Winter has arrived in the northern hemisphere. As long, hazy summer days make way for dwindling daylight hours and falling temperatures, homeowners increasingly turn their thoughts towards ways of staying warm, safe and cozy.
When it comes to creating a welcoming environment at home, the Danes have long led the way with their “hygge” concept. With up to 17 hours of darkness per day in the depths of winter, and average temperatures hovering around 0 °C, the Danes have made crafting cozy bolt-holes into an art form.
And while creating this sense of warmth and refuge from harsh weather traditionally relied on open fires, candles and dimmed lighting, technology is now setting the pace for creating the perfect winter scene at the touch of a button.
At the forefront of this revolution are smart systems such as Philips Hue, which enable homeowners to easily control their lighting and create the right ambience for every moment. It can produce immersive experiences by synchronising lighting at different times of day and integrating with home entertainment content.
To support the Philips Hue initiative, ABB has recently launched a range of smart switches that can turn lights on and off, dim specific bulbs and control preferred light scenes, all from a configurable app. Available from early 2019, the ABB Friends of Hue smart light switches integrate seamlessly with the Philips Hue lighting system via the Hue bridge. This allows users to set up their light switch in the Philips Hue app and control and personalize home lighting and ambience via an ABB Friends of Hue switch.
Oliver Iltisberger, Managing Director of ABB’s Building Products business unit, said, “As seasons change, so too does the feel of a home. The transition from summer to winter mode has historically been a manual process but building automation has now reached the stage where a fully immersive experience can be created at the touch of a button.”
Warmth is a key component for creating a welcoming home during the winter months and technology has now made coming home to a cold house a thing of the past. ABB’s MyBuildings portal is a secure online platform powered by its cloud-based, industry-leading portfolio of digital solutions, ABB Ability, which allows remote management and control of a wide range of automated home and building services, including heating and lighting, while users are away from home.
Once users are at home, ABB systems can also help reduce heating bills with useful products such as window contacts. Whereas a draft from an open window would cause a traditional thermostat to turn up the heating, window contacts have the opposite effect, automatically reducing the heating and saving valuable resources until the window is closed again.
“Our customers want to be connected to and in control of their homes at all times,” adds Oliver Iltisberger. “The MyBuildings platform, working in tandem with our range of smart building products, is creating intelligent homes that can automatically adjust the heating, alter the lighting and control home entertainment systems to deliver bespoke environments.”
The arrival of shorter days and longer nights often coincides with an increase in crime – particularly home burglaries. This can be a particular threat to those living in semi-urban and rural areas where policing and street lighting are sparse and electronic surveillance are virtually non-existent.
Aimed at solving this problem is the ABB-Watchdog 220 MasterLINE system, a high-quality movement and presence detector offering peace of mind through guaranteed uninterrupted surveillance of all areas in and around the home.
Stylish but inconspicuous, ABB-Watchdog has a range of functions including a twilight setting, which switches lights to 15 percent of their capacity during twilight hours, programmable light switch-off delays and adjustable operating modes, including a vacation setting.
Watchdog is accessible via the MyBuildings portal and integrates seamlessly with other security systems such as ABB-secure@home and ABB-free@home to ensure homes are fully protected around the clock whether or not anyone is in the building.
ABB-secure@home is a user-friendly intrusion and alarm system. Key features include a state-of-the-art design with an integrated capacitive backlit keypad and a simple-to-use interface with an intuitive configuration wizard.
The intruder alarm can be armed and disarmed either with the stylish ABB-WelcomeTouch panel or remotely via MyBuildings. It provides effective infrared detection both outside and inside the home as well as door and window opening alerts. The home can be split into pre-defined zones for interior detectors to continually monitor the atmosphere for gas, smoke or water leaks.
Meanwhile, the door entry system lets users control the front door with a smartphone from anywhere there are Wi-Fi or mobile signals. The camera module integrated into the ABB-Welcome door allows users to decide whether to let the visitor in or not and also captures images, which can be downloaded to any registered mobile device.
On dark winter nights, when no one is at home, making the property look occupied is often one of the most effective deterrents.
ABB-free@home can create a range of scenarios that make empty homes look lived-in. Blinds can be programmed to shut at dusk, lights to switch on in the evening and TVs, radios and other electrical appliances can be programmed to switch on and off at various times. ABB-free@home® technology is fully compatible with many existing smart home systems, including Sonos, Amazon’s Alexa and Philips Hue.
In the event unauthorised access attempts are detected, window and door sensors will monitor for movements and immediately send status changes to homeowners via the home automation system.
Oliver Iltisberger adds, “Our homes are no longer static standalone objects – they can alter and adapt to meet changing environmental conditions as well as the mood of the occupier. The growth of Artificial Intelligence means homes are now also ‘learning’ from historical data, finding key usage patterns such as when a family arrives home or puts the heating on. This is paving the way for future controls that are even more intuitive and can automatically select settings and options based on previous preferences. Our homes are becoming more intelligent which will help us all to stay safe, warm and secure this winter.”
To find out more about ABB’s smarter home solutions, please visit: https://new.abb.com/buildings/smarter-home
*This is a sponsored article by ABB