The interface between the user and the smart home is vital. The home has to be easy to understand and operate.
Below are descriptions of the most common interfaces used to control the smart home.
The normal switches and dials used in the home may be suitable for controlling aspects of the smart home.
Davmark™ Group has made extensive use of existing switches by wiring them to the powerline network in a slightly different manner.
By using a dedicated bus system or a wireless network, what appears to be a conventional switch can send control signals instead. Much in the way that a fly-by-wire plane or car works.
Infrared can be used as a communications medium for the whole of the network or elements of it.
Infrared can also be used as a way of sending signals to the network.
If infrared receivers are linked into the communication network, remote control units similar to those used for consumer electronics products can be used as an interface with devices on the network.
While many smart homes rely on distributed control systems that don’t need a personal computer to operate them, computers can be used as an interface with the home.
Computer screens allow large, easy to recognise visual representations of the home. The computer can be used to send messages to, and receive messages from, the smart home.
The addition of a web server to the home would allow a visual representation of the home to be created. This is then viewed and controlled from a web browser.
This can be used to control the home either from inside over a local area network (LAN), or remotely, if an internet connection is always on to the home.
The connection of the network to a telephone line through the use of a modem allows a variety of telephone control options for the home.
Conventional telephones inside the home can be used as interfaces with other devices. For example, they can be linked to a door entry phone to answer and permit entry.
The house could also be dialled into from outside and commands given using tone-dialling signals.
The wireless application protocol (WAP) allows mobile telephones to link to a limited version of the internet. Equipping the home with a WAP server allows control via a WAP enabled mobile phone.
A number of manufacturers produce panels that are used as interfaces with the smart home. These are one of the most common ways of controlling the smart home functions.
They range from simple switches with indicators that confirm status to more complex panels and touch screen displays. These can operate a wide range of devices and controls.
Recent developments in speech recognition technologies are making the possibility of using spoken commands to operate the home more likely.
Current noise cancelling microphones would need to be positioned close to the user’s to eliminate background interference. More centrally located microphones may be possible in the near future.
Finger print scanners, other sensors and the systems that drive them have advanced to the point where they are both quick and reliable.
The possibilities of locking areas and controlling zones bring a wide range of applications. From safes through to entry and access systems. No need to remember that dreaded pin number, security code or even need keys.
They can also be programmed so that they activate other control panels and functions. The panels can be programmed to allow different choices and options depending who activated it.
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