron control system. As you leave the house simply tap the ‘Vacation’ button by the front door. The system can then:

  • Confirm that all windows and doors are closed
  • Lock all external doors
  • Turn down the heating
  • Activate the intruder alarm
  • Start recording additional CCTV cameras (eg internal cameras)
  • Turn off all audio and TVs
  • Turn off interior lights and turn on driveway lighting
  • Activate occupancy simulation mode
  • Send an alert to your smart watch confirming the house is secure

When you return home simply cancel vacation mode and the house returns to normal use—easy!

Posted by
on 24 May 2019
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