In most of the demos I give for my home to prospective clients, the one inquiry I get constantly is, “Won’t this confuse the maid?” And it’s true; if you visit my home, you will find multiple capacitive touch switches in every room. Outside the rooms, immediately inside rooms, near the couch, by the bedside, outside the bathrooms, on the bottom of the landing, at the top. My duplex has 16 Capacitive touch switches (took 5 minutes to count them all). I can definitely see a maid getting confused by the volume of switches and not knowing which button corresponded with what. You see this in non-automated homes as well. While a maid is cleaning, she will have all the lights on, forcefully pull at the curtains as if they are her mortal enemy. And once the floor is lathered with disinfectant soap water, on goes the fan running at Mach 5. The fan turning sporadically, making ominous clanking noises, reinforces to the maid that her daily task is done. This is the tale of every home. Well, not my home, for I utilize the number one benefit that having my home automated gives me, SCENES.
What is a Scene?
Good question. Let me explain it in as simple a way as I can. You have lights. You can turn them on/off, dimmed, yellow, white, Rob. You have ACs and fans. You can set the speed, the mode, and the temperature. You have curtains that are motorized. Open them or close them. On occasion, play a game of trying to stop them at a specific point in their rotation (boredom hacks). Yes, you have control over these different elements of every room. You have to turn them on and off independently. Now imagine if you took one button on the living room keypad and gave it the name “evening.” And on pressing that button, all these aspects that are all connected on the KNX system will start working together. My living lights turn on warm yellow, 70% brightness, fan speed three, curtains open, foyer lights on. One button is doing the job of 5-6 commands at once. All elements of the home working in synchronicity. Also very useful when you want everything turned off together in your “all off” scene. Now coming back to the “maid” scene.
How to Design a Scene?
So three years back, I asked my maid, exactly what she needs when she comes every day. I tried to ask her what she would like in every room of the house, but that quickly got confusing. Ok, not a problem. She needs the curtains open (6 total). As she comes in the morning time, she really doesn’t need any lights on. Ok perfect. A few bucks saved. And once she does the wet wipe off the floors, she needs the fans going for a few minutes. Ok. So I gave her one button on the living room keypad—the maid scene. It’s the four buttons on the left side. It’s pavlovian. She comes every day. Presses the maid scene. The curtains in every room open. Any lights that were on will switch off. And the fan starts going at the lowest speed so that firstly, the maid isn’t in any discomfort and B the wet wipe can start drying as she proceeds to other rooms (we found that the lowest speed suffices for this job). She can begin work. Clean the living, the study, the dining, and the kitchen. Proceed upstairs, do the rooms. Spick and span (is that the right way to say that?). Now to the bathrooms. All have sensors to turn on the lights and the exhaust. So no problem. They are cleaned post haste. Job done. As the maid leaves my house, near the entrance is a four-button keypad with the outdoor light and entry scene programmed. Also programmed is the exit button to close the whole house. She presses that and leaves my home. Total buttons pressed by her, two.
My maid has been doing this regularly for three years without any complaints (at least none to me). Over time, her natural curiosity has allowed her to learn the fan control and curtain control intuitively. Now, if she wants the fan faster or off in a particular room, she knows how to do this. This confidence came over time. Knowing that all she has to do if anything is incorrectly pressed is go and press all off, let the house reset, and press the “Maid” scene again. Simple and convenient. She keeps asking me to install it in the other homes in the society. I explain to her that those houses need to be on KNX. Hey, this could be a good way to get some business—marketing by the maid, the lifeblood of every home. The convenience of this is also for the homeowner. I know that my system is never abused. The consumption of electricity is low, and my maid is never inconvenienced. She is comfortable with the system, though there was that one time I got a panicked call from her. Apparently, Alexa had thought the maid was talking to her and started playing some loud music. My house may be haunted y’all.