How to Automate My Home: The Guide every DIY Enthusiast will Love

JACI Vectors - smart home icon The tech stack at our disposal is growing and continues to amaze us. The question of ‘what can technology do’ has changed to ‘what can’t it do?’. Whether you’re a house proud DIY-er or tech enthusiast, how to automate my home is a thought that would have crossed your mind from the time you bought your first smartphone.

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Smart homes, also known as home automation, gained popularity in the early 2000s. As of 2021, there are about 260 million smart homes around the world, and Statista estimates that this number will double in the next 4 years. 

If you want to join the club and give your home a smart makeover, keep reading! 

What is Smart Home Automation?

 Smart home automation or Domotics, refer to the network of devices that are connected to the internet. They can be controlled remotely, making life easier and more convenient. For example, you can adjust your smart thermostat to turn on the heat or air conditioning an hour before you’re due to reach home. Or, you can use the video doorbell to see who’s outside and determine if they’re a friendly or strange face. 

JACI Smart home automation- how to automate my home

 

 

Home automation relies on IoT devices that communicate through protocols such as wireless networks, Bluetooth or mobile apps.  They can be managed remotely through routines, triggers and voice-activated commands (think Alexa, Siri or Cortana). Many IoT devices have sensors that monitor changes in motion, temperature and lighting to understand the environment better.  It uses this information on physical mechanisms using actuators, enabling devices such as smart switches, valves or motors to be controlled remotely. 

Home Automation works on three levels:

  • Monitoring: Where users can look in on their devices through mobile apps. For example, live feed of the security footage around your home’s perimeter.
  • Control: Being able to control these devices from afar, such as rewinding footage or zooming in closer.
  • Automation: setting rules for alerts, such as notifying you of unusual activity based on the time of day or access.

Reasons to consider DIY home automation 

  1.  Total household control

With automation, you can control your appliances, lighting and temperature settings remotely.  You can turn them off or on, or time them according to your routine. For example, you can schedule the lights to turn on at specific times to make it look like someone’s home, or turn an appliance off if you forgot to do so right after using it.  Controlling the lighting is additionally useful in preventing accidents at home. It can be activated to illuminate stairwells and other dark places to find your bearings. 

  1.  Remote security

Advanced security systems are discrete and can deter would-be intruders without alerting them. Smart homes make use of cameras, motion sensors, swipe cards or biometrics such as fingerprint identification to make it harder to get past security. Motion detection, for example, can inform you of unusual activity during certain times when you’re away. These alerts are sent to your phone, from where you can view the live camera feed to assess the threat.  The police can be informed accordingly to take action. Such measures keep your house safe from miscreants and potential break-ins.

  1.  Information convenience

With automation, you have information about your surroundings at your fingertips. For instance, you can ask your echo dot for the weather forecast and dress appropriately before heading out. Or, you can control who has access to your house when you’re away and accordingly let them in for minor maintenance or tasks such as feeding your pet or watering your plants. 

  1.  Energy consumption savings

Automation lets you dim the lights or switch off appliances that aren’t in use, ensuring you’re not wasting power. It reduces your utility bills and saves you some money.  

  1.  Future proof your new home

Making your smart home future proof renders it functional and useful down the line. Whether the changes are environmental, circumstantial or technological, you can rest easy knowing that the smart comforts you enjoy today can be upgraded. 

  1.  Add value to your new home

A  smart home’s overall value increases with its demonstrable ability to be automated. Unlike regular homes, a smart home’s resale value does not depreciate over time because prospective buyers will appreciate a home with built-in provision for technology and its related enhancements.

How do I Automate my Home in Australia?

1. Assess your home 

A thorough assessment of your home will help you determine where you should start, and to what extent you can scale. You can then know which devices the home can accommodate, and where best they will go. Any renovations and repairs can be accordingly carried out.

2. Get a professional consultation 

 If you’re just moving in, you can consult with JACI whose experts specialize in fitting homes with automated technology. They’ll look at the estate, security measures and device compatibility before giving you a quote. 

3. Set your budget 

Tempting as it is to buy it all, you’ll need to zero in on the number of devices and the best price you can get them for.

4. Design 

The key requirement to smart home automation is to design your home to be compliant with technology. You can go over the home’s blueprint with a consultant before coming up with a bespoke automation-friendly design.

5. Find a reliable solutions provider

There are some things you can do yourself, such as setting up an Echo dot. For safer and durable installations of equipment such as video doorbells, intercom systems and strategic lighting, though, it's best to reach out to a team of experts, such as JACI. 

6. Build 

The devices you wish to have installed should be sturdy and stay in place when mounted. They should be tested onsite and via smartphones or tablets to make sure remote access doesn’t cut off or glitch when being viewed.  The audio and video feeds should also not be vulnerable to external manipulation.

JACI home automation consulting- how to automate my home


The Best Devices for Home Automation 

Device 

Why is it needed?

