Bringing technology home

Bringing technology home


Bringing technology home

Smart homes: Solutions such as auto clean technology (Kutchina) and Fenesta’s window have driven home the importance of comfort living.

Imagine being able to remotely control or programme an array of automated home electronic devices by entering a single command through mobile phone or Internet from anywhere. Imagine also being able to manage all devices at home including curtains, TV, video, security system, lighting and air conditioning using a mobile phone or internet from any place around the world. As improbable as this may sound, smart homes have made this a reality.

Technology rules

In today’s scenario, smart homes use cutting-edge technology to redefine the comfort of home.

Increased penetration of broadband has launched a slew of IP-based technology products. Smart homes are all about deploying technology to handle safety and security, visitor management and lifestyle aspects of the home owner.

“For safety and security, electronic sensors detect events like intrusion, gas leak, panic etc and alert the system to initiate a series of responses like raising an alarm, switching on lights, alerting a set of people on cellphone. For visitor management, a door camera at the door allows the home owner to see and talk to the visitor before he opens the door.

Changing lifestyles

The lifestyle aspect of the system allows the home owner to control lights, scenarios, electrical gadgets at the touch of a panel within the home, or remotely through any Internet connected device or cellphone,” opines Avinash Gautam, VP, Security and Automation, Silvan Innovation Labs Pvt. Ltd.

Adds Amol Kalsekar, Programme Manager, Building Construction Solutions, International Copper Promotion Council, India, “a smart wired home is one which has a structured cabling infrastructure installed as part of the base build, with all necessary termination hardware and connectivity provisions to enable seamless delivery and integration of the various systems and services as voice, data, video, security, automation, building management services.

This shall also include hardware and provision for administration of the cabling infrastructure to facilitate flexible and convenient access to all services within the home and managing the same efficiently.” In the domain of security and surveillance, the trend is now towards digital, network enabled cameras, rather than the older analog ones.

“Axis Communications offers network enabled (IP network) surveillance cameras that can enable a person to receive image and video intrusion alerts on their email and mobile phones which is a particularly helpful feature in large buildings and infrastructure projects. Axis also offers surveillance solutions such as Intelligent Video (IV), which includes Video Analytics (VA) that help cameras detect camera tampering attempts such as blocking or spray-painting and alert the required person,” says Oh Tee Lee, Regional Director, South Asia Pacific Region, Axis Communications.


The new-age customer prefers security products, home automation products, mood-lighting and scenario products that can be controlled through a mobile phone or computer. Light sensors that sense extent of light and presence of human movement either through cutting of laser or through warmth increase in temperature due to body warmth are very popular these days. Automatic pump operation based on sensing of water levels avoids the hassle of people panicking when they have to scramble to the pump switch whenever water runs out of storage tanks.

“Homes could have sensors that catch and display data on energy consumed, water consumed, temperature outside and inside spaces, relative humidity, rainfall and say, maybe light falling on surfaces, provides important data to the viewers, making them more intelligent about their environments and offering them base for intelligent choice, instead of blindly living life without knowing the extent of energy that gets siphoned off with each of their activities,” says Anuradha Eswar, Chief Suitability Officer, BCIL Zed Homes. Eureka Forbes’ recently launched the Infinity Home Automation System.

Technology for security

The intrusion and alarm feature in the product provides protection through various kinds of detectors, including motion detector, gas/fire sensor, magnetic contact.

“In the event of any security breach the Central Monitoring Station is alerted. Also the home owner can be alerted of any danger through phone call and email.

The highlight of the product is the integrated control that it offers at the tip of your fingers. The system provides temperature, lights, curtain, air-conditioner and home appliances control all through a touch pad or your mobile phone.

This means you can switch your lights on/off or adjust its brightness while watching television. Or your curtains can be on or off to suit the mood of your room. This integrated control also allows switching your air conditioner on/off, mode control, temp control and fan control,” says Marzin R. Shroff, CEO – Direct Sales and Sr. Vice President – Marketing, Eureka Forbes.

Products galore

Recently, Honeywell launched its latest innovation the 10.2-inch Home Gateway LCD Display Panel and the 2nd Generation Wireless Smart Lighting Control Series.

The solution provides intelligent mobile control at home, in the office or on the go. With just a fingertip tap of any Wi-Fi device like Apple’s iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or any smart phone, PC or netbook, homeowners can control home temperature, ventilation, lighting, curtains, elevator and other home appliances, making life highly convenient and comfortable, while saving energy.

Another new innovation  by Honeywell is the TCP / IP based Video Door Phone System IS-6500 for high-end property complexes visitor management, security protection, intercom, message service and elevator control.

Technology in bathrooms is a reality too. Kohler has introduced its most advanced toilet - NUMI, a distinctive product blended with personal technology with an interface provides an easy-to-use experience for just about any member of the family. “This is a vitreous china toilet with an array of electronics embedded into it and breaks the mould with its entirely new visual and technical language. It also has a docking station which automatically charges this user interface.

