IoT Home Automation: In-Depth Guide
IoT home automation allows controlling domestic appliances and other smart home devices via electronically controlled, internet-connected systems. Home automation solutions can link motion detectors, security cameras, automatic door locks, and other physical security measures so you can turn them on from one mobile device before going to bed or even without getting out of bed.
Home automation devices are IoT devices. IoT for home automation could include pre-programmed complex heating and lighting systems, alarms, home security controls, and other smart devices linked by a central hub and controlled by a mobile app.
In this guide, WebbyLab will review the IoT home automation market, explain how to implement home automation using IoT, and cover everything related to the components of IoT home automation, including software, hardware, sensors, protocols, architecture, and platforms. Our experts will also share their experience with IoT home automation systems and smart solutions development.
IoT Home Automation Market
The sale of networked IoT at smart home devices and related services that enable home automation for individual end users makes up the IoT home automation market.
Key Market Insights
According to projections, the global home automation market will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.3% between 2021 and 2028, rising from $72.3 billion in 2021 to $163.2 billion in 2028.
In 2021, there were 258.54 million smart homes, or 12.2% of all homes. Statista predicts that there will be 350 million smart homes by 2023. By 2025, it is estimated that more than 400 million homes will have smart home systems and appliances. Thus, a steady interest in smart home technologies drives the IoT home automation market growth.
Global IoT Home Automation Revenue
Revenue from the global IoT home automation market is expected to increase significantly in the coming years. According to the Digital Market Outlook, the global market for smart homes is predicted to generate $182 billion dollars in revenue by 2025.
The Internet of Things (IoT) market was estimated to be worth $388 billion in 2019. It might reach more than one trillion dollars in 2030. By this year, revenue from the consumer sector, which is expected to continue to dominate, will total $476 billion.
The major players in the IoT Home Automation market will constantly work to create new products that will empower businesses digitally and increase profits for the company. As a result, the IoT Home Automation market will see tremendous growth in introducing innovative solutions.
Three Major Parts of Home Automation
There are three major parts of home automation:
- Communication protocols.
Each component is equally crucial to provide your customers with a genuinely satisfying smart home experience.
The ability to iteratively develop your IoT prototype and swiftly adapt to technological shifts depends on having the right hardware. Home automation systems’ hardware consists of actuators, controls, and sensors. A touch-sensitive sensor, for instance, can be used to dim or brighten a lamp with just a touch.
Controllers like programmable logic controllers can control machines in things like lighting fixtures. Actuators are tools that turn energy into motion and are used to move or control a system or mechanism. Wires, infrared, or radio frequencies must be present to create an interconnecting system.
Software / Apps
Home automation software resides in your hardware and controls your data, data transfer, firmware IoT and OTA updates, and other crucial operations to make things work together is another crucial factor to take into account.
Such software makes controlling common household appliances like lights, HVAC units, access controls, sprinklers, and other devices easier. It typically offers task scheduling, such as timing the activation of sprinklers, and event handling, such as activating lights in response to a motion.
Home automation software frequently uses a client-server model for its user interface, whether a web UI, a smartphone app, or a combination of both. Users of more sophisticated IoT application in home automation can create scripts in a programming language to carry out more complex tasks.
Protocols allow smart devices in the home automation system to communicate. In remote communication, a gateway is necessary to transfer the data. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, satellite, or an ethernet port that connects directly to the internet can all be the network protocol.
Depending on the system architectural layer that the data will travel in, you’ll require a specific IoT protocol. The many levels that transmit and receive data are mapped out by the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. Each IoT protocol in the IoT system architecture facilitates communication between devices, between gateways, data centers, clouds, and between gateways and devices.
There are following layers where different protocols are used:
- Application layer (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol, Constrained Application Protocol, Data Distribution Service, Message Queue Telemetry Transport).
- Transport layer (Transmission Control Protocol, User Datagram Protocol).
- Network layer (IP, 6LoWPAN).
- Data Link layer (IEEE 802.15.4, LPWAN)
- Physical layer (Bluetooth Low Energy, Ethernet, Long-term evolution, Near field communication, Power Line Communication, Radio frequency identification (RFID), Wi-Fi/802.11, Z-Wave, Zigbee.
