Posted on 15/08/2020
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. To read the first blog of this series, click here.
Why this as a topic?
What could I possibly be detailing that merits an entire blog post?
Well, read on. As detailed earlier, my home is completely automated with KNX. Let me begin by defining what KNX is (speak up; otherwise, I won’t know if you have any questions). KNX is a Global standard Open BUS (communication between devices) protocol. In simpler terms. The automation is wired. There is a green wire running through your walls. This is for power and data transmission between the KNX devices. Where KNX is different than other wired or wireless automation solutions is in its flexibility and versatility. There are roughly 500 manufacturers on KNX and about 30,000 KNX certified products. The certification process ensures that the components used are of sound quality and that they work with other brand’s KNX devices. That’s right, KNX is brand agnostic. As long as your home is on KNX, you can incorporate components from different brands to find the most optimized solution for your home. Also, later, if you want to change brands, you can do so easily while remaining on KNX (think Android). There is also one programming tool, the ETS software, where all KNX brands define their products programming parameters. All this is monitored by the KNX organization, a not for profit setup to ensure technological parity and programming fidelity across brands.
Option 1: At My Fingerprints, I Mean Tips.
Enough shop talk, I’m coming home (Skylar Grey anyone?). The first option I will highlight utilizes my door lock. I use a Yale door lock with fingerprint and keypad entry (a key point exists but not really needed), which over RF and an RS232 KNX device, I have integrated over my KNX system and thus have access to lock/unlock my door over my phone. Not only that, but my lovely engineers have also even managed to program one of my fingers to activate an entry scene. So in I come at the end of a good hard day at the office, use the magic finger that has the scene coded to it (some days are bad, and I don’t deserve to be greeted by my home), and enter my home that is already opening the French window curtains, switching on my garden lights (with one finicky bulb that always causes me grief), and turns on the ceiling fan welcoming me. Heaven. Ok, I don’t really use this option that much, except when showing it to customers.
Option 2: The Summer is Hot, Sticky, and Makes Me Impatient.
Over the phone, I can have my house prepped just like I want it. My office is a 5-minute drive from home (I am living the dream guys), and I, on occasion, like to come to a cool environment. So, I get on my elevator from work, get on my app, set my study AC, switch on my boiler, and keep some mood lighting going. It really works in calming me down. My house is servicing my needs. Cool room, warm water (set up to switch off the boiler in 15 minutes in case I forget), it really makes for a pleasant evening.
Option 3: Good Evening, Alexa.
Come home, open the door, enter. The sensor picks me up in the passageway, and I don’t have to enter a room in the dark. And shout out (not from panic, but to enunciate my words clearly. Stop laughing), Alexa, good evening. A nice lady welcomes me back with some useless facts about the day while magically, the lights in the living turn on, the curtains open. The AC in the study starts cooling the room to a brisk 23 degrees. I can even ask her to play some music.
Option 4: A Good Old Fashioned Press of a Button.
I have nice looking capacitive touch switches in every room. They are high-quality switches that demand my attention. So again, I come home, enter, and press the entry button on the switch by the entrance for the same results as previously illustrated (it was becoming a little groundhog day for me). I can even go to the individual rooms and control the lights, AC, fans, curtains from within those rooms.
There is No Option 5.
In this brief on my coming home rituals, I have only defined the act of me coming home in the evening after work. As a person, I have set habits; I know what I need when I come home. I may need to leave work behind and relax. I may need a cup of tea; I may need to see my garden or turn on the TV for a bit. On occasion, a bath is just what the doctor ordered, followed by some time spent in my study focusing on my hobbies or catch up on some unfinished work. All these are in some way linked with the smart controls running my home. Some are gimmicky, while most are genuinely helpful. I don’t ever have to run around the whole house, turning on or off all the lights or fans. My home knows my habits. It’s there waiting to welcome me home again and again. Faithful to a fault (Damn you garden light bulb!).