Home automation systems are here to help you balance your daily chores. A look by Ranjani Govind

Club house, gym, library, swimming pools, kids' play-areas….everything sounds passé. They are features necessarily there today, but perhaps with increased earning, changing lifestyles and technology offering solutions, it's not enough to have homes and apartments with stylish amenities. They literally have to mean being smart where dreary brick and mortar structures are actually clothed with intelligence to feel and bring about the smartness. We are coming to the subject of smart home automation systems wherein ‘programmed comfort' could soon be a mantra to be associated with.

Silvan Innovation Labs, a Bangalore-based electronic product design and system integration company, specialises in components for IP-based video surveillance and home automation systems. Says M. Giridhar Krishna, CEO, Silvan Innovation Labs, “Our components are designed for the Indian conditions and the technology addresses three basic needs of the home-owner: safety, comfort and efficiency. Hurried lifestyles bring increased safety concerns. And this is the reason we are often seeing well-earning youngsters taking to cutting-edge technologies that look beyond traditional facilities in apartments. “

And what do these automation systems speak of? Explains Mr. Giridhar, “A visitor management system lets you see and talk to your maid before you open the door through your smart home system. If you are not at home, the video door bell bridges to your cellphone so that you can still talk to the maid and she need not know where you are!”

The video security system, on the other hand, helps you monitor what is going on in your home through cameras which can send video feeds directly to your cellphone and also store events locally so that you have a record of the footage which can be reviewed later, he explains. Finally, you can programme the security system to send you an SMS when the maid leaves after her work.

While personal devices plugged in so often can be ‘intelligently' monitored by the smart home system to save electricity, reports too can be generated for checking abnormal usage of electricity. “One can take action at home based on these reports where we see a reduction of 25-30 per cent per month with such a system.”

Cost factors

Says Giridhar, “A complete smart home system with visitor management, video security, access control and entertainment system modules will contribute to less than 10 per cent of the total cost of a new home. It used to be a high-end home fancy until recently but once we brought the price down, average middle income families too have started evincing interest. We expect the market to be huge in the next five years as large builders would be interested in standard packages. Our complete system can cost anywhere from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh. Home owners are already seeing the benefits of increased security with door intrusion detection, and the ability to see the visitor at the building entrance from within homes. The remote appliance control is especially being appreciated.”

Safety aspects

The safety aspects are handled by integrating surveillance cameras and an array of electronic sensors like door intrusion detectors, motion sensors, gas leak detectors, glass-shatter detectors, fire detectors, panic switch etc into the home, based on the specific needs.

Upon detection of an event like door intrusion or a gas leak, your Smart Home system will raise an alarm and inform a pre-programmed set of people so that appropriate action can be initiated.

A visitor management system lets you see and talk to your visitor before you decide to open the door, either by yourself or remotely through your Smart Home system. You can monitor what is going on in your home through cameras which can send video feeds to your cellphone.

When to install?

Companies like Silvan Labs work closely with customers to understand their safety and lifestyle needs and offer customised solutions. The best time to plan a Smart Home System is when your house is under construction, and when you have flexibility to plan the wirings required for such a system.

If you are already living in a house, there are other options to handle that without needing to do too much of re-wiring. Going wireless is one way, but it does not always work in India as concrete in homes makes wireless connectivity unstable. “Power Line Carrier technology utilises the electrical wiring already in place in your home to transmit some of the signals need for home automation,” says Giridhar.

Call 080 4126 3541 for more details from Silvan Labs

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