Home Automation

Home Automation with IoTMATION

smart-home

Home automation has been becoming more mainstream as a technology. With every passing day, we observe higher adoption of smart devices in our everyday life. With this; it’s becoming increasingly important for the home automation technology to provide competent answers to various challenges that face the industry of the smart devices. Considering the intimate existence of these in our daily life, customers making use of the smart devices are rightly concerned about various aspects of this technology. A home automation technology provider must address these challenges; particularly pertaining to security, privacy, reliability, and availability of the services. Hence it’s important that the IoT platform used in providing the services addresses these aspects adequately. IoTMATION is a complete IoT solution from IoTMATE that addresses the concerns of the customers while offering a highly powerful yet simple home automation experience to end consumers of the service.

What is IoT

The ‘Internet of Things‘ or IoT as referred to more popularly; is a collective network of physical devices, called ‘things’. It also includes associated technology used to interconnect the things, to secure the communication, to manage their identity, as well as data collection, processing, and presentation of the data to the user. The things usually are devices used to either monitor or control some physical parameter. For instance, a thing can be used to monitor temperature and humidity, to detect any motion, to measure a distance etc. It can also be used to control a switch, to brighten a light, or to control the speed of a fan. IoT as a technology can handle a large number of things of various different types and capabilities.

Due to the connected nature of the things, it’s possible to build sophisticated control systems based on the interaction of various different sensors and actuators. It’s possible to run rules based on these triggers to support various use cases. Hence IoT is rapidly finding adoption across different industries and segments. Currently IoT is extensively used in industrial automation, home automation, warehouse management, fleet management etc. We are also observing greater adoption of the technology in farming sector as well. The ease of operation, possible automation of life-cycle, reduced human intervention, and optimal use of resources lead to decreased operation cost. Thereby, IoT adoption also offers cost benefits despite the initial investments on the technology for a user.

Home Automation as an IoT Use Case

IoT as a technology is highly promising and can host a number of services over the same infrastructure. One such important use case is home automation services. An IoT based home automation provides enhanced user experience in home automation, can support secured and reliable operation, can provide value added services with intelligent automation. With IoT, it’s possible to have smart control over the devices. Apart from user control which can be even remote access, automated operations can happen through sophisticated rules based on various triggers like time based schedules, various sensors values, various conditions like presence at home or away from home, and even third party APIs.

IoTMATION, at the Core of Trusted Home Automation

The home automation by IoTMATION is a state-of-the-art IoT based system. It provides powerful and feature-rich home automation products and services for the users. IoTMATION provides an end-to-end solution for a modern IoT framework. Home automation products and services built on top of the IoTMATION framework makes use of the secured and reliable IoT framework of IoTMATION. it touches upon all technical areas involved in creating smooth and seamless home-automation experience.

IoTMATION provides a totally fluid framework for building an IoT based application. The IoTMATION framework treats all the things as part of either a Sensor Cloud or an Actuator Cloud. These devices connect to the IoTMATION IoT platform in a secured way. Every device is identified with a device persona and that defines the capability of the device. The IoTMATION framework allows a fully flexible sensing of the devices in the sensor cloud. A user can create smart automation rules based on these sensors, acting any of the devices in the actuator cloud. This flexible nature of the automation provided by IoTMATION takes away the rigid boundary of the devices and makes the whole automation experience based on the capabilities available through these devices.

The ‘Home’ in Home Automation by IoTMATION

At the heart of the home automation framework by IoTMATION, lies the idea of ‘home’. A ‘home’ can be considered as an independent unit of control consisting of a collection of various devices. A single user can have multiple homes; and at the same time, a home can be shared with multiple users.

IoTMATION APP Home-automation Dashboard

Sharing of Home with other users with defined privileges

A user who has created a home, can share the same with other users to allow control by other users. Also the user can define the privilege level available for every share. The level thus assigned to a user dictates the operation available to him/her and the set of devices that he/she will have control over.

Device Visibility and Control

A user can create one or more homes. At the same time, a user can receive a number of shared homes from other users. A user will have full control over all the services and all the devices in a home created by him/her. For shared homes, the access is governed by the privilege level offered during the share by the creator of the home. A user only gets access to the services and devices of a shared home that require same or lesser privilege level than what has been offered during the share. This way, the creator of a home has the flexibility of sharing different devices with a person that he/she is sharing a home with and the sharing of home does not force all the devices to be shared.

