Bridging the gap between home automation and the enduser

Abhigyan Singh 11th Feb 2019

The very prospect of a smart home  has always been like something out of a futuristic dream. However, has the dream turned into a reality? Read on to know more.

Why do you need a smart home?

The fundamental principle behind home automation is to ensure user convenience and enhanced safety. The best way to ensure the same is to automate the entire house in one go, so that the connection is a single seamless, integrated structure.

How does the IoT enable a smart home?

The IoT involves connecting devices that go merely beyond standard equipment such as laptops and smart phones. Using technology, the IoT can connect these devices with home equipment such  as  fridges  and  security  cameras.  Home  automation  consists  of  a  unified  network  of communication protocol, hardware, as well as software and related apps. When a smart home is connected via the Internet, the home devices installed therein become an integral part of the IoT.

Process description

Most people tend to put together a piecemeal version of a home automated system, i.e. while there may be a variety of smart devices around the home, they may not be connected to each other. This makes  automation more  challenging, since  multiple interfaces may  be  required to communicate in tandem with all devices.

Home Assistant, an open source home automation project, can put things into perspective here. Being   a   platform-agnostic   hub,   it   can   help   build   a   single,   robust   interface   to   ensure communication  across  devices.  The  Watson  IoT  Platform  further  enhances  the  process  by ensuring complete access to data from these devices. Additionally, the Platform allows analytics to be run on this information.

The Watson IoT Platform is a tool that provides access to IoT devices. It can also help source data that can be utilised to put together analytics applications, mobile IoT apps as well as visualisation dashboards.

It is imperative to have a single, unified home automation system so that all devices in a smart home may be linked together.

Given below are two ways to connect the Watson IoT Platform and Home Assistant:

  1. Leveraging Home  Assistant’s  built-in  MQTT  support  and  writing  rules  to  publish  to

Watson IoT platform on device updates.

  1. Writing a custom module to seamlessly publish devices updates from Home Assistant to

Watson IoT platform.

Once  the  code  pattern  for  both  Home  Assistant  and  the  Watson  IoT  Platform  have  been completed, a developer will be able to:

Set up and run Home Assistant

Create an instance of the Watson IoT Platform

Add devices to this Platform

Ensure that Home Assistant can report information to the Platform

Process flow

Given below is the process flow that can be used to establish the code pattern.

process flow

  1. Install and use the Home Assistant web or mobile interface to configure Home Assistant.
  2. Connect the IoT devices, IoT hubs, and cloud services to Home Assistant.
  3. Set up Watson IoT Platform.
  4. Create the  Watson  IoT  Platform  internal  gateway  device  so  that  Home  Assistant  can communicate with Watson IoT Platform.
  5. Connect Home Assistant to Watson IoT Platform.

Instructions

Now that the code pattern is in place, here are complete details on how to get started on using this application. Access the README file for detailed information.

Applications of a unified home automation system

The benefits of a smart home are manifold. While control and convenience are obvious elements, it can also increase the safety and security for the home user.

One of the significant consumer applications include senior convenience, wherein a home can be unified in order to accommodate a wheelchair, for instance, or voice activated alert systems as well as cameras with two-way communication. This helps families stay connected with elderly relatives or those with disabilities when it is not possible to check on them physically on a regular basis. This technology facilitates freedom and a better quality of life for users, as well as the ability to stay on top of things for their caregivers.

The future is yours

Once the primary goal for automating a home has been identified by a user, a list of things to be incorporated can be drawn up. This can then be put together seamlessly using the technology mentioned.

The future holds exciting developments such as using wireless technology and touch screens to build a unified home automation system. The day is not far when a central unit can be engineered to command every smart device in a home. This ensures that globally, we as a people become smarter and stay safer.

Reference : https://ibm.co/2C1Vi1d

Authored By Abhigyan Singh

He is a continuous blogger and has blogged on different topic. He loves to surf Internet and always trying to get new Idea about new Technology and Innovations and sharing these great information to all the technology lovers.

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