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Home Automation: what it is, how it works, advantages

29 March 2024

We often hear about home automation or home automation, especially in contexts of technological innovation and the home of the future.

But what does a domotic house look like? This article is a guide to understanding what a home automation system is, how it works and why you should choose it for your home.

What is a home automation system and how it works

Every home is equipped with an electrical system, and it can be either traditional or domotic. Home automation is an electrical system that uses specific technologies to automate various actions typical of the living context, with the aim of making the home smarter and more technologically advanced. It can be said to be a system born from the successful joint application of different disciplines, such as architecture, energy engineering, information technology, automation and design.

In the case of newly built homes, immediately thinking about installing a home automation system is the ideal solution: for a slightly higher investment at the beginning, you will recover a lot over time in terms of money and comfort. In the case of renovation, it is possible to transform a traditional electrical system into a home automation system, naturally entrusting it to professionals in the field.

A home automation installation can have three different types of architectures:

  • centralised system: you have a control unit, to which all devices are connected and on which all devices depend;
  • distributed system: there is no control unit, each device works autonomously and can also communicate with others to make home automation operations even faster and more automated;
  • mixed installation: a combination of wired and wireless technologies is used.

The elements that can be connected in the home automation system

The devices that are connected must be purchased in their smart version, which is now widely available. Some of these devices work in the home automation system when triggered by a specific function, while others are automatically activated by the presence of sensors, which warn of a specific condition for which such an action needs to be taken (e.g. an irrigation system that is activated when the sensor detects soil that is too dry).

 There are many devices that can be connected to a home automation system.

Here are some examples:

  • Windows and shading systems. Using the home automation windows and roller shutters can be opened or closed automatically, e.g. in the morning as soon as you wake up, to ventilate the house or in case of unexpected rain. METRA Building windows and shading systems are prepared for connection to the home automation system.
  • They can be applied to the entrance door of the house, but also to gates and garages. They are useful not only to simply avoid being locked out in the case of not having a key, but also to immediately secure the house in the case of intruders.
  • Temperature control, heating and air conditioning systems. Heaters, towel warmers, air conditioners and other similar devices can be activated when needed, for example to start heating or cooling the house before arrival, so that an ideal microclimate can be found right from the start.
  • Lighting systems. Through the intelligence of the home automation system, the tenant can manage – inside the house or remotely – any light point in the house. He can switch it off, switch it on, modulate its intensity, warmth and quality. automatically, some smart lighting systems can also provide for the adjustment of different lighting points according to pre-set factors, such as the number of people in the room or the amount of natural lighting from outside.
  • Smart appliances. In this context, the potential of the home automation system is almost infinite and always evolving. You can use dishwashers, washing machines or other household appliances to be activated remotely and/or at pre-set times. You can connect refrigerators that can recommend recipes and shopping lists, as well as track the expiry date of the ingredients inside them. Or, one can take advantage of Smart TVs that also give access to a huge amount of content through connection to external apps. Another example is provided by sound systems: the home automation system can manage the sound diffusion and each individual sound source within the house.
  • Surveillance cameras and alarm systems. To keep one’s home at an ever-high level of security, alarm systems can be implemented in the home automation system so that they are activated in the presence of intruders or suspicious movements. Surveillance cameras can also be connected to the smartphone so that the home can be monitored remotely.
  • Video telephony systems. With home automation, it is possible to communicate much more easily both with the outside world and between different rooms via intercommunication devices.
  • Irrigation systems. If you own a garden or green areas, you can connect your irrigation system to your home automation system so that you no longer have to worry about this task. Irrigation can be activated remotely, but also automatically via pre-set functions, to water green areas as and when needed or at pre-set times.

A focus on windows, shading systems and doors

Among the various applications listed above, of particular interest is the connection between home automation and windows and doors. An operation that has always been performed by hand, such as the simple opening and closing of windows, can now be done automatically thanks to the automation. This applies to both casement windows and sliding windows. The same can also be said of the front door of a house, so as to increase not only daily convenience but also the security of all tenants.

Shading systems, such as roller-shutters, shutters and sunblades, can also be controlled automatically and remotely thanks to home automation. Depending on the season, the time of day, the amount of light present and any weather conditions such as rain and wind, it can be decided to open and close the shading systems partially or fully.

 Windows, doors and shading systems can not only be managed remotely, but can also be assisted by sensors that inform the homeowner of the current status of these elements, such as the degree of opening and closing.

How to control the home automation system

In general, the home automation system allows tenants not only to programme, but also to monitor and manage the operation of the different devices connected. It is a true communication between man and machine: the person can control the states of the device, activating or deactivating it when he or she prefers, but also being ‘advised’ on the right moment to carry out cleaning or maintenance work.

This communication naturally takes place in a smart way. The home automation system can in fact include a central management system from which, via a touch display, each connected device can be managed in a few convenient steps. The same can be done through the use of buttons placed in strategic positions, or through practical remote controls, or even through voice or sound commands.

