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In 1923, Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier described a house as ‘a machine for living in.’ Corbusier, who was mocked for his description at the time, went on to become a pioneer in the field of modern architecture and urban planning and inspired architects all over the world, to provide better living conditions for residents of crowded cities. Over the last couple of decades, the concept of housing has undergone revolutionary changes.
The role of technology in real estate
Technology has altered the dynamics of the housing industry and has been at the forefront of most of these changes. From demand-supply and service offerings, to capital appreciation and beyond, technology has been highly influential in shaping the needs of people. Nowadays, home buyers place greater emphasis on improving their standard of living and simplifying their housing needs. As a result, the concept of ‘smart homes’ has become popular in recent times. While most of us are familiar with the term, it is interchangeably and indistinctly used with ‘home automation.’ Not many people are aware that there is a thin difference between smart homes and home automation. So, if you are aiming to upgrade your living space with modern technologies, or planning to acquire a new home altogether, it becomes imperative to understand the functionality of both – home automation and smart home technology.
How are smart homes different from homes with automation
A smart home comprises of various features and technologies that are interconnected by the Internet of Things (IoT). The devices in such a home are ‘smart’, in the sense that they use microprocessors, sensors and software that run autonomously and are capable of performing multiple actions. In a smart home, all the interconnected devices communicate with each other. An interesting aspect of smart homes, is the ability of the systems and devices to work in-sync with each other and communicate with you, irrespective of whether you are inside the house or outside. These systems share data on consumer usage among themselves and perform actions, based on the preferences of the home owners.
On the other hand, home automation is an enabler for a smart home. It is akin to having a manager for your connected devices. It is essentially a centralised process that connects smart devices together and controls them through a single controller app or an interface. In a fully automated home, the functions of various devices are automatically adjusted, according to the inhabitants’ personal preferences. The increasing affordability of home automation technologies and the advent of IoT, have enabled the development of wireless systems that can be managed from halfway across the globe.
How smart homes and home automation can improve home owners’ lives
It is indeed fascinating that we have technologies at our disposal that can make our lives far more convenient, while also giving us an opportunity to save our depleting natural resources. In the larger context, smart homes/automated homes have also helped home owners to fight some of the challenges of today. Not only can these homes provide a greater sense of safety, security and wellness but also contribute towards overall efficiency. The last benefit is especially significant, given that our planet is in dire need of technologies that can help us minimise wastage, as well as our carbon footprint.
(The writer is managing director, Puravankara Ltd)