Home automation systems use a network of hardware devices and electronic interfaces to integrate your everyday household appliances, lighting and smart tech with one another, allowing you to control them from your smartphone or tablet even when you’re miles away. They work via a WiFi connection and communicate with sensors that monitor everything from daylight changes to temperature and motion. The system can then adjust settings or initiate other actions based on those monitored inputs. These systems typically include three main components: sensors, controllers and actuators.

Sensors can be anything from smart light switches and dimmers, to smart thermostats and water sensors that monitor temperature and humidity. They monitor things like changes in daylight, the movement of people or animals around your home and can detect if your windows or doors are open or closed. They can then adjust your lights, heating or cooling or activate other automated devices based on the programmed instructions in your home automation system. Controllers are the devices like tablets, computers and smartphones that send and receive these automated messages. Actuators are motors, switches or valves embedded in a smart device that control the actual function of a smart product. For example, the motor in a motorized smart lock is an actuator.

Many systems also have monitoring apps that allow you to see what’s happening in your house or apartment whether you’re there or not. This lets you check on things like the status of your alarms, the state of the fridge or how full the pantry is and can be used to create a variety of automated tasks that can be set to happen when certain conditions are met. This can include things like closing blinds and curtains to prevent UV damage to carpets and furnishings or running a dishwasher when you’re scheduled to get home.

Lastly, most home automation systems offer the ability to control your appliances with a voice command such as Alexa, OK Google or Siri. Some of these are standalone voice assistants and others are part of the central automation hub. Voice controlled systems can turn on or off your lights, music and TV – it can even start the next episode of your favourite show!

Home automation systems can take the guesswork out of a number of daily tasks and provide a level of convenience that can be enjoyed by everyone in your household. It’s worth considering integrating your security, AV and lighting systems to give you the ultimate connected lifestyle.