Expanding Horizons of Home Automation

October 30, 2013

Home automation as an industry segment is constantly on the rise. There are several influencing factors fueling this growth, such as:

• Smart grids providing the infrastructure foundation.
• Multiple wireless digital platforms enabling connectivity.
• Constant explosion of apps and smart devices.
• Increase in the comfort factor of users in accepting new technology platforms.

A single solution that can integrate home security, energy consumption, heating, lighting, and even appliance control could provide convenience along with awareness to users.

While the idea of Smart Homes and Home Automation is not that radically new, newer approaches to make this into a feasible and viable solution are being introduced. It is interesting to see how the horizons of home automation are expanding beyond energy usage and home security, incorporating irrigation and elderly care. A few examples are below.

Using Internet to Water Plants
To work with a basic timer, you need a control module that can be rigged into a home automation system, which can activate the sprinkler solenoid valves. The EZFlora Sprinkler Controller, for example, is an internet-connected 24v acutator panel that works with both the INSTEON and X10 command systems. When used in conjunction with a Home Automation Gateway, you can control the timing, duration, and other irrigation functions from any web browser.

Photo from

Iris Care: Letting you know when your parents have fallen and can’t get up
The new service utilizes both your existing Iris home automation devices as well as a new safety pendant. This pendant allows the elderly to trip the home’s panic alarm if they’ve become immobilized.

Iris Care (photo from

Common Platform for Home Automation
Lowes announced that it’s rolling out a new all-in-one home security and automation system, dubbed the Iris, that will be able to integrate with and control any home automation device that runs on at least one of the three industry standards.

Lowe's New Home Automation System (photo from

These examples of this kind of expanding technology lay the foundation for new innovation opportunities in digital interaction and user experience design. As a product development firm, we look to these changes for inspiration and new opportunities for our clients.

Written by: Nikhil Mathew, Manager of Design Research & Strategy, Beyond Design

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