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Home automation, queen of new homes?

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In France, the current legislation already imposes strict limits on energy consumption on new buildings. By 2020, all new buildings must be “BEPOS”, producing more energy than their own consumption.

A box to control the house from your smartphone

Even if its concept has existed for twenty years, home automation is fashionable. This involves centralizing all the electronic systems (security, heating, lighting, watering, etc.) of a house in a single device, thus allowing overall control of the building. Following the development of high technologies and especially the legislative requirements in terms of sustainable construction, home automation is currently experiencing a powerful boom. Home control is centralized in a simple box, similar to a classic web connection device.

This box is connected to all of the building's electronic systems, and is itself connected to its owner's smartphone. The latter is thus able to manage his home remotely. There are boxes of all types, adapted to buildings and their occupants. Typically, a box is capable of performing at least two major tasks. It regulates the energy consumption of the home, adjusting the heating as well as possible, activates the washing machine and the dishwasher at off-peak hours, or even assesses the amount of watering required for the garden. The energy savings and therefore money are very real, particularly in winter, making the initial investment cost profitable fairly quickly.

One of the symbols of these connected habitats is the Jewel Box , a Swiss house recently awarded the CEDIA 2015 international prize. The use of high technology is here pushed to its peak and totally at the service of ecology. The Jewel Box draws its energy solely from solar panels, and has walls of greenery fed by an intelligent irrigation system, precisely assessing the needs of the plants. The swimming pool and the wine cellar are managed themselves according to the temperatures pre-established by the owner. Wifi and non-vital devices turn off independently when the house is unoccupied. Finally, the gate opens by itself after recognizing the owner's license plate. A small marvel of technology at the price of: 350,000 euros for home automation alone ...

Security, one of the challenges of home automation

The major interest of home automation concerns security. It provides real-time surveillance, thanks to a wifi camera and alarm system, immediately transmitting any suspicious clue to the owner's smartphone. Better, the box is able to trigger on command the lighting of the house and the opening of the shutters, in order to suggest an occupation of the premises. There are also boxes specializing in helping the elderly. As they now wish to stay at home as long as possible, increasingly sophisticated security devices allow them to be assisted in real time. This is the case with “connected ground” which, at night, provides a light path to the desired places, or even immediately calls for help if a heavy shock is detected.

In addition to ecological imperatives, this security aspect of home automation is also doomed to boom. The number of burglaries per year is estimated at 400,000 according to the Ministry of the Interior, with 80% of crimes carried out during the day in the absence of the owners. However, the triggering of an alarm is enough to scare away 95% of burglars, a weighty argument for getting equipped. In terms of assistance to the elderly, here too the figures are likely to fuel the success of home automation. According to INSEE, in 2060, a third of French people will be over 60 years old.

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