How IoT is enabling the rise of smarter homes

Issue 3 2021 Smart Home Automation, Integrated Solutions

As South Africans become increasingly tech-savvy, the reality is that they are also looking at ways to make their homes smarter in order to increase convenience and enhance safety by using a wide variety of DIY Internet of Things (IoT) sensors that can be easily connected and their data viewed remotely.

Sensors are becoming smaller and cheaper, but with increased capability, lower power usage and durability and it is predicted that there could be 22 billion connected devices by 2025. Although the Industrial IoT market is well established, an increase of sensors and solutions in the consumer market is expected, to enhance safety, cost savings and convenience.

A further enhancement to the above is the availability of IoT specific networks, such as the Sigfox Network that is operated by Sqwidnet, which provides coverage across 93% of the South African population. The availability of these networks eliminates the installation of home or business networks. Combine this with low powered, user-replaceable batteries, that eliminate power outages, the user can view the IoT devices without any restrictions.

The variety of sensors that are available in the market varies in complexity to suit all requirements, which can be for industrial, commercial or residential purposes. Using an IoT mobile application or web application, the user has the capability to change certain measurable parameters or conditions on the sensors, via the IoT network. The information received from the sensors can be viewed, analysed and trigger an alarm to assist the user to react to a condition and make a decision where necessary.

Some basic sensors that are available to the consumer market include smoke detection, water leak detection, door open/closed sensors, AC power on/off, temperature sensors with a minimum and maximum setting, vibration sensors as well as GPS tracking sensors.

Consumer IoT as a service

At its most basic level, an IoT solution comprises three main components: sensors, a data transmission network and a platform to analyse and view the information. More complex IoT solutions are also available in the market with a level of artificial intelligence (AI) that integrates with other automated components to achieve the desired outcome, such as automated switching on of lights when dark or temperature control, etc.

We live in a connected world and people are looking for ways to use IoT and other smart devices to increase convenience and safety, improve energy efficiency and even save on costs. Given the way in which these sensors work, they can be used for multiple purposes across the home. The use cases are numerous and are only limited by the user’s imagination.


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