Once the preserve of the rich and famous, smart home technology is now accessible to millions of homeowners thanks to major technological advances and scalability in recent years.
Research by business analysts, Frost & Sullivan, suggests the connected living market will have almost tripled in size from $250 billion in 2012 to $730 billion by 2020, and smart homes will account for around a third of this figure.
At the forefront of delivering affordable smart home technology is ABB and its unique ABB-free@home system, which can quickly and cost effectively transform any house or apartment into an intelligent home.
“The advent of Internet of Things – which connects physical devices and vehicles with cloud-based control systems – has enabled us to make huge technological leaps in the field of building control,” explained Olaf Stutzenberger, Global MarCom Manager of Building Automation, ABB. “Modern homeowners want to be connected at all times and they can now control every element of their property – from lighting through to heating, air conditioning, door communication and indoor scenes – at the touch of a button. This can be done with a switch on the wall or from anywhere in the world via PC or a smartphone app, making the lives of home owners and building managers easier, safer and smarter,” he added.
Open Technology Powered by ABB Ability
ABB is committed to using open platforms powered by ABB Ability, the company’s cloud-based, industry-leading portfolio of digital solutions. This means that customers can pick and choose from a range of services and products from ABB and other manufacturers.
Bringing all technology together is ABB’s new MyBuildings online portal where a wide range of automated home and building services can be managed and controlled. This includes ABB-free@home (home automation system), ABB-Welcome (door entry system) and ABB-secure@home (intrusion and alarm system), providing protection both inside and outside the home as well as safeguarding against fire, gas leaks and flooding.
Safe as Houses
The ability to protect and keep your home safe, even when you’re not there, is one of the most important functions of smart building automation and ABB-secure@home can be used to manage and monitor all of a building’s security and access control functions.
The intruder alarm can be armed and disarmed either with the stylish ABB-WelcomeTouch panel or remotely via the MyBuildings portal with a PC or mobile smart device. It provides effective infrared detection both outside and inside the home as well as door and window opening alerts. The home can be split in to pre-defined zones and interior detectors continually monitor the atmosphere for gas, smoke or water leaks.
ABB-secure@home uses the latest wireless technology with bi-directional communication allowing the system to be installed in the most convenient position to maximize protection. It also integrates seamlessly with ABB-free@home and the ABB-Welcome door entry system, which features a video system and optional finger-print or PIN code access technology.
Even when a building is empty for extended periods, such as the summer holidays, homeowners can see visitors arriving and talk to them, while controlling the lights and remotely giving access via a smartphone or tablet.
The door entry system lets users control the front door with a smartphone anywhere there is a Wi-Fi or mobile signal. Whether you’re lazing by the pool or enjoying the hustle and bustle of a city break, your smartphone sends you a notification when someone’s at the door. The camera module integrated into the ABB-Welcome door lets you decide whether to let the visitor in or not and also captures images, which can be downloaded to any registered mobile device.
The system can be configured for multiple users and its event log synchronizes regularly with the MyBuildings portal for missed caller alerts.
With ABB-free@home, creating scenarios that make your home look occupied when you’re not there is simple. Blinds can be programmed to go up in the morning, lights to switch on in the evening and even the TV can automatically be switched on and off – the possibilities are almost unlimited. Window sensors are also very useful to protect your home against unauthorized access. They monitor the current position of the window handle and the home automation system will automatically notify the owner of any changes.
Voice control is one of the fastest growing areas of the smart building market and ABB was the first to launch a voice-activated control system, compatible with the big three market leaders – Amazon, Google and Apple.
Busch-VoiceControl KNX is capable of managing up to 150 building functions, such as lighting, heating and window blinds and, is fully configurable via MyBuildings portal. The device monitors current home conditions including room temperature, light intensity, humidity and will also detect any motion or occupancy within the property. This allows the homeowner to receive information about the current status of his home.
“Digitalization through ABB Ability is a key driver for our business. Whereas remote access and control of building systems was once viewed as an add-on, the combination of automation and data exchange is now at the heart of our new product development,” said Olaf.
Let There Be Light
Not only is light one of the best deterrents against intruders, it is also a key element in creating a welcome and relaxing environment in the home.
From switching the lights on at home as you leave work for the day, through to creating a fully immersive experience with your favorite film or album, ABB can deliver an extensive range of lighting options.
ABB smart switches are able to turn lights on and off, dim specific bulbs and control preferred light scenes for different times of the day, all from a fully-configurable app. Homeowners can easily control their lighting and even synchronize it with home entertainment systems to create a totally personal experience.
In a world where cybercrime is becoming increasingly prevalent, ABB customers can rest assured that all of its systems operate with an innovative, multi-layered approach to security. ABB Ability collaborates with Microsoft Azure to give customers access to an enterprise-grade cloud infrastructure for secure data storage.
“ABB is at the cutting edge of smart homes and buildings. Our focus is on developing residential and commercial buildings solutions that deliver increased energy efficiency, comfort, convenience and security for our customers,” concluded Olaf.
*This is a sponsored article by ABB