Carefully chosen and tested communication protocol helps you avoid performance bottlenecks that limit your ability to integrate technology and devices with sensors and IoT gateways.
12 Applications of IoT in Home Automation
There are various applications of IoT in smart homes. Below you will find 12 of the most popular applications of IoT devices for home automation.
Lighting control is an IoT application for smart homes that adjusts to your needs and program lighting to turn on and off automatically when you come home, leave home, wake up, or start watching a movie. Smart lighting devices connect to your smartphone, laptop, or other device and can be manipulated remotely through the app.
WebbyLab has developed a 2Smart lamp named Wow Fire Lamp based on the Gyver lamp. Wow Fire Lamp is controlled from the 2SmartCloud platform. Here are some of the main characteristics of Wow Fire Lamp.
- 20+ spectacular modes
- Control via a mobile application, 2Smart Cloud, Telegram bot, and phone calls
- Support of voice assistants Siri and Google Assistant
- Integration into smart home systems
- Built-in touch control button
- Fully printed on a 3D printer body
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning are a set of engineering systems, the purpose of which is to create the necessary or optimal microclimate conditions needed for the stay of people. IoT allows homeowners to monitor their HVAC systems’ performance and find problems early on by connecting them to the IoT.
WebbyLab has created a Smartheat heat pump with a convenient interface and tools for remote collection and telemetry storage. Heat pumps were added to the 2Smart Cloud mobile app. To connect a heat pump to a smartphone, a user had to install the application, log in, and choose their pump model from a list.
As a result, the customer was able to modernize his product with little effort and expense by connecting with 2Smart Cloud. The platform’s functionality made it possible to get tools for gathering and analyzing equipment telemetry, improve the user interface for interacting with heat pumps, and offer remote user support.
Automated yard tools and robotic lawn mowers can help you with lawn management. Outdoor home automation sensors benefit people who want to cultivate fruits, veggies, and herbs. The technology enables users to verify on the smartphone whether the temperature is appropriate and whether the plant is sufficiently hydrated and getting enough sunshine.
The advancement of IoT technology in gardening fundamentally alters how plants are typically grown. The software keeps track of the soil’s current condition, determines whether it has enough moisture, and, if necessary, activates a smart irrigation system. The sensor detects when the moisture content reaches the desired level and turns off the irrigation system to prevent overwatering.
WebbyLab’s 2Smart Standalone has a scenario for garden management that can control the amount of illumination for specific plants. For example, some plants need to be illuminated for at least 18 hours a day. The scenario is location-oriented and knows the times of sunrise and sunset at that location. At sunset, it turns on the artificial light just enough to get the required 18 hours of lighting per day.
Smart Home Appliances
Smart home technologies can regulate your home’s temperature, lighting setup, and security system with AI and ML. The technology can provide you with news updates, locate the information you seek on the Internet, send notifications via an app about the purchases you need to make, order food for you, set up an appointment, and reserve a flight or hotel for you.
You may also access your home automation system to check its status. Use the app to check that your lights, security, and other Internet-connected systems are properly functioning when you’re away or visiting your parents or friends.
Improved Home Safety and Security
With specialized sensors, smart security systems can control if doors and windows are shut, and TV, computer, and other electrical equipment are turned off. When you leave the house, these controls may lock the door, close the blinds, switch off the lights, and ensure your house is secure from human and animal intruders.
Smart safety sensors can detect something wrong with your house, alerting you about potential hazards and taking the required precautions to avert them. Controllers for temperature, humidity, and gas levels can regularly check your home’s air and notify you online if the indications are outside the ideal range.
WebbyLab’s team has experience with designing and building a functional model of an IoT device, a mobile robot performing security tasks. As a POC, we developed a space-moving robot with a video surveillance function and remote control. It was chosen to incorporate remote control of the robot’s operations, information gathering from its sensors, and viewing footage from a security camera.
Home Air Quality and Water Quality Monitoring
Smart air quality monitoring systems can identify noxious gases, contaminants, and carbon dioxide levels and provide real-time data to a management dashboard. It can provide better situational awareness, increased visibility, and earlier warnings about pollution hotspots.
IoT-based smart water quality monitoring systems use a variety of sensors to keep track of the water’s quality by measuring pH, turbidity, conductivity, and temperature. The controllers access data from sensors. The data is processed with the aid of IoT, and a rigorous procedure can examine the water contamination.
