Towards full home automation

By Kevin Eichenberger

Domotics (home automation) is becoming more sophisticated with lessons learnt from specialised networks of sensors and devices.

With a wireless network and some expertise, you can put together an intelligent system today to do more than wake you up in the  morning and spin your favourite media on demand.

With a wireless network and some expertise, you can put together an intelligent system today to do more than wake you up in the morning and spin your favourite media on demand.

The dream of domotics (home automation) began with electric lighting, thermostats and doorbells – systems to replace the duties of uniformed staff in large mansions.

Over the past five decades, the domotic reality has manifested itself with lessons learnt from security systems, closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance systems, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, and the ubiquitous autogate.

These specialised networks of sensors and devices (such as locks, cameras, and fans) have been in use over the past half-century to manage resources and security within large buildings, but they often entail the full attention of human controllers, engineers for maintenance, and manuals that number hundreds of pages.

A Jetsons’ future may still be quite far off – at least until builders and appliance manufacturers get their acts together and produce a truly “smart home”.

However, with a wireless network and some expertise, you can put together an intelligent system today to do more than wake you up in the morning and spin your favourite media on demand.

However, with a wireless network and some expertise, you can put together an intelligent system today to do more than wake you up in the morning and spin your favourite media on demand.

Voice Assistants

The big names that offer something close to full home automation are obvious. Alphabet (otherwise known as Google), Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft have been vying for the attention of aspiring “smart home” owners in recent years with their slick voice assistants.

With immense resources expended to bring voice-recognition technology up to a usable standard, voice assistants act as the central control components of most smart homes – replacing wired button boxes and remote controls.

Simply plug a voice assistant into a power socket and begin introducing it to any available devices on a wireless network.

Simply plug a voice assistant into a power socket and begin introducing it to any available devices on a wireless network.

Smart Hubs

A plethora of manufacturers (such as Samsung, Philips, and Logitech) focus on streamlining the operations of their various electronic appliances and devices through smart hubs.

This innovation takes some of the burden off voice assistants and ensures that network routers do not get overloaded by a flurry of commands.

This innovation takes some of the burden off voice assistants and ensures that network routers do not get overloaded by a flurry of commands.

Smart hubs take the guesswork out of integrating home appliances into a single network but with the various brands of voice assistants and smart hubs available, complete integration is certainly not guaranteed, at least not yet, and not without an engineering mindset or a curated collection of third-party solutions from platforms such as IFTTT (If This Then That).

Smart plugs

Manufacturers outside of the blue-chip circle produce smart plugs that are compatible with most of the big-name smart hubs and a combination of the top four brands of voice assistants, enabling the basic operations of almost any electrical device or appliance with voice control or smartphone apps.


Read on to discover the extent of smart home technology in Malaysia.

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