What is a smart home?

Adithyan Ilangovan 4 min read

Welcome to my blog on smart home!

So, what the hell is smart home you ask?
To understand that, first let us review how a normal home looks like.

A normal boring home

In a normal, you have bunch of different “things” lying around.
Some example of  “things” are : TV,  light bulb, socket, toaster, washing machine.
Basically, almost all the inanimate electronic stuff in your home can be categorized as “things”.

And typically these “things” in a normal home are pretty dumb.
They just sit right there.
They do not talk with other “things” in the home.
They accomplish one single simple function.
Even worse, to accomplish that simple function they need your instruction.

A normal home, where all the devices are independent of each others.
A normal home, where all the devices are independent of each others.

So essentially in a normal home, the different devices:

  • can’t talk to each other
  • they don’t think
  • they just do what they are instructed to do

Smart home

But, what if we could teach all these devices to talk to each other.
Also, what if could also put brain somewhere inside the home?
A brain that is capable of making sense of what the devices are saying and also issue commands to them. What would happen if we do these two things in a normal home?
Let us find out!

Let us do these both things in the above shown normal boring home.
Let us interconnect all of them (blue line) and put a brain (yellow circle) inside there.

A smart home where all the devices are connected and a brain which can make sense of what is happening around.

The interconnection between devices and the brain, now equips the home to do all kind of magic. One kind of magic could happen while watching movie.

Let’s say you decide to watch a movie and press the play button.
The movie starts playing.
Now, since  all the devices are connected, the TV informs its fellow brothers that its playing a movie.

The TV inform other devices that it is playing a movie.

The brain listens to this and, being the smart guy he is, decides that it would be super-cool to dim the lights gradually when the movie starts playing.
Like the way it is done in theaters!
So now, the brain sends an command to the bulb ordering him to dim the lights.

Once movie starts playing, brain sends a command to bulb to dim its brightness slowly.

The dutiful bulb receives this command from the brain and dims the light slowly.

Bulb dimming its lights and turning off. Creating dark room to watch the movie.

All these things happen almost instantaneously in the background .
The moment you press the play button, the lights  start slowly dimming.

You home is acting all smart now!
Isn’t is it a joy to live in such a home?
(More importantly, it is a good thing to show off when your friends are around.)

Smart home – where it just a joy to live in.

The above is just one very simple example of smart home.
The wondrous possibilities that can be achieved in smart home are endless.
You can do amazing things. For example, I could do the following thing.

When the TV knows that it is nearing half-way into the movie, it could send a message to the brain. Then the brain could instruct a pop-corn maker (connected to the socket) to start making pop-corn. Yummy pop-corn ready at the movie-interval.

So essentially by just doing the following two things:

  • enabling a way to let all the devices communicate to each other, and
  • putting a brain that could understand and also command the devices

a “normal home” suddenly transforms into a “smart home“.

Good news

The good news is that both the things, the interconnection and brain, can be achieved.
You do not have to break your bank or be a ninja-computer-coding master to achieve these things.
This can be done very cheaply and  very easily.
So, in this blog, I am going to teach you how to smack some smartness into your home.

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