Switching Between Homes

Managing Multiple Homes

A user of the IoTMATION framework can manage and control a number of homes at the same time through the same application with a single log-in. The application makes it extremely simple to switch between homes. The same application can not only handle multiple homes, it can also switch between home-automation dash board and Building Management System dash board.

For easy identification of the homes, a user can set a friendly name for every home. The home icon identifies if the home was created for home-automation or for Building Management System. Once the user switches home, dashboard view, the device visibility, and supported operations are all updated with the new home context.

On switching a home, all the functionalities of the home becomes visible in the application. Depending on the type of the selected home, the application shows either the home automation dashboard or the building management dashboard. Only the devices that have been added to the selected home becomes visible as well as all the routines, scenes, and schedules for the selected home. Any updates made is done only for the selected home.

This way, IoTMATION hides all the complexity of managing multiple homes from the user. The user always works on a single home at one time. However, switching homes is also very easy and the user can easily switch homes using the application. Managing multiple homes, of any type (home-automation or BMS) is very simple with IoTMATION.

Device On-boarding and Management by IoTMATION

IoTMATION offers easy and secured device onboarding and management of devices. A device running IoTMATE OS first needs to be on-boarded in a home. During on-boarding, the device is supplied with the required information for the device to be able to connect to the IoTMATE cloud. Most often, this information includes the WiFi SSID And password of the home WiFi. In case the device is configured using the Mesh WiFi from IoTMATION; the home WiFi information need not be provided. The mode of operation of the device (cloud vs. on-premises IoTMATION), WiFi operation mode (mesh vs. home WiFi Access Point) are configured during on-boarding. Along with this, the device privilege level too is configured during on-boarding. The privilege level allows the owner of a home to control the access to the device by other users with whom the home is shared.

IoTMATION offers a number of different options for the devices to connect to the IoT framework. Usually a device connects over the home WiFi or the IoTMATE Mesh WiFi network. However, if there is an IoT Gateway at the home, connections to the devices can also be over non-IP based communication like MODBUS or CAN. In such cases, the on-boarding of such devices are facilitated by the gateway.

Device Grouping

Grouping by Room

The devices in a home can be grouped together for ease of use. Some of the schemes that can be used for grouping are

  • Grouping all devices in a room.
  • Grouping devices that are usually controlled together.
  • Grouping devices of similar type.

The grouping is totally flexible and the user is free to choose any grouping of devices.

Proper grouping of the devices makes it easy for the user to view and control the devices. The user can select pre-defined templates in-built in the IoTMATION Mobile Application for creating groups, or may choose to create a custom group.

Device Control

IoTMATION supports both remote and local control of the devices through the IoTMATION App. The remote control of the devices are supported over MQTT or Websockets. The local control is over REST APIs. The user can use the device control through multiple interfaces. It can either use the IoTMATION mobile application for the control, can use a voice service like Amazon Alexa or Google Home Assistant, or make use of the Rules Engine to control the devices with smart automation based control.

Intelligent Automation Using IoTMATION Rules Engine

IoTMATION offers a powerful Rules Engine that works on top of the sensor readings, other conditions like time of the day, day of the week, date , home-away status etc. It can also integrate third party APIs both as a trigger and as an action. In a single rule, one can use a number of triggers which can further be nested within another or can take parallel paths. Similarly one can define a number of actions as part of the same rule. Find a few of the more popular use cases built using the Rules Engine.

Schedules with IoTMATION

Creating a Schedule

More often people find it useful to automate certain tasks to be carried out a specific time. From switching on the lights at the corridor in the evening to switching on the geyser early in the morning, schedules can free you from such mundane task and make sure your regular requirements are met with simple automation. Schedules are the simplest form of automation, is highly useful, and are very popular among the users of home automation. A schedule gets triggered based once the set timing conditions are met.

The user can set the schedule to turn on a device at a particular time. A schedule can be a one time one or a repeating one. IoTMATION supports setting of repeated schedules where the user can select the days of a week when the schedule should get triggered.

Scenes

Scenes with IoTMATION

Scenes are used to set the indoor lighting conditions to a specified mode. With schedules, a user can preset scenes which defines the intensity and color of the bulbs to be used in that particular scene. The user can also control window blinders and curtains specific to a scene. So if the user wants the curtains to roll-up in the morning, and roll-down in the light, along with setting a dim light in the pathway, the scene is here to help. A user can use it to set lighting conditions for various time of the day like morning, evening, night etc. The user can also use it to set mood lighting like movies, party, or reading.

