If you are planning to buy a new piece of Concrete… Then it’s time to think Smart…

Apart from having Italian marbles and fancy furniture now, Your Home needs an OS and a software upgrade too!!!

Upgrading your home is like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You need a plot; an interesting problem and the beautiful solution with Leads left in Future for Extension.

Why Smart home?

Well, we have become habituated to Digital Assistants, Digital has become our necessity to make our life convenient and comfortable.

With both partners working & shortage of time. Remembering all mundane tasks like switching off the lights, fan, AC, Geyser, Iron, and many power electronics. Not very Efficient :). In fact With Home Automation you can book cabs, order food online, order groceries. Alexa or Google home would Let you do that.

With Voice commands it is easier to operate with devices without much fiddling

with them. Safe for Elders!! Kids are tech-savvy.

“Safety of the house is an important aspect, Especially with Kids at Home and parents at work.”

With AI and Machine Learning it is easier for the software to understand our routine and preferences. But setting up smart homes isn’t like putting a smart speaker (Amazon echo-dot) in the center of your living room.

The idea of a smart home is no longer something that’s limited to the uber-wealthy or
technologically inclined. The average homeowner has started to embrace the technology,
and according to S & P(Std & Poor’s) Market Intelligence, about 12.5 percent of all U.S.
households are now considered “smart” – and that number is only expected to rise. In
fact, by 2021, the researchers predict, the number of smart homes will skyrocket to 28
percent, and only grow from there.

Given how fast technology develops, what can we expect from smart homes in just a
mere 3-4 years? As you might expect, the smart home of tomorrow is going to look a bit
different than what we have today, and will likely have some of these features.

Standardization of Home Automation Platforms

One issue that many homeowners have with smart home devices on the market now is
that there are multiple operating systems available, which can make it tricky to find
compatible devices and create a seamless experience. As more products and protocols are
consolidated, it will take the guesswork out of purchasing ,
and make them easier to install and operate.
home automation products

Smart Homes Will Influence Home Sales

Much like granite countertops and jetted tubs have had periods of demand by homebuyers, by 2020, many buyers are going to expect homes to have at least some smart features. Features that help save money on energy bills are likely to be in the most demand, so installing a connected thermostat or smart light switches are worth the
investment.

Smart technology is also likely to change the home selling process as well. Some Realtors
have already begun using smart technology to help sell homes, implementing technology
such as beacons onto for sale signs outside of homes. When a potential buyer passes by a
home with this technology, he or she will receive a message via the beacon that will
connect them to more information about the home, including virtual tours.

Improved Sensor Technology

SMART HOME Sensor List,
Home-Automation Sensor List.

Many Internet of Things devices operate using sensors – in particular, the smart
thermostats – but you can expect that technology to be used in new ways as we go
forward. For example, a termite infestation can spell disaster for your home, but what if
you knew that the pests were there before they did any damage? Devices equipped with sensors that can be placed in high-risk areas are already in development and will send you an alert when termites are present so that homeowners can take corrective action.

Already we are seeing smart sensors in other safety equipment, such as smoke detectors, which can send homeowners alerts when there is an emergency, or the battery needs to be changed, but that technology is expected to spread to other devices, including electrical boxes,
HVAC systems, furnaces, and hot water heaters, to give homeowners a heads up whenever there is something potentially damaging or costly taking place.

Smart Furniture

Not all of the smart home developments expected over the next few years are aimed at
saving money or improving safety. Some of them are just plain fun! A few years ago,
Swedish home goods giant Ikea made waves when it announced a new line of lamps that
could wirelessly charge your devices if they used the same charging standard. Ikea
predicted that the lamps are only the beginning of a new niche of Connected Furniture.
Some of the products in development include:

  • Sleep Number is working on a connected bed that will automatically adjust
  • according to your sleep (for example, raise the head of the bed when you are
  • snoring), as well as provide other features like instant noti?cation when a child is
  • sick or gets out of bed.
  • European sofa designers are developing smart sofas that can be automatically
  • adjusted for comfort using an application.
  • Smart wardrobes and dressing tables not only help organize clothes and toiletries,
  • but can help you choose an out?t, hairstyle, and makeup look.