And when you are away from home, the home automation system allows you to automate and manage the various elements even remotely. This is crucial, because one of the goals of home automation is to manage, control and make your home more comfortable and safer even when you are away from it. In this case, there are specific apps to be drained onto your smartphone, which will then function as a real remote control.

The advantages of home automation for the home of the future

Home automation is the system that brings us closer than any other to the concept of the ‘home of the future’, and its advantages are undeniable. These advantages can be traced back to two main strands. The first is that of efficient energy use, which is not only an economic necessity but also essential in terms of eco-sustainability. The second is that relating to the practicality and functionality of one’s home: the aim of home automation is simply to make everyday life easier.

The first benefit of home automation: efficient energy use

Looking at all that the home automation system allows one to do, it is clear that it is perfectly in line with an efficient energy use project for one’s own home.

For example, the remote and automatic management of temperature control allows the microclimate inside the house to be optimised at all times, thus minimising consumption in terms of heating and air conditioning. This is done through the opportunity to open roller shutters, to ventilate the house and to let the preferred amount of solar irradiation into the house.

The smarter use of household appliances also has a strong influence on reducing electricity consumption. For example, devices can be started up in greener times, or devices can be set to switch off completely when not in use.

The home automation system generally allows for the monitoring and management of loads within the house, resulting in significant energy savings in the long run.

Finally, in terms of efficient energy use and eco-sustainability, the home automation system perfectly matches the possible presence of renewable resources, such as a photovoltaic system on the roof of the house. Home automation, in fact, allows certain functions to be carried out in this regard, such as monitoring and optimising the use of energy produced by these sources, even remotely, or integration with charging systems for electric vehicles.

The second advantage of home automation: living comfort and convenience

A home with home automation is also a home in which the occupants always feel safe and comfortable; a home in which nuisances are kept to a minimum, so that time can be regained to cultivate one’s own well-being and passions.

It is easy to imagine the typical day of someone living inside a smart home.

The possibilities are many:

  • opening the shutters automatically at a pre-set time;
  • waking up to your favourite music;
  • pre-setting the activation of the coffee machine;
  • automatically modulating the light to better watch TV or read a book;
  • arriving home with a perfectly regulated temperature and with the clothes already in the dryer;
  • not having to worry about watering the garden, controlling the correct closing of the front door directly from the sofa;
  • increasing acoustic comfort by closing the roller shutters when the noise from the street is too loud… Living in a house with a home automation system mainly means making the most of all the comforts your home offers, at all times of the day.

From a security point of view, the home automation system is extremely useful as:

  • allows you to connect to the video surveillance system, thus controlling movements around your home even when you are away for long periods;
  • makes all alarm systems extremely productive, as they can detect not only unwelcome presence, but also any gas, smoke, fire or water grooves in the case;
  • In the latter cases, it can act autonomously to solve the problem in a timely manner, e.g. by closing solenoid valves, locking doors and gates, sending a message to the homeowner or directly calling the police in the case of malicious intruders;
  • Through the current load control function, it finally prevents overload blackouts for increased safety in the home.

Finally, it is also important to remember that a home automation system helps certain categories of people – the elderly, the disabled, people with temporary or permanent motor disabilities – to live and manage their homes much more independently. Home automation is therefore also a reality that promotes greater accessibility of home environments.

Implementing METRA Building aluminium windows and doors to the home automation system

As the article denotes, there are many elements that can be connected to the home automation system to make one’s home practical, easy to live in and energy efficient. Many of METRA Building’s products can be controlled by the home automation system to achieve a real smart home in which one can live in comfort every day.

METRA Building’s windows and patio doors, whether sliding or casement windows, as well as the shading systems and the entrance door, are all equipped from the outset with home automation. They therefore contribute to greater energy savings, greater everyday convenience and increased security against break-ins.

METRA Building products are all made of aluminium, a material that is particularly well suited to a home automation house for several reasons. First of all, because it is a material that supports the two main advantages of home automation:

  • efficient energy use: aluminium is first and foremost an environmentally friendly material, as it is 100% recyclable without ever losing its qualities over time, and processed through eco-sustainable production processes. It is also a very weather-resistant material and, thanks to its thermal break, guarantees high thermic insulation with consequent energy savings.
  • living comfort and practicality: aluminium windows and doors are practically indestructible, do not corrode, do not stain and do not deteriorate over time. They therefore do not need any maintenance, and require extremely simple cleaning which consists of a simple wet cloth and a neutral cleaning agent. METRA Building aluminium windows and doors also provide excellent acoustic insulation and a high degree of security against burglary, so that tenants can live in their homes safely and comfortably.

Secondly, if it is true that home automation leads to the creation of smart homes that will be the future of the building industry, then aluminium windows and doors also fit in with this new technologically innovative home from an aesthetic point of view. They are, in fact, the preferred windows and doors for those who want modern and avant-garde homes, thanks to their slender profiles, minimalist character and extreme ease of ease of customization.