Advanced capabilities of of smart home systems
A Smart Home system enables you to control a building's central functions, light, heating, window blind circuitry, etc., from any point in the house, according to your wishes. System expansion and changes to functions are also possible, at any moment, without the need to alter the physical installation, as would be the case of a traditional system. In a smart home this is achieved through reprogramming of the appliances.
Advanced capabilities of KNX/EIB systems are:
1. Integration of the smart system with the alarm system
2. Presence simulation
3. Integration with the audio/video system
4. Information on the status and signals from other systems
5. Use of a computer visualisation module (i. e. via the internet) or a synoptic table
6. Use of a weather station with wind, light, precipitation and temperature sensors
7. Use of an atomic clock
8. Use of a logic module
9. Remote system updates
10. Automatic watering of the garden
Ad.11. Integration with the alarm system
Smart home systems allow the integration if important security features. Apart from the alarm system, also smoke detectors, humidity sensors and other technical installations can operate jointly with the electrics. Signals from these units are run to the smart system and allow to protect the house from damage and reduce the effects of random accidents. Integration with the alarm system allows i. e. automatic activation of all lamps if the alarm system discovers an intruder, and automatic notification of the police and security units. In our projects we aim to make use of the features offered by standard alarm systems (output from the central unit informing on the state of the sensors). Such a solution minimises costs and gives more options to provide security.
Co-operation with the central alarm unit allows the use of signals from window and door opening sensors, motion, smoke and flood detectors, etc. Thanks to this the system will automatically react to any danger, and will inform the respective services or entities. One can also control the alarm lighting inside and outside the building. At actuation, the KNX/EIB system lights all lamps surrounding the house. Information on the state of windows is gathered through the central alarm unit, and is also routed to the system. Thanks to this, the opening of a window will block warm air flow to that room, which contributes to savings on heating.
The automatic door lock with access control recognises any person entering or leaving the house. At the turning of the key signals can be sent out to many different devices to i. e. turn of all lights, shut the blinds, reduce the temperature. Opening of the door lock starts the electrical and plumbing systems. When everyone leaves the house these are automatically switched off. This means that even if somebody leaves a lamp or a TV on, or the water running, the KNX/EIB system will take care of this for them (contributing to SAVINGS on energy and water) as well as increased SECURITY of the house. Losing the house keys will not force the owner to change the lock, all one needs to do is remove access to the house for a particular key. The door lock cannot be opened/closed remotely, however one can remotely accept (or decline) access by a key. There exists also the option of using a fully automatic door with remotely opened locks (or operating using proximity access cards).
Cameras placed at vital points of the building and outside can send the image to any selected TV (should the family be startled by something). It can also record the image upon movement detection by the camera.
Ad.12. Presence simulation
When the family is away on holidays, the house becomes an object of desire for burglars. The function of presence simulation markedly decreases the risk of an unpleasant surprise when everyone comes home. A special module 'records' the activities of the family in the period before the trip (regarding lamps, blinds, music, etc.), and then 'plays it back' when they are away. The effect is very convincing, because it simulates real activities which are different from day to day. One can choose which components should play a part in the simulation, so that no energy is wasted on i. e. the coffee machine.
Ad.13. Integration with the audio/video system
The KNX/EIB system allows for integration with infra red remote control units of the audio/video and multiroom (audio amplification for multiple rooms) system. Its goal is the usage of one hi-fi set for the distribution of an audio signal to multiple rooms. This solution means full flexibility in the choice of sound source for a given room, as well as elegance of the system - in the room there is only a small control unit visible on the wall, and speakers (which can i. e. be hidden away in the walls or in the ceiling).
The infra red module can be integrated with other installations. This means i. e. that the entrance of a family member will not only automatically turn on the light, roll down the blinds, raise the temperature, but it can also cause the selection of a favourite TV channel or a chosen music album. It can also i. e. reduce the volume of the TV in case the phone rings.
Automatic messages for persons in the rooms and around the house can be saved in the voice module and played back in case of a predefined event. The universal remote control used in the rooms allows, apart from control of audio/video equipment, also the control of lights.