Going Super Energy Efficient

Studies have already shown that using a smart thermostat can shave as much as 30 percent of energy bills. However, expect that going forward, there will be even more emphasis on making homes “frugal ” and energy-efficient. For example, researchers are currently experimenting with sensor-equipped clothing that works with smart
thermostats to automatically adjust room conditions to individuals. Other technologies
in development include more devices connected to motion sensors, which can reduce electricity usage considerably.

1st STEP towards Upgrading to Smart Home

Lets start with your Living Room, Generally this space is your media Center too. Upgrading it would be a good start.

Let’s start with existing devices…
For starters, if you have

  1. Smart Tv
  2. Amazon Firestick/Chromecast
  3. Set-Top Box: Jio fiber vs Airtel Xtreme
  4. Xbox one
  5. Wifi & old DTH
  6. Soundbar
    It is not important to have all the listed items. But if you are a gadget lover you should have them.
    Home Automation starts with Your Living Room. Let’s build your Media Center!!!

TV + XBOX + CABLE TV(dth) +Sound Bar ⇒ MEDIA CENTER

SMART TV’s

Let’s Talk about Smart TVs, With So many Brands out there with multiple TV OS.
Choosing the Right TV -OS is strategic.

Smart-TV Market Share

Take your pick.
?Android Ecosystem being the largest. Apps Collection & Support Will be better compared to other OS.
?Android will be an obvious choice for App developers due to a larger customer base.
?As the Android TV market Segment will mature Samsung and LG will shift towards Android Ecosystem
So it is preferred to choose a SmartTV with the above factor in Mind.
If you TV pre-dates the Smart-Era then at-least your tv should support HDMI
Connection,
HangOn!!! your TV doesn’t even have a single HDMI port?
Then you should consider upgrading TV or should you go directly for Projectors.

XBOX

xbox , home Automation, Home Control OS

Xbox One X is the latest and a nice acquisition to have…
With So Many Games on offer for free, If you are a Binge Player then you don’t need
to Worry you can’t go wrong with this Selection, For serious gamers, Microsoft Gold costs ₹ 2700/yr, This deal is huge in India.
If you Plan to buy Call of Duty Any game it will cost you at least ₹4000/-. So ₹2700/- per year for all A-grade titles is a steal.!!!
But if you still feel the pinch Don’t worry you will get massive discounts plus free trial pass!!!.
Microsoft will keep on proposing you with more & more attractive offers until you
say YES.
This is more than ever games you can play on Xbox.
If you have a knack of playing games then you should go for Xbox, if you haven’t already purchased,

I thoroughly enjoy the Games Collection. One thing you would need is a Good Internet Connection, AAA Grade single Game would chuck you a 20GB of minimum download & I am not talking about GTA.
With Xbox added to your kitty, you can install Youtube, Prime, Netflix to start with. It Supports Indian OTA, Hot-Star, Sony Liv, Disney, ZEE5.

Modern Sound Bar

Soundbars

Why Soundbars?

Soundbar is a Compact & neat form factor including all audio components, instead of separate multiple speakers, woofer, and sub-woofers.
It avoids fiddly mesh of audio and power cables,
Goes aesthetically well with Smart-TVs and Projectors.
Pairs wirelessly with any device, no need to Plugin an Audio Jack either from phone, Laptop, iPad, etc.
Last of all Nowadays many Sounbards comes with battery backup, so you are truly wireless.

Sony HT-X8500

Features
● 2.1 Ch Soundbar with Dolby Atmos/DTS:X
● Sony’s unique technology Vertical Sound Engine
● Single Soundbar with Built-in sub woofers for deep bass sound
● Wireless connectivity with Bravia TV
● 4K HDR compatibility
● Bluetooth connectivity for wireless audio streaming
✔cons: No Alexa, Cromecast and NFC

Creative Stage Air

  • Under-Monitor Soundbar For Computer Designed to fit perfectly under your computer monitor, the low-profile speaker is powered by USB that goes into your monitor with a built-in USB hub for a clutter-free desktop set-up
  • Dual-Driver With Oversized Passive Radiator Hear crystal-clear highs and groove to the thumping bass at volumes belying its size! Stage Air houses dual custom-tuned drivers and oversized passive radiator that deliver impressive audio with big bass for immersive, near-field audio entertainment in the comfort of your room
  • Wireless And Wired Connectivity With its dual connectivity mode, you can enjoy high quality Bluetooth wireless music or access wired connectivity via the 3.5mm AUX-in jack. It also doubles up as a standalone music player via a USB mass storage device without having to switch on the computer or other external inputs
  • Fuss-Free Controls The controls are conveniently located at the side of the sound bar for easy reach and hassle-free control
  • Portable With Up To 6 Hours Of Battery Life With a playtime of up to 6 hours, place Creative Stage Air anywhere around your house without connecting to a power source!
  • Batteries to:Built-in Li-ion, 2200mAh battery

