Monday, January 11, 2016

The Benefits of Home Automation Systems

For this week’s research assignment, I researched the topic of home automation systems.  This topic interested me specifically because my current research project is about aging in place for older adults and after watching the videos posted below and reading information about these different automation systems, I realized that this could be very useful for many people with disabilities, including older adults who want to be able to continue living independently in their own home.  My grandma also has a life alert system that monitors and senses her motion throughout the day and will notify my family if she falls at anytime throughout the day and send paramedic help.  I know how safe and secure this makes her and my family feel therefore, I understand the importance and benefits that these automation systems can provide for individuals with and without disabilities.    

Home automation systems can provide an increased quality of life for individuals who may have previously required caregivers or others to help in order to complete simple tasks such as, turning lights on and off or opening/closing doors.  The specific features that many of these automation systems include are, controls for lighting, temperature, blinds, opening and closing doors, and turning on or off devices/appliances.  Many of these automation systems are connected through smartphones using an app.  With the touch of a button or a simple voice command, many of these simple tasks can be automatically done.  The cost of home automation systems can be expensive, however, different features can be bought separately if the entire system is not needed in order to save money.          

One major benefit that can result from using one of these systems is independence in the home.  In an article titled, “For the disabled, smart homes are home sweet home” by Gupta (2015), an example of a guy named Steve O’Hear was discussed.  Steve moved into his home in London about fifteen years ago and was unable to turn the lights on and off by himself because of his electric wheelchair.  Even though the switches in his house were built lower than usual for him, they were still too high, therefore he had to rely on others to turn the lights on and off for him until he discovered that he could use Internet-connected lights and switch them on and off through an app on his smartphone.  Another benefit from these automation systems is safety and security.  With the touch of a “Goodnight” button, doors can be locked, temperature set, lights off, and anything else that is programmed to change at nighttime can be done with ease and comfort.  

This is a home automation system called Vivo by Fermax.  VIVO Monitor is a system that can maximize communication and security through a wide variety of different functions. 

This is a home automation system sold at Lowe's called the Iris.  The Iris system connects with your smartphone via an app and becomes your controller for connecting devices throughout your home.  This system can help turn devices on and off, open and close doors or blinds, and automate events to happen through voice command or with a motion detection.  For example, this device can be programmed to have the lights turn on automatically when you walk into the room.  Essentially, this device puts management of your home at your fingertips.  

Links to Videos:

The video posted below shows a smart apartment located in the Helen Hayes hospital in New York that is available for therapists to use with patients in order to practice using the different controls and features.  It demonstrates how with the blink of an eye or simple voice command, tasks such as, opening a door or opening the blinds are now accessible and available to many different people.   

The video link posted below shows a smart home located in Boulder, Colorado where many different automation devices are set up and programmed throughout the house to provide independence and safety.

Additional information links:

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