In the West, Home Automation industry has grown leaps and bounds but it is still at a nascent stage in India. The Internet of Things (IoT) is slowly picking up steam as internet connectivity improves in the country. Still, technology has a lot to catch up to before you get anywhere close to the Iron Man’s Stark Towers or Batman’s Cave. Apart from internet connectivity, what also puts the breaks on home automation advancement the cost factor.
In past few years, several Indian startups that are offering some budget home automation devices that can convert your home to a smart home have emerged, and these products can indeed give you a viable smart home experience. Let’s take a look.
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Smart lights or bulbs have been around for some time now. These bulbs can be connected to your smartphone via WI-FI and controlled remotely, even when you are not at home. The advantages of smart lights include their ability to offer different intensities and colors of light while consuming very little power. With apps such as IFTTT you can set automatic turn-off and wake up time even when you are not at home.
Nowadays, various brands such as Philips, Sysika and few others offer a range of smart bulbs. Having said that, Philips Hue is our personal favorite. They are slightly heavy on the pocket as a hue kit costs around 8K in India which contains Hue Bridge and Hue Lamp. A Hue Bridge can handle up to 50 bulbs. A single bulb cost around 3,500 INR. Philips hue is compatible with Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant.
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When you are leading digital lives, it’s simpler if a digital assistant can help you declutter it. Modern home assistants like Google Home and Amazon Eco are nowhere near perfect, but they can remind you of stuff and help you remain on top of things.
Powered by Artificial Intelligence based Google Assistant, it can perform various tasks with simple voice prompts. It can play music, set alarm, remind you of stuff, provide weather updates and can control other connected smart devices. Soon you will also be able to use it as a regular Bluetooth speaker. That’s not all, it can connect with other Google Home devices to form a mesh. Sadly, Google is yet to release its Home speaker officially in India.
In India, Sonos and Sirena Tech are two popular smart speaker options. The Sonos Play 1 speakers cost around Rs. 24,500 whereas Sirena Tech speakers cost around Rs. 10,000.
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Home Security requires utmost attention, especially in India. Therefore, Smart locks are gaining popularity in the country. These smart locks can provide you key-less entry with the help of Bluetooth sensor and NFC tags. Some Internet-enabled smart locks even let you unlock your home remotely for your friend and relatives.
If in case, your smartphone runs out a battery, you can use a traditional key to unlock your home. These smart locks maintain, logs so each time someone unlocks the door, it will notify you with a specific time. Some popular smart lock brands are August, Kwikset, Oakter and few more.
Smart switches board
There are a number of smart switches board options available in India. These smart switches can be installed with your existing setup. These modules are Wi-Fi enabled, therefore, they let you control connected appliances with an app. You can turn them off, and regulate light dimmers, fans and ACs using your smartphone.
That’s not all, these Smart Switches also lets you keep a track of energy consumption. Popular Smart Switchboard options are Orvito, Pert and a few others.
There is another brand called Air in India that follows a different approach and offers a more advanced solution. Its single kit can connect multiple rooms. It offers unique features such as presence detection, smart scheduling, and a fuse in every module for safety.
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Smart Plug is a cheaper solution that can be used to control dumb home appliances remotely. These smart plugs are much easy on the pocket and are wi-fi enabled that lets you use your smartphone to turn devices On or Off, eliminating the need for a controller or hub. They can be used to control appliances like air-conditioner/geyser from your smartphone. It is easy to setup and easy to use. A number of brands including popular smartphone maker Xiaomi offer such plugs/ sockets.
Smart dongle like Chromecast, Chromecast Audio, and Fire TV can totally change the way you consume multimedia content. For instance, you could use Chromecast audio to stream songs to regular speakers (any speaker with Aux input) over Wi-Fi or to directly stream video content to your HDMI TV.