A user can activate a scene with a single click on the mobile application using the ‘run’ button. It can also be invoked using one utterance if using voice controls with Alexa or Google Assistant. Scenes can also be part of other Schedules and Routines. So when the schedule gets activate (based on the time) or the routine gets triggered, the scene will be activated.

Routines

Routines

Routines are completely flexible and highly powerful rules that a user can use to set fully custom automation. A user can use any available triggers to create a routine. A user can use one or more number of triggers and set different conditions and control flow including nested use of triggers. Similarly the user can set one or more available actions in a single routine. Also third party APIs can be used in a routine both as a trigger and as action. A routine can use device controls, Schedules, and Scenes in it. A routine will get automatically triggered based on the input conditions. However a user can also run a Routine through a click on the mobile application or with voice control.

IoTMATION provides a few default Routines for the convenience of the users. ‘Home Away’ status is one such routine. Here the user can configure the actions to be taken be taken when a user is not at home. Similarly there is an ‘At Home’ routine as well to be invoked to set the home at a default condition when you are at home. The user configured routines, along with the default routines can help improve the living condition by taking care of your home as per your choice.

Data Collection, Management, and Visualization

The IoTMATION framework gathers and aggregates useful data. It stores the structured data in a time series database. This data can be used based for analytics and visualization of the data. A number of powerful analytics can decision making can be built on top of the this. Real time monitoring and visualization, along with a comparative visualization can help in understanding trends, issues etc.

Use Cases of IoTMATION Powered Home Automation

A typical home-automation use case makes use of a large number of sensors and actuators. With the help of these devices, an IoTMATION powered home automation system can support enormous number of end use-cases. The ability to crate rules, with multiple triggers based on the climatic condition, time of the day, various sensor values, as well as based on third party APIs, IoTMATION offers unparalleled flexibility in creating highly useful customer use cases. Some of the use cases are described below.

Indoor Lighting Management

Home automation has evolved from being a simple tool to turn on/off devices remotely to support highly sophisticated use cases. This is even more true when it comes to indoor lighting control. With the advent of dimmable LEDs, LEDs supporting color and warmth, home automation has been pampering users with lights to match the surroundings and the mood.

Mood Lighting Using Scenes

Set the light conditions based on your mood or your activity. Set a scene for when you work, when you watch a TV, when you wake up, or when you go to the bed, or just about anything that you can imagine. Activate the scene with a single click or with voice command. Set the light intensity, the color, the warmth, all to match your mood for the occasion.

Automated Window Blind Control with Scenes

Control your window blinds automatically based on preset conditions like the time of the day, the ambient light conditions, and the mood setting. So, if you so desire, your window blinds will roll down and the lights will dim as you start watching a movie on the TV automatically.

Lighting of Convenience with Schedules/Routines

You want the light in the pathway turned on as you enter the building, or want the bed room floor to be dimly lit in the night as you wake up to go the rest room. Presence detection, movement detection, ambient light condition, the time of the day, all of these and more can be used to define how your home is lit. What’s more, you can make your lights go on/off at certain times to create an impression of someone being at home when you and the entire family is out on vacation.

Savings

Save both on energy and the energy bill with the use of an IoTMATION powered home automation system. You don’t have to leave the lights on so that you can enter your home at night. Switching them on using a mobile app, or simply by detecting presence or gate opening, is not only convenient, but also saves on energy and energy bill as well.

Indoor Environment Control

Indoor Climate Control

Gone are days of waking up shivering in the night to turn off the AC. Inaccurate temperature sensing from a sensor placed in one place could hardly provide consistent and comfortable temperature inside a home. Overuse of the AC, leading to discomfort, as well as to significantly higher electricity consumption. On the other hand, there may be corner in a room which does not receive adequate cooling.

However, with IoTMATION, these are things of past. With an IoT based automation system, you can control your AC based on multiple sensors and parameters. Multiple temperature and humidity sensors allow for providing a consistent climatic condition throughout an entire room or building. Create rules based on the reading from multiple sensors, based on the time of the day, or several other parameters including third party APIs providing weather information. Also, make sure your home is at the perfect condition even before you reach home with the help of few click of the mobile application.

