Cloud home automation is the way to the future
The way ahead to home automation lies in the fact that it anticipates and responds to the needs of the occupants, working to promote their comfort, convenience, security and entertainment
Home automation is expected to play a crucial role in connected living. "Connected Living describes a world in which consumers use many different devices to experience compelling new services that integrate video, voice, and data services to provide access and ubiquitous connectivity anytime and anywhere," says Sasidhar Chidanamarri, Associate Director, Energy and Environment Practice, Frost and Sullivan, in an interview with Khaleej Times.
Connected Living includes Connected Homes, Connected Work, and Connected City. Globally, the Connected Living market is expected to reach $731.70 billion by 2020 as the importance of Internet and digital solutions grow in the overall economy, according to Chidanamarri.
In simple terms, smart homes or home automation is the automation of the electrical and electronic equipment lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), and security, as well as home appliances.
Notes Chidanamarri, "Automation was once applied mainly for commercial buildings and high-end apartments. Slowly the concept smart home is percolating to the lower end of the pyramid i.e. to mid-sized apartments as well. As the home automation systems are available at affordable prices, it has resulted in higher demand for smart technologies and digital lifestyle per square feet will become the future concept."
Of late, home maintenance companies are also offering installation of smart controls in homes as a value-added offering apart from regular cleaning and pest control services.
"Concepts like energy efficiency and cost effective automation controls have driven end-user's choice to experience smart living. However, lack of awareness and penetration about the technology is hindering the market in the UAE,"
Chidanamarri stresses that the UAE is at a crossroads as it strives to achieve a balance between economic growth and sustainability. The demand for homes and apartments in view of its economic diversification is attracting talented expatriates from all over the world. "Energy efficiency surfaced as a major issue to be tackled with the recent reforms in electricity and fuel prices. Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy (DIES) is one such initiative meant to foster sustainable growth by reducing energy consumption in all commercial and residential buildings. These measures augur well for the home automation industry in a country like the UAE where digitalised lifestyle and higher disposable incomes are leading to a more profligate use of energy."
Currently, the home automation is all about controlling the HVAC, lighting, entertainment systems, curtains, etc. individually. "Now, system integrators are offering energy management software and remotely controlling using tablets and smartphones to achieve energy efficiency besides comfort and convenience. Frost & Sullivan believes that the future will gravitate towards Cloud Home Automation wherein Cloud computing technology will be used to connect home automation systems. The home automation in future anticipates and responds to the needs of the occupants, working to promote their comfort, convenience, security and entertainment," Chidanamarri concludes.
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