I was invited to an event by HOGAR Controls last evening, a smart home products company. HOGAR’s elegant touch-based products can control the lights, fans, and just about any device (smart or otherwise) in your home through a voice command or app.
If you’ve heard about Alexa or Google Home, then you are not new to home automation. Read on to see how to make your existing home intelligent and how HOGAR’s solution compares against the other products in the market – all explained in a simple language.
What is Smart Home Technology?
What if you could dim the lights, lower the fan speed or turn on the a/c in your bedroom without getting up from the sofa — all with just a voice command?
What if the water heater / geyser is programmed to switch on every weekday morning at 5:45 a.m. – so that the water is hot for your child to shower before heading out to school? We’ve all had days when we forget to switch on the heater in the morning rush.
What if you scheduled to turn the lights on in your living room at 6:00 p.m. every evening ? My dad schedules the lights to go on and off at a certain time while traveling to mimic the presence of someone being at home for safety reasons.
You either take care of it remotely through an app or schedule it before leaving through a touch screen panel.
You get the idea, don’t you?
Home automation, or a smart home, is this ability to control anything and everything in the house from fans and kitchen appliances to security cameras and window blinds through a voice command, phone, or touch screen panel.
What does it take to make a home a smart home?
That’s the million dollar question I’ve always had. On digging deeper, I realized it’s a misconception that home automation and fancy topics like Internet of Things (IoT) is for the tech-savvy. In fact, they are designed to be intuitive like a phone so that anyone from a child to an elderly can use it with least assistance.
There are many ways you can make a home, a smart one; however, the level of automation goes up with your budget. Here I discuss some of the options:
- Replace existing devices with smart devices: The simplest one is lighting. There are many smart bulbs available now. What it means is you replace the existing CFL or halogen or LED bulb with a smart bulb. The smart devices like lights can then be controlled using smart hubs, an app on your phone from Play Store which often comes from the manufacturer, or assistants like Alexa & Google Home.
- Replace existing switchboards with a smart touch control panel: This solution that I was introduced to by HOGAR seems straightforward: they propose replacing the existing switchboards with their touch control panels. These panels come in a variety of combinations that have touch points for switches, fans, sockets etc. There is a smart hub, or the brain, that interacts with all the panels in your house. Seen below are a hybrid panel called the Prima + master controller and one touch panel.
How HOGAR differs from other Smart Home Solutions?
- It’s one-stop solution to control and monitor almost every device in your home remotely.
- Sleek design that blends with the decor of your home.
- Centralized solution which means you can control hundreds of devices in your home with a single app.
- The biggest advantage is that you don’t need to replace existing lights, fans, geysers, security cameras, door bell or a/cs. They will work seamlessly with HOGAR products.
- The products are customized based on the region they are sold. For instance, a hybrid touch screen panel in India has six touch points, a fan controller and a socket. Fans which are a given in every household in South Asia are non-existent in America or Europe.
- Time advantage: in a day, a home can be made smart.
- Designed by HOGAR in US and developed in India that gives them full control over the products.
- Available in white, black, and gold finishes for panels – to blend with the decor.
- They are retrofittable with existing appliances.
- The only brand to offer all technologies such as Z-Wave, ZigBee, WiFi and Bluetooth.
How to automate an old home?
- Replace current switch boards with HOGAr products and its accompanying controller that will speak to the Wi-Fi. When you are at home, you need Wi-Fi and when outside internet connectivity to control and monitor the devices.
How to make your new home smart before you move in?
The best time to automate your home is before you move in. Talk to you interior designer or architect about HOGAR to liaison with dealers for installing the touch screen panels instead of the regular switch boards.
Based on your budget, you can decide the areas you want to automate like just the living room, or bedroom, or door bell etc.
Where to buy HOGAR products?
HOGAR gets its name from the Spanish word hogar which means home. Started in 2015, HOGAR’s products are designed in the US and manufactured at a facility in Hyderabad.
Their products are certified and currently available through dealers in all the major cities in India. They are also available in select countries across the world. For India, place a request on their website and the company will get in touch with you to assess your requirement and guide you for the way forward.
When I ran a poll on Instagram, 61% responded that they did not have a smart device at home. But, this is about to change.
Smart homes are the future.
Who would have thought a few years ago there will be a smart phone in the hands of millions, as is today, all hooked to the screen. It’s just a matter of time we appreciate the convenience of a smart home.