JACI Products to Explore 

Voice assistive integration using bridge controllers 

smart speaker runs on voice commands and can connect either through Wifi or Bluetooth. It can announce weather forecasts, play music, or let you listen to the news or podcast. The automation bridge accommodates all voice-activated devices to turn them on or off. 

https://www.jaci.com.au/collections/voice-assistant-integration

Security and surveillance cameras

Surveillance cameras are an absolute must for home protection. There are wired and wireless models that let you view your home over the internet from phones, TV or laptops. The Security camera's communicates with Alexa or google and uses intelligent recognition to identify and separate false alarms from unusual activity. 

https://www.jaci.com.au/collections/security

Motion and temperature sensors

Motion detectors sense ambient changes in movement and temperature and communicate these via Z-wave networks. Some sensors also have brightness adjustments according to the light settings. 

https://www.jaci.com.au/collections/security/products/fibaro-motion-sensor

Lighting

Automated illumination lets homeowners operate their indoor and outdoor lighting strategically. They can be timed to turn on or off based on activity, scenes or modes.  

Smart lighting offers base protection to your home by activating it to make it appear as though someone’s home even if you’re really not. 

https://www.jaci.com.au/collections/lighting-control

Home Theatre and Sound

A home theatre entertainment system comprises smart speakers, smart displays, smart TV, a projector screen, streaming devices, wireless headphones and a universal remote. It gives you a great viewing experience 


https://www.sonos.com/en-au/home

Blinds

Smart blinds and curtains can open and close electronically without you tugging at a chord! All you need is a touchscreen panel or Z-wave network which works on Venetian blinds, roller shutter motors and sunscreens. No more grumpily getting up to operate your blinds!

 

https://www.jaci.com.au/collections/blind-shutter-control/products/touch-panel-zwave-shutter-panel

Air Conditioning

Activate your air conditioning to turn off or on based on your arrival and length of stay in a room. It works with Alexa and Google Home routines and can be accessed remotely via Android or iPhone.

https://coolautomation.com/

Fans, Fire Places and Heating

Through your Wi-Fi you can control turning fans, central heating and electric fireplaces on and off. The Bond bridge home device works on iPhone and Android and lets you issue commands via Alexa, Google Home or SmartThings.

https://www.jaci.com.au/collections/blind-shutter-control/products/bond-bridge

Intercom

A wall mounted intercom system can buzz the right people in after verifying their identity. It offers clear audio and video capabilities, ensuring who you see is who they claim to be. The ultra-wide angle hemispheric lens gives you a 180-degree field of vision. It can be controlled remotely from another smart device such as a phone or tablet. 

https://www.jaci.com.au/collections/intercom

Smart Door locks

smart lock enables and disables security systems. It's an effective means of tracking footfall based on the time and number of guests entering and exiting. You can create unique pin codes and control who you share it with in your circle of acquaintances.

https://www.jaci.com.au/collections/smart-door-locks

Gates and Garage doors

You can automate shutting and opening the garage doors using an automation controller like JACI’s compact and Z-wave compliant FIBARO system. It can communicate with 230+ actors and sensors 

https://www.jaci.com.au/collections/zwave-controllers

Home Internet & WIFI

Get a home Wi-Fi system that can be mounted effortlessly on walls or desks and provides dual-band technology. There are 8,16,24 and 48-port devices that support  802.11AC up to a range of 100 meters. 

https://www.jaci.com.au/collections/network-wifi

Home Automation DIY Installation Plan 

Connect to a power source

Smart hubs need to be connected to a power source and charging docks when it's not in use. The voltage depends on the model of the device and the AC adaptor. Keep backup rechargeable batteries to continue using the devices in the event of power outages.

Check your internet connectivity and speed

You’ll need a WiFi router, mobile data and hotspot or ethernet cables. You will also need to test how many devices can connect to your network without overloading the bandwidth. 

Install the smartphone app for remote performance and security checks

Install the relevant apps on your smartphone to add devices to the app.  The hub and app will need to be set up in order to give voice or app-activated commands.

Create an account

If you have a pre-existing account, you can log in using your credentials. Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your devices and secure them using a strong password. 

Schedule Scenes and Triggers

Smart home scenes were introduced back in 2016, which allows users to issue a single voice command to Alexa-enabled devices, like the Echo Dot. The settings can be configured to accommodate more devices. 

Smart homes make your home energy-efficient, convenient and comfortable. And a stepwise installation can help you crack DIY home automation.

Remember, it's okay to reach out to professionals for assistance in installing, configuring and testing out the automation on-premise. What matters is getting it right, and who better than someone with prior hands-on experience and knowledge? 

A professional team can also make sure everything is in the right places and working as it should be, and offer warranties with any quotes so that you can reach out in future for any maintenance issues, service requests and upgrades.   

In the 6 years since JACI’s journey began, we’ve built hundreds of smart homes and offices. Book a free consultation with us and see how we can make life simple with our innovative smart home solutions and ensure that you have the perfect smart home installation. 

FAQS

  • What are the home automation basics?

The key home automation basics are voice-activated mobile assistants, speakers, locks, video doorbells, thermostats and remote surveillance systems.

  • What can you control with home automation?

You can control the ambience of your home with lighting and temperature sensors. You can also detect movements and activate cameras and lighting to light up pathways, entry and exit points.

  • Is smart home automation safe?

Connected devices are vulnerable if one of them is hacked. It becomes a question of time and your ability to act quickly in the event of a breach. Measures that you can take for smart and safe home automation include

  1. Two-factor authentication
  2. Stronger passwords and intentionally creating different passwords for different devices.
  3. Routinely changing your password and creating prompts on a quarterly or annual basis.
  4. Changing alert or wake up words on devices such as Echo dots and Nest.