Internet of Things (IoT) for Smart Home

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Hi Folks!

Data is the oil of the 21st century. But oil is just useless thick goop until you refine it into fuel. And it’s this fuel – proprietary algorithms that solve specific problems that translate into actions – that will be the secret sauce of successful organizations in the future.

Peter Sondergarrd

Gartner

            Internet of Things (IoT) is an emerging technology that is making our world smarter. The idea of connected world cannot be imagined without IoT. An IoT based Smart Home is one such example. In IoT enabled Smart Home environment various things such as lighting, home appliances, computers, security camera, etc. All are connected to the Internet and allowing user to monitor and control things regardless of time and location constraints.

            A smart home also referred to as a connected home or eHome is an environtment for living that has highly advanced automatic systems. A smart home appears “intelligent” because its daily activities are monitored by a computer. A smart home consists of many technologies via home networking for improving quality of living. A smart home is a place that has highly advanced automatic systems for controlling and monitoring lighting and temperature, home appliances, multi-media equipment, and security systems and many other function.

            A smart home system consists of applications built on top of IoT infrastructure. The smart home applications can have following main functions. The following function is:

  1. Alert

The alert consists of information related to environmental data. This information may include level of different gases in the environtment, temperature, humidity, light intensity, etc. Alert may be sent to user on regular basis at predefined time. Alert may be sent over email, as a text message, through tweets or through any other social media.

Scenario:

The consumer is Arsya, a mid-career private investigator who lives by herself in  regional town in Australia, reguraly drives to Melbourne and flies to Sydney to meet with clients. Most of her work involves insurance fraud although she is often asked to track cheating spouses. Because she travels quite a bit, and meets a lot of unusual people in her line of work, Arsya is worried about leaving her home unatended. Knowing the benefits of surveillance tools, she believes that installing IoT devices would offer some peace of mind. As a sole occupier who desires home security, Arsya buys three IoT devices:

  1. A Belkin motion sensor to detect movements inside her house;
  2. TP-Link indoor an outdoor motion sensor cameras; and
  3. A Nest smoke alarm to send alerts to her smartphone in case of fire.
  • Monitor

A smart home is capable of monitoring its surrounding with the help of various sensors and camera feed. Monitoring is an important function as it keep track to every activity in a smart home which is the primary need on bsis of which any further action can be taken or decision can be made. For example monitoring room temperature is above threshold.

Scenario:

The IoT device users are Tulus and Sari, an elderly couple who live in the inner city. Sari is a bit hard of hearing, wears a pacemaker, and has respiratory difficulties. She is not a regular user of the Internet. Tylus has some mobility problems and relies on his medical-alert device when he’s away from home. Sari was playing bowls (lawn bowling) the last time he had a fall, and it took hours before he could get help. Their son, Raja, who lives with his family on the Gold Coast 100-km away, wants a way to monitor his parents’ wlfare more thoroughly than checking in on Skype every couple of days. He has installed a number of IoT devices in their home to allow him to keep a virtual eye on Tulus and Sari’s health and wellbeing. These devices are:

  1. Blipcare blood pressure monitor, which sends readings to the web for Raja to check;
  2. Withings weighing scale;
  3. Withings sleep monitor;
  4. Awair air quality monitor; and
  5. Netatmo weather station
  • Control

This function of smart home allows user to control different activities. The activities may include switching on/off lights, air-conditioner, and appliances, lock/unlock doors, open/close windows and doors and many more. User can control things from same place or from remote location. Yhis function even allows user to automate activity such as automatically switch on/off air-conditioner when room temperature high/low.

Scenario:

Yanto and  Novi live in Sydney’s suburbs. They know they have to cool their west-facing house in summer. Although they’ve trained their three growing children to moderate their electricity usage, it still feels like they’re in a losing battle against the large electricity bill that arrives every quarter. While shopping for smart devices intended for use around the home, they also bought an interactive doll for their youngest child. The cute doll has a microphone that “listens” to the child, and replies in a manner similiar to Apple’s Siri. Their purchases included:

  1. A mix of LIFX and Philips Hue light bulbs for remote-control lighting;
  2. A TP-Link power switch to control their appliances; and
  3. A Hello Barbie talking doll
  • Intelligence

Intelligence or Home Intelligence (HI) is the most significant function of smart home and refers to intelligent behaviour of thhe smart-home environment. This function is related to automatically making decision on accurence of various events. HI depends upon the Artificial Intelligence (AI) mechanism built in the smart home environment. HI does not only give brain to smart home but it is also very important for security point of view in a home.

HI creates an integrated environment in the smart home in which the AI mechanism can identify and suitably react according to changing conditions and events. By identifying abnormal or unexpected events HI can alert user and provide an immediate automatic response if desired. Some scenarios for illustration are automatically prepare coffe as soon as user arrives, send alerts to user whenever suspected acttivity is detected at door or inside home, automatically orser stuff whenever there is a shortage in refrigetator, sending notification to electrician/plumber whenever maintenance is needed etc.

            The proposed system is very helpful in monitoring and controlling smart home environment. Using this system air quality can be continously monitored in home and alerts can be sent to user about health risks if any.

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