Mi Soundbar

Features

  • Features 8 sound drivers that will improve your movie viewing, gameplay and music playback
  • You can connect your mobile devices effortlessly via the S/PDIF, Optical, Aux-in and Bluetooth connections
  • The no-fuss design offers a hassle-free uncluttered setup that takes just 30 seconds
  • The minimalist design in a modern gray tone sits well with any décor scheme
  • Play your favorite songs at the next get-together by simply connecting the Soundbar to your phone or laptop via Bluetooth 4.2 LE

Set-Top Box: Jio fiber vs Airtel Xtreme

With the Explosion of Content online and Over the Top Services(OTT).

Many Subscribers are Jumping the Bandwagon of Amazon Prime ,Netflix & many more. 

In my belief  Netflix and Prime services have saved the Men from feminist Propaganda(pun intended) broadcasted by Family Soap dramas Plus they Provide world wide high quality Content dubbed in different languages.

  • Technically JIO Fiber is not a STB it is more of a Smart-Stick aka OTT box.

Reliance JIO and Airtel are contending for OTT services. Both of them are offering Set-Top boxes.

Technically JIO-STB is not a STB it is more of a Smart-Stick aka OTT box.

Airtel Xstream STB has beautiful UI and UX and good responsiveness. They have separate tabs for Cable and web/internet-based apps like Netflix, Prime, Youtube, etc. Separation of DTH and OTT is very elegant, The way DTH is integrated it would give you the feeling of the Netflix with proper image widgets of each channel and the content snapshot image embedded into the block.

Source- Airtel

Verdict: Airtel Xstream is the winner.

For Detailed Comparison of DTH, OTT,Set-top-Box, Please find an article here.

INTEROPERABILITY: THE SECRET SAUCE

Plug N Play: Your Devices should run without much config needed and auto-detect the surrounding devices.

With So many different Brands available for devices, Interoperability is the Key, You Don’t Want.

  1. An LG Smart-TV Doesn’t connect with Sony Music System or Vice-versa!
  2. Imported gadget Power-Brick has in-compatible Socket & Power Specifications
  3. Mismatched audio & video input &output. Expecting an HDMI input but you have a Mini-HDMI(Yuck!!).
  4. Device A has USB-mini as input, But Device-B expects USB-C!!!.
  5. HDMI vs RCA enigma…
  6. TV Audio out is optical, but your Swanky Speakers have AUX & HDMI. Want to understand -Which Audio input/output is best? There you Go!!!
  7. Huge Amount of wire clutter it leaves…
  8. I haven’t even started on the wireless connectivity problems… (To give you an example apple device doesn’t support classic Bluetooth. I had a customer who wanted control rock-climbing walls with apple-devices…)

Hence You need a few devices to leave the clutter of wires and power-bricks away.

To solve above problem, I am going to suggest 3 small devices.

Smart-Power-Brick:

Compatible with European, US & Asian power socket, Each Socket can be individually powered on/off.

A Multi-port HDMI Media Connector

What you need most is multi-Connector like Multi-HDMI Connector. (HDMI SWITCH with auto-sensing technology.

Supports  4k Resolution and 3D @ 60fps. Good for high-quality content streaming & gaming.

Auto port Detection.

HDMI CABLE LENGTH IS 1.5mtrs(5 ft)

You can connect Laptop, Xbox,  DTH Box/Chhromecast a 3in x 1out is the minimum config you should go for. Especially for TV’s that have a single HDMI port.

Audio Bridge

An Audio Bridge supporting Optical in, out, audio-jack, Bluetooth, Aux into one nifty small piece of gadget.

.

Supporting this you may need a good quality blue-tooth enabled headphones, with wireless-charging.

blue-tooth ear-plug

For Advanced users, I would like to introduce Home-HUB, but if you are starting new please familiarize yourself before doing buying decisions. Home-Automation market is evolving, various Home-Automation Companies are tinkering with technology and customer response.

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pert
5 months ago

Great article. It will really help me a lot before I move to home automation system, Thanks