Note: This blog is part of a series of blogs, “A Day in Life,” highlighting automation at my home and the benefits, big and small, that improve my daily life.
How would you define your home?
It’s a question that I always enquire about my prospective customers. It’s a question that doesn’t really warrant a real answer. It is meant to get the customer thinking. Start defining their home. First, they invested in the land or the apartment. Then they got a design made through their architect. Now they must populate it with elements of comfort and convenience. Anticipating needs that can be sated for years to come. This is the moment they decide whether to invest in a “Smart Home” or not.
In India, this concept is still in its infancy; the customer is not sure about the real benefits of investing in automation and to what extent. Go all in and invest in the long-term or pace yourself and incrementally automate your home? All valid thoughts. Automation is all about intuitive and synchronous living. Through this series of blogs, I will try through examples of my daily life at my home to show how I have benefitted from installing KNX based automation in my home.
A Brief About the Home
I live alone in a Duplex on the ground floor in a society. I have been at this house for three years now. The entire house is on KNX based automation with every electrical element connected to the KNX system. This includes the lighting, the ACs, the Fans, the curtains, the door lock, etc. There are three bedrooms, one of which I converted into a Den/Study/Gaming/Home theatre (the benefits of solitary life). The two remaining bedrooms are upstairs with a small sit out created at the landing. There is a dining area, A kitchen (Stove not switched on once in 3 years), a living room and a small cozy garden. To put it simply, it’s too lavish a place for one person to exist in. But it also acts as an experience center for my team and me to showcase the solution to our prospective customers. So that’s how I justify my luxury.
Coming to the automation I have incorporated in my house, I have utilized a good mix of form, function, and features while leaving room for future expansion as and when technology catches up with fantasies (will be clearer in later blogs). With Zennio (my KNX partner brand. Good quality solutions from Spain), one major USP is their customization options for the front-end devices. When I say front-end, I am simply talking about switches to turn on and off the lights, AC, etc. The keypads are primarily capacitive touch. I can design the background of the keypads; I can incorporate icons to make it easy for me to match the image to the function. I can even define what each button is supposed to do, from a simple task to a complex scene that turns some element of every room on (I am the captain now!).
For my home and realizing the marketing benefits of color and design and no limit functionality, I decided firstly to have different colored walls around the house (understated and clean colors, not garish. Hey, it’s my home you are judging here.). For example, my living room has a red wall with some gold streaks. So does my touch panel. I even added a gold frame to complement the look. The devices outside the bathrooms have icons for the lights, the exhaust, and the boiler.
The Master bedroom has a 3.5-inch display capable of 42 functions. It has a proximity sensor that allows the device to automatically wake up when I get near it. This way I don’t get disturbed by a screen glare at night and can enjoy unrequited slumber. A master panel in the living controls the entire house. It provides the same functionality over my phone (at no extra charge). I have defined the break up of the pages on the master panel and given names to the different zones of the house. I have defined which zones are my favorites and hence deserve more real estate (pun intended) on the interface.
What Sorcery is This!
In terms of what I am controlling in my home, let me break it down into function for ease of perusal. Most will be elaborated on in the next posts.
- Lighting: My house has on/off lights, dimming lights, both LED and incandescent. Mood lighting through RGB strips, tunable lights in the living room (white and yellow, and on occasion both).
- Climate: Daikin ACs in the three bedrooms. The living and dining have high ceilings, and an AC would be wasted here.
- Ceiling fans: Six fans all controlled over KNX.
- Curtains: Five motorized curtains, no sheers (costs money so no!), all on KNX. Looks great when I open them all together.
- TV control: Only in the Home Theater room with an amplifier, Blu-ray player, Firestick, and Satellite TV connection.
- Sensors: At every passageway, and every bathroom because no room should be entered in the dark (it’s scary… I mean, it prevents you from falling, from touching a light switch with wet hands, you know, ergonomic stuff. I am an adult dammit!).
- A voice assistant linked to the KNX system because sometimes even pressing a button is excruciating.
- Digital door lock over KNX because keys are so yesterday.
To be further defined.
This is just a very brief snippet of my home. I like it a lot. It’s a place built based on my needs and curated around my daily rituals. Some of these I will highlight in ongoing posts. Maybe it helps people understand or even appreciate the nuances of automation a tad more. Gives you some ideas for your own home. Or makes for some good weekend reading. It’s a slice of my life that I am sharing in the name of Marketing. These aren’t technical write-ups as I am not a technical person, neither is this a KNX tutorial. These are simply some examples of solutions I have incorporated in my home and how I utilize them, sometimes daily and sometimes on special occasions.