The lives of people with disabilities do not have to be hopeless just because of their physical limitations. For a long time, technology has not been focused on how it can be used to improve people’s lives and provide a higher quality of life. The concept of smart homes is one of them.
In recent years, the construction and conversion of ordinary homes into “smart homes” has increased dramatically. Smart homes, also known as “connected homes,” are quickly becoming a fascinating and growing global phenomenon. Smart homes include a lot of automation.
The Smart Home Concept – our immediate future
Connected programmable devices make use of “a network to control home functions for a better quality of life and greater convenience.” These devices use wireless technology such as Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11), Bluetooth (IEEE 802.15.1), Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), ZigBee, IPv6 Low-Power Wireless Personal Area Network (6LoWPAN), and more.
Bluetooth (IEEE 802.15.1) is a well-known technology used in mobile phones and other devices (printers, digital cameras, etc.). It is a set of protocols for system design that allows radio frequency control of the system. Bluetooth allows devices to communicate over short distances.
RFID is a technology that is currently on the rise and makes use of passive or active labels to store information.
Zigbee (IEEE 802.15.4) is a wireless data transmission standard that allows machine-to-machine communication (M2M). Zigbee is domotics-oriented and has a very low fuel electric consumption, making it ideal for use in smart objects.
Impressively, we’ve seen smart home residents reaping the advantages of security, energy-saving, and therefore the ability to regulate their lighting, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), door locks, and coffee makers while in their personal space, such as in bed or on a couch.
Residents of smart homes can control lighting, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), lock and unlock doors, and make coffee while lying in bed or sitting on the couch. The technology used by these systems is classified as the Internet of Things (IoT).
How Smart Homes benefit disabled people the most?
Most of the smart home devices are not designed for people with disabilities and limited range of movement in mind.
We can agree that “disabled persons face many problems in their daily lives both inside and outside of the home especially while staying alone at home”. Smart homes were designed from the start to improve the quality of life for non-disabled people.
If the disabled person can speak or use gestures to communicate with the system, the limitations of smart home programmable devices can be overcome by designing systems that make use of the ability to send commands to these systems using voice.
One of the research papers says smart homes are defined as “living environments supplied with advanced intelligent technologies that manipulate and respond according to the home residents’ requirements”.
How it changes people’s quality of life?
A smart home can notify residents when a washing machine has finished washing clothes, when a roast has finished cooking and is ready to serve, show residents the contents of their refrigerator remotely, and perform many other tasks that residents must perform manually.
The Internet of Things, sensors, smartphones, smart appliances, cloud computing, and digital assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, and Microsoft Cortana are all contributing to this to capture voice commands.
Spoken in a much more natural way to control ordinary home electrical appliances in order to turn them on or off with minimal exertion from a person with physical disabilities.
The digital assistant, in the case, Amazon Alexa, can communicate with a smart electrical power strip or smart mini power socket via Wi-Fi to turn the electrical appliances plugged into them on or off. The person with a disability simply asks Alexa to turn an appliance on or off by simply saying “Alexa turn on the microwave”, for example.
Smart Homes: The Conclusion
Few Indian companies have started to fill the gap between smart devices and smart homes. One of them is OpenApp, a Bengaluru-based company, they are into smart locks for homes and apartments and recently they have launched solutions to control all smart devices in a single app regardless of who manufactured them.
Hear it from Mr. Venkatesan on how OpenApp Door Three has helped change things for the best around his home.Mr. Venkatesan, Residing in Bengaluru, India
The cost of a smart home is generally high but as always; costs go down over time due to a number of reasons such as economies of scale or competition among vendors. Tusk, a subsidiary of OpenApp, is on a mission to make homes better and safer spaces to live in. They are offering Power-packed combos with the world’s most loved brands at the lowest prices guaranteed.
Smartphones are used to control smart devices because they can communicate wirelessly . Users can download and install applications(Android, iOS) that are designed to wirelessly send commands to smart devices.
Of course, using smart technology to control home devices could be extremely beneficial to people with physical disabilities and the elderly.
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