Importance Of Home Automation Information Technology Essay

1.1 Introduction to Home automation

It sounds futuristic but today the technological world’s main focus is to automate every possible thing to take advantage in providing ease in life. Home Automation, also known as domotics is one among the different types of automations. Home automation refers to the use of computer and information technology to control home appliances and features (such as blinds, lighting, ventilation and many others). Systems can range from simple remote control of lighting through to complex computer or microcontroller based networks with varying degrees of intelligence and automation. Through the integration of information technologies with the home environment, systems and appliances are able to communicate in an integrated manner which results in convenience, energy efficiency, and safety benefits.

Figure 1.1: A complete Home Automation system. [1]

Home automation has been a feature of science fiction writing for many years, but has only become practical since the early 20th century following the widespread introduction of electricity into the home, and the rapid advancement of information technology. The emergence of electrical home appliances began between 1915 and 1920 and the decrease in domestic servants meant that households needed cheap, mechanical replacements. Ideas similar to modern home automation systems originated during the World's Fairs of the 1930s. [2] With the invention of the microcontroller, the cost of electronic control fell rapidly. Remote and intelligent control technologies were adopted by the building services industry and appliance manufacturers worldwide, as they offer the end-user easier accessibility and greater control of their products. During the 90’s home automation rose to prominence.

1.1.1 Importance of Home Automation

Home automation is a modern technology that modifies your home to perform different sets of tasks automatically. Today, automation technology is gaining more recognition among people not just for home modification but in industrial and business sectors too. Home automation technology is constantly improving its flexibility by incorporating modernized features to satisfy the increasing demands of people.

When it comes to home automation, there are a few steps that must be followed in order to implement the home automation technology effectively. First, the automation needs should be planned. For example, if the overall objective is to improve your security system, then a checklist all its requirements is required before starting the automation process accordingly. If - lighting units are suspected to consume a large amount of energy then they could be automated to avoid unnecessary waste of electricity. Such a step would provide comfort, security and save power. Home automation technology is growing drastically and its demand is increasing in a wide range of sectors. In this project, home automation has been considered. For convenience, a single room encompassing the main appliances has been used. [3][4]

1.2 Overview of problem

In Mauritius, implementation of Room Automation systems in existing residential buildings today require a drastic and expensive change since the room design and planning of appliances are not conducive to automation. This implies that it is often not feasible to install a proper home automation system. However, theft is one of the main problems faced by most home-owners in the country. Most houses in Mauritius do not possess a complete security system. In addition, cases of fires due to carelessness are rising at a high rate nowadays. Hence, residential buildings are vulnerable to such acts. Energy consumption by the domestic sector has also been on the rise in the last decade, from 491.9 GWh in 2000 to 710.7 GWh in 2010. [5]

Table 1.1 shows the energy consumption for major consumers: [6]

Category

Number of consumers in the year 2000

Average annual growth rate 1995-2000

Energy consumption 2000 (GWh)

Annual energy growth rate 1995-2000

Domestic

288520

(89.1 %)

3.4 %

491.9

(35.8 %)

7.7 %

Commercial

27 831

(8.6 %)

3.3 %

374.8

(27.3 %)

10.0 %

Industrial

7008

(2.2 %)

1.5 %

485.8

(35.4 %)

8.24 %

Others

293

(0.1 %)

4.4 %

21.4

(1.6 %)

8.0 %

Total

323652

(100.0 %)

3.3 %

21.4 %

(1.6 %)

8.0 %

Furthermore, a huge amount of elderly and disabled persons have great difficulties in moving around in their houses every day. Most of the time they need caregivers or institutional care. In this context, a complete home automation will be of a great help.

1.3 Project Justification

Home automation technology is growing drastically and its demand is increasing in a wide range of sectors. There are many factors that are responsible for home automation's growing importance. Some important benefits are:

• Affordable:

Home automation process does not require a huge big investment. A proper planning during the construction phase will allow considerable savings for automation.

• Ease of use and comfort:

Easier operating and controlling of the technology due to its simple procedures that are easy to learn and implement. It maintains human comfort without human intervention.

• Enhanced performance:

Proper wiring and computer control are the important factors that determine the effective performance of the automation technology. Usually, home automation systems that are installed by professional installers are reliable and perform effectively without causing frequent failures.

• Improves the security features:

One of the important aspects of home automation technology is its ability to enhance the security features of the home without requiring much change in the architecture. For example, motion detector can be used to detect even the slightest movements around homes without the need for wandering.

• Energy savings:

By controlling temperature and lighting based on the programmed schedules, automation systems can reduce the energy bills significantly. Now, you can move to distant places without any worries regarding your energy bills by making use of automation systems.[7]

1.4 Aims and Objectives

To design a reliable home automated system that controls various parameters in a room. To improve the room security system. To enhance human comfort. To improve energy efficiency of the room. To minimize expenses in terms of energy consumption.

1.5 Methodology

Sensors are used to monitor various parameters present in the room. The output from the sensors is signal-conditioned and processed by a microcontroller. Accordingly, actuators are activated by the microcontroller to adjust the various settings inside the room.

Light sensors, placed inside and outside the room monitor continuously the lighting level of the room. They command through the microcontroller the opening and closing of a blind mechanism as well as the bulb light intensity so as to maintain a acceptable lighting level. Optimizing the use of natural light at the expense of artificial light result in considerable savings in terms of electricity consumption. In addition, a motion sensor is used to detect occupancy in the room and that same sensor will activate and deactivate the whole system. To ensure user comfort within the room, temperature should be maintained at a convenient level. For this purpose, a temperature sensor is used to monitor the temperature and subsequently activate the required actuators through the microcontroller. Security in the room is implemented through a smoke detector to sense the presence of smoke and therefore, to notify the occupant of the room of any danger.

Figure 1.2: General block diagram of the whole system

Outline of project

In chapter 2, a comprehensive review of the literature on existing home automation projects together with a review of the major components used in the implementation of the project.

Chapter 3 provides an overview on how each component is used and their importance. The selection of the components is done according to the requirements provided in chapter 2. The specifications of the selected components are also given.

Chapter 4 covers the mechanical design of the blind mechanism. The room is designed in such a way to satisfy all the desired specification.

Chapter 5 discusses the way the electrical devices and the controller of the system are interfaced with all the electronic circuitry and also the mounting of the circuits.

Chapter 6 revolves around the software design of the controller and also includes the testing and results after the hardware and software implementation have been completed.

Chapter 7 outlines the achievements, difficulties and limitations of the project. Eventually, the last part focuses on how of the project can be improved.

The rest of the report comprises of appendices concerning data sheets of components, design of the system, calculations and the software program.