The main reason homeowners go for automation is that it is more efficient and beneficial than the conventional system. It is not just about creating designer switches or about getting control over the phones. It is also about how you, the homeowner, script your home. The house matches your personality. The walls are of a color that you like. The kitchen is made to order with the oven; the microwave is placed in the right place. The Bathroom is inch-perfect. Just as you like. In this “goldilocks” mindset, the automation you have paid for and have installed also offers you the opportunity to create a specific set of commands and functions to set up your home control just as you prefer. This is a task that cannot be left to the engineer doing the installation. Don’t be lazy here. They don’t live there, you do. It is part of the installation process where not even the architect or interior designer can help you. It’s your home. You can set it up better than anyone else.
Here is how I scripted my home, to give you some ideas for your own if and when you do choose to go for smart automation (go for KNX. It’s like that dental paste ad that plays in Indian theaters. Something about being prudent today for a better tomorrow). The first thing I did was create zones. Every home already has a breakdown. You have dining, a kitchen, a couple of bedrooms, and the bathrooms. Well, I also have all those things. But I have a few additional zones like the garden, the study (a bedroom converted to a den/home theater room), and the staircase landing with a small informal sit out. Once I demarcated the zones of the house, I started with the most important things for me—scripting the first page on the touchpads (most rooms have touchpads that offer multiple pages). The two most crucial things for me, lighting and climate. I knew what lights in every room I would prefer to use, so I knew that I don’t want to have all lights on a single page. Then I need ventilation. If there is an air conditioner in the room, I will use it. My city doesn’t get very cool, and I tend to perspire profusely. So, climate control is vital. Have that front and center in your programming. Then for every room, since it only takes up a maximum of one or two buttons, I incorporated curtain control in every room. And for the last two buttons on the page, I included an entry scene and an all off scene. This way, I can get 80% of what I need on the first page itself. If I need more lights to be turned on, they are on another page dedicated to lights. If I want more robust AC control, there is a dedicated AC page. For scenes like entertainment or relaxation, there is a scene page. The point is I prioritized habit over gimmick. This is what I use most, so this is what must be front and center and reachable. It is even easy to understand for the odd out of town guest who visits and invariably overstays their welcome.
The scripting for my app and master panel is also done with the habit in mind. I have twelve pages and eight functions per page. So I have prioritized my zones on usage. Dining and kitchen are combined to one page. One page dedicated to energy management (separate post on this). The study, living, and master bedroom have more elements I regularly need, so each gets two pages. As I don’t really care for my guests, a single page suffices. I also maintain a dedicated page to control my sensors. On occasion, I need a particular room’s sensors deactivated for a certain period, and this is the quickest way to do that. Finally, there is a master control page that I password lock. On this page, I have the zones of my home programmed to be switched off. This way, if I leave home and I forget to turn off some lights or ACs, then all I have to do is press the corresponding room button to switch it all off. There is also an open door button to let the gardener in when I am at work.
The only keypads I have at home with icons to identify their function are the keypads near the bathrooms. Here, four buttons, control the lights, the exhaust, the boiler, and the option to switch it all off once I am done with my daily ablutions. The icons correspond to the functionality. A light bulb near a mirror icon denotes the light by the bathroom vanity. The boiler/geyser button is a symbol of a bathtub. The exhaust looks like an exhaust fan. And the master off button looks just like the off switch on your TV remote or a door symbol with an arrow pointing outwards (means you are exiting the room).
I scripted my home when I first moved in three years ago. I have done very little scripting change as I am now habituated to the programming. Or I programmed it to my convenience and haven’t needed to change my habits thus far. Scripting is the one thing I always insist my customers get involved with. This has a direct correlation to our lifestyle, and we don’t want the customer to be hindered or inconvenienced by poor scripting. My team usually provides adequate recommendations on what best suits a particular room’s needs. But in the end, it is populated and lived in only by the homeowner. And they know best.