Indoor Air Quality Management

Indoor air quality is of particular concern with people spending longer hours indoor post the pandemic outbreak. It’s often found that the indoor air is more polluted than even the air on a bust road on several parameters. The wall paint, varnish, pets, upholsteries, use of chemical room fresheners, pollens from indoor plants, lack of circulation of air are some of the main causes contributing to polluted air indoor. Also any gas leakage, or increased Carbon-monoxide (CO) level due to smokes from regular sources of fire like Diya (small lamp using plant based oil) can even be fatal if not corrected.

It’s necessary to monitor the indoor air quality on an ongoing basis to maintain indoor air quality to a safe level. Along with keeping various pollutants in check, it’s also important to maintain right humidity level. The humidity level often gets disturbed due to the operation of the AC. So monitoring and maintaining right humidity level is also important for a healthy indoor.

Making use of various sensors to monitor the air quality like CO2 (Carbon dioxide), CO (Carbon monoxide), dust (2.5 PPM and 10 PMM), Volatile Organic Components (VOC), O3 (Ozone) are some of the parameters that a user may choose to monitor. Home automation system powered by IoTMATION can measure and gather these parameters. The user can monitor the measured parameters using the IoTMATION dashboard. A graphical representation of the various parameters over a period of time can help understand factors causing pollution. Also the user can create rules (like turning on an exhaust, switching the AC to recirculation mode, turning on a humidifier etc.) to take distinct actions based on these parameters.

Threat Detection and Management

The traditional burglar alarm systems working based on door and window break might be both inefficient in terms of detecting a burglary attempt as well as in thwarting such attempts. An IoT based Threat Detection and Management System offers a large array of options in terms of how one detects a burglary attempt and what actions are taken based on it.

A user can configure a detection based on conditions like CCTV camera detecting movement, motion sensor getting activated, detection of smoke, switching on a light etc. apart from the regular detection mechanism of windows and doors being opened.

It can also have a number of actions to take based on a detection. It can be configured to send a notification to the mobile app, to send an SMS, to make a phone call and play a pre-recorded message, to play loud sounds, to turn on configured lights are among the many actions that can be configured with an IoTMATION burglary prevention system.

Another effective way to manage such threats would be to crate an impression of presence at home. A preconfigured routine to turn on lights at various times in the night can go a long way in managing such threats.

Access Control

IoTMATION offers an IoT integrated, automated, Admission Control System from IoTMATE. Due to the integration with the IoTMATION platform, the IoTMATION Access Control System becomes an extension of the overall automation scheme. The IoTMATION system can make use of digital locks, biometric based access control, locks with multi-factor authentication etc. for creating an access control as desired by the user. The user can also create time bound temporary access privileges for users.

Components of IoTMATION

A number of software components of the IoTMATION framework are at play to provide a powerful and feature rich home automation experience. Let’s provide a brief about the various components involved in IoTMATION.

IoTMATE OS

IoTMATE OS

IoTMATE OS provides a ready implementation of device firmware for several commonly used micro-controllers. The architecture of IoTMATE OS allows for easy integration of any device built on the supported micro-controllers.

IoT Platform

IoTMATE Cloud is a platform to run various IoT applications to manage and control multitude of IoT devices. Supporting IoT communication protocols like MQTT over secured sockets, IoTMATE Cloud allows for secured handling of devices and data in this platform.

User Interface

IoTMATE provides a highly customizable cross-platform mobile application development kit that can be used to generate mobile applications for Android and iOS. Complete white labeling and customization options allow one to create unique customer experience.

Generally there are three aspects to an IoT based home automation system. The first one deals with management of the things. It includes all aspects related to their configuration, connection, communication, and identity management. For an end-to-end security of the services, it’s important that the things are able to communicate using protected methods like using a SSL.

The Second aspect deals with the IoT platform that handles these devices, manages their interaction, and in general provides any intelligence required for handling automation.

The third aspect deals with the Human Machine Interface. A mobile application, a web-based dashboard, a centralized console all can be used as the user interface for the configuration, control, and management of the framework.

IoTMATION Advantages

  • Complete in-house design and development of all firmware, middleware, and cloud software.
  • Made in India, all data and control remains with Indian company.
  • Cloud native framework that makes the migration to smart devices extremely smooth.
  • Alexa and Google Home support.
  • Scalable, reliable, and secured cloud framework. All accesses are authenticated.
  • Predictable pricing model, low TCO.
  • Complete technical support by IoTMATE engineers for planning and integration.
  • Integration with both MCU based or non-MCU based products.
  • White labeling of products for your own branding.
  • Low MoQ, pay-as-you-use based payment model; very low upfront investments.
  • Feature rich solution with an accompanying mobile application.