Also the user has a choice of music that can be played by connecting to the audio inputs and the speakers provided with the NUMI,” says Vikas Gupta, President, Kohler Kitchen & Bath India.

Take it into the kitchen!

Likewise Kutchina is the first to have introduced auto clean technology, making contemporary Indian cooking a lifestyle experience. The auto clean technology with filter-free oil collection system, is a dynamic concept conforming to industrial standards with a combination of modern technology and innovation. Kutchina chimneys eliminate the hassle of cleaning the filter manually.

Opportunities and more

Recent studies forecast the global smart homes will touch $13.4 billion by 2014, growing at a CAGR of 16.5% from 2009 to 2014. The smart home automation ecosystem today focuses primarily on entertainment and utility management, giving users real-time control over almost all the mechanisms in the house. Almost all home devices come equipped with smart cards and wireless connectivity functions.

“Set Top boxes are becoming ‘wireless smart’ and equipped with wireless SIM and modem enabling connectivity with mobile phones and other portable devices.
Users can use their smartphones to program the STB –select viewership packages, recharge their accounts and enable digital video recording of favourite television programs, whether the user is at home or at office. Users can also monitor their children’s television viewing patterns and preferences.

The result is smart, real-time user control over virtually every mechanism in the house. The goal of this interconnected Web of actions is a smarter, more energy efficient home tailored to the homeowner’s lifestyle,” says Samartha Raghava Nagabhushanam, Founder & CEO, Smart Sky Electronics & Research Pvt. Ltd.

A green lifestyle home can automatically adjust temperature and lights when a user enters or exits a room. Alternatively the user can predefine lighting intensity and temperature levels throughout the day – all this via a portable device or smart phone.

GTM Research predicts the market for home area networks and home energy management will grow almost 90 per cent between 2011 and 2015, resulting in a $750 million market by 2015. Smart Home solutions today aim to significantly reduce the amount of energy that a user consumes integrating lighting, temperature, and security with a central control system that automatically adjusts to user needs.

This can result in lower electricity. Fenesta has taken a lead in designing windows that suit India’s unique climate. 

The Environmental Protection Agency says an average household spends over 40 percent of its annual energy budget on heating and cooling costs. Says Sandeep Mathur Business Head Fenesta Building Systems, “the windows not only conserve energy increasing the effectiveness of air conditioning, they are recyclable and don’t require any maintenance over the entire life time.

Office buildings now account for about one-third of all the energy used, a quarter of which is lost through the inefficiency of standard windows to retain heat in the winter or deflect heat in the summer.

“But new ‘smart’ window technology is poised to change that.
“While regular glass allows the sunlight as well as the heat enter the rooms the new smart windows just allows the sunlight to enter homes without allowing the heat inside. The cooling of the air-conditioners is trapped inside the room for long hours hence conserving energy at the same time.”

Realtor angle

Whether it is digital door lock with finger print authentication, smart card based access to homes, or Video Door Phones (to scan visitors), several builders are incorporating these measures into their homes. Total Environment offers some of the latest technologies that allow customers to monitor their homes from anywhere. "Some of the technologies we offer include entertainment, comfort, visitor management, health management and most importantly security. These systems can be monitored from anywhere in the world.

State-of-the-art home automation systems make interaction with homes seamless and a pleasurable experience apart from the fact that they add to the efficiency of the homes.
So homeowners can now use their smart-phones or tablet computers to manage their home automation systems from anywhere — at the office, while traveling, or at home,” says Balaji, Head - Services Team, Total Environment. Homes of the future will know the way people live and will adjust to their needs.

According to T Chitty Babu, Chairman and CEO, Akshaya Homes, “the most important benefit is the convenience that smart homes provide. One can control the temperature in the home, dim lights, control the volume of the audio video system from any room, heaters in the bathroom can be programmed to come on automatically at any pre defined time so that the water is warm when you enter.” A smart home gives its residents the luxury of electronically monitoring every corner of their house from any location at any given point of time. Using a compact video touch panel or a computer or even your mobile phone, you can manage your home theatre, security, air-conditioning, heating in your swimming pool, lighting, lawn sprinklers and much more.

“There is constantly new technology which upgrades the already existing one. With new age security systems, the smart home has become “smarter” and so has the resident.
With complete automation and advanced security the smart home provides its residents complete control and the ultimate luxury experience,” says Dr. Sanjiv Aundhe, COO, The Empyrean Township Project.

Adds Jai Ganesh, Vice President, Marketing & Sales, Pashmina Builders and Developers Pvt. Ltd, “these are managed through Integrated Building Management Systems (IBMS) with the console setup at the ground level.”
Time to make the smart choice!

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