- Being able to control the music from any room in the house increases comfort
- One remote control unit for all appliances simplifies use and helps maintain order on the table
- The house plays a person's favourite music upon having recognised them
- The music server is able to store several thousand albums for quick access to favourite songs by every occupant
- A visual representation of the network of all devices on the TV screen greatly eases control of all receiving units
- Voice communication with the house increases the feeling of comfort and security
Ad.14. Information on the status and signals from other systems
Various systems (i. e. the alarm system, access control, HVAC) can be integrated with the KNX/EIB net. Thanks to this, information from them can be used to initiate certain actions of the system. This allows i. e. for notifications on the necessity of replacing the air conditioning filter or in case of any other malfunction/error. A breakdown of the pumps, an alert, etc., can be reported in the visual representation, on the synoptic table, or via short text messages sent to cellular phones of authorised persons. The system can read the states of basic or backup power disconnectors, of the main power switch, etc. One can also read out the amperages from the transformers in the main switch cabinet on phases L1, L2, L3. The KNX/EIB system can also measure the power consumption of the building, and its momentary power rating.
Ad.15. Use of a computer visualisation module (i. e. online)
Through the use of the visualisation module one can have an overview of the whole installation. The status of every appliance in the system is shown on any computer having access to the structural network with a browser, i. e. Mozilla Firefox, as well as a user account with a password. On the screen (both in the house as well as anywhere in the world) one can see information on parameters of the HVAC and alarm systems, the operation and any breakdowns of pumps, which window is open, and the temperature in each room. From the visual representation one can switch any component on or off, and alter the temperature for any room individually or for groups of rooms. One can also control the central functions, i. e. change the heating scheme from comfortable to economic. Instead of a complex computer presentation one can use a simple synoptic table, showing the status of main system functions, i. e. HVAC system, pump operation, filter clogging, etc.
We also offer large touch-sensitive LCD panels replacing wireless remote control units used hitherto. Operation together with a computer system allows one to change any settings, update the software or create own menu screens, including animated graphics.
Ad.16. Use of a weather station
Thanks to the use of a weather station the system has access to data on the outside conditions. The following sensors are connected to the station: sunlight intensity, wind, precipitation, and outdoor temperature. The light intensity switch controls the lamps outside the building. The precipitation sensor, operating together with the temperature unit, controls i. e. heating of the driveway and rain spouts.
Ad.17. Use of an atomic clock
The clock is set via radio using a DCF-77 antenna. The signal is received from the town of Mainflingen near Frankfurt in Germany. The clock is precise to +/- one second over 1 000 000 years. Apart from gathering precise information on the time and date, the clock is also used in conjunction with the weather station, for the control of external lighting, to reduce temperature in the rooms in the night, and to adjust the power of lamps controlled by motion detectors (so as not to blind anybody in the night).
Ad.18. Use of a logic module
Thanks to the use of a logic module one can create diverse logical dependencies. The module is used for control of external lights in conjunction with the clock and weather station, and for control of the heating in the rooms, depending on their usage at the moment.
Ad.19. Remote access and system updates
All electrical appliances can be controlled locally from a given room, as well as remotely. The user can control each component separately or join them into groups, from any spot in the building, or remotely via phone or the internet.
Using a phone (also via short text messages) one can control the functions of the system from any place. One may check this way the state of the alarm system, the electric circuitry, the heating, etc., but also switch on the heating very early in the morning. A communicator will also transmit, in every situation, a message about a malfunction of the heating, a burst pipe, or an intruder in the security zone - to the phone of the owner, the neighbour, workplace or a private security company.
In case there should be a large distance between the offices of the development company and the site in question, the option of remotely updating the system software is useful. Thanks to an appropriate module, the investor can save money on costs of alterations and upgrades, which, executed remotely, are cheaper than having our specialists drive long distances.
Ad.20. Automatic watering of the garden
Large lawns and green areas require frequent and precise watering. Using traditional methods it's hard to regularly deliver precisely the amount of water the plants need, taking into account the temperature and precipitation. A smart home system allows automatic control of sprinklers i case the soil gets dry too quickly.