Natural Language-Based Voice Assistants
Artificial intelligence in today’s voice-first technology, Natural Language Understanding (NLU), focuses on identifying patterns and meaning in human language. The way we engage with technology, both at home and elsewhere, has already been revolutionized by natural language processing using voice assistants as a proxy.
Amazon Alexa is an example of a natural language-based voice assistant that is integrated into Amazon’s audio devices, Fire TV set-top boxes, and others. It can play music and read news from multiple sources, providing information about the weather, traffic jams, and other parameters. Thanks to an open API, Alexa can work with any third-party application or service.
A smart switch is a programmable wireless switch that enables automation and lighting control and offers the same functionality as a conventional switch. Smart switches enable users to control their lights with a smartphone app, voice assistant, or pre-programmed schedule by connecting to a smart home hub.
Smart switches eliminate the need to get up and look for light switches by allowing you to control lights around your home with a single tap on your smartphone. When you’re not around, smart switches turn off the lights and change the settings to reduce the amount of electricity used.
A smart lock is an electromechanical lock designed to perform door locking and unlocking operations when it receives a prompt via an electronic keypad, biometric sensor, access card, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi from a registered mobile device.
WebbyLab has developed an access control and management system Propuskator. It is a complete IoT solution that created a hardware platform from scratch. Propuskator consists of the controller (hardware + firmware), a platform for admins, and a mobile application (software).
The controller can be connected to a smart lock, gate automation, or barrier and control the door, or gate remotely from the admin panel, mob application, call, or voice. Based on Propuskator, several housing complexes in Kyiv have been launched, and a large residence for several buildings has been in operation for more than a year.
Smart Energy Meters
A smart energy meter is a generalized concept that can be applied to an electronic device that records the consumption of electricity while additionally charging accounting by the time of day, hourly, or more often. It sends information to the provider no less than daily for monitoring and billing purposes.
Smart energy meters provide two-way communication between the central system and the meter. In some IoT use cases, access to such a database may be provided for the subscriber via the Internet or mobile phone. Unlike home electricity meters, smart meters can collect data for reporting remotely.
Architecture for IoT for Home Automation
Having the right architecture is vital for the success of any IoT home automation project. To make IoT home automation architecture easier to understand, let’s break it down into four steps that will gradually explain how home automation systems work.
Main Steps of IoT Home Automation Architecture:
- Basic setup
- Cloud connection
- Real-time monitoring and notifications
The architecture of an IoT automation system is intricate and incorporates distant servers with sensors. The servers housed in the cloud can manage numerous sensors at once. IoT sensors communicate through Bluetooth, ZigBee, Wi-Fi, and Z-Wave. The controller, sometimes called a hub or gateway, is the system’s primary component.
The controller has an Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection to the router at home. Through this centralized gateway, the sensors transmit and receive commands. This communication is then sent to the cloud by the gateway. It indicates that all of the gadgets are linked, making it feasible to plan out the order of the actions you want to take.
A user can access IoT devices from anywhere in the world. Why so? The data is constantly updated. It is saved in the cloud. No matter how far away from home, you may continuously transmit commands to the hub. The requested action starts after the hub sends a signal to the sensors in response to the command. The hub then updates the device status to give you relevant data.
Real-Time Monitoring and Notifications
The hub connects with the cloud network through the Internet. In the routine schedule, you can keep track of updates. The hub receives the input from the cloud network. The sensor gets it from the hub and initiates the action. Following that, you are informed immediately about the system’s changed status.
WebbyLab’s IoT Home Automation Architecture Design Approach
Having developed and implemented numerous IoT-based home automation solutions, Webbylab has worked out an architecture design approach where the flexibility of running a smart house is the key feature. WebbyLab has designed numerous scenarios to accomplish this.
WebbyLab 2Smart platform is a no-code software for connecting and creating smart devices that transform your original concepts into effective IoT solutions quickly and effortlessly. Experienced users can create scripts in the code editor. For those, who want to avoid writing code, it is possible to construct versatile scripts utilizing a straightforward and highly flexible interface. Professionals can build their own bridges to integrate new gadgets, using WebbyLab’s Software Development Kit (SDK) 2Smart to make the development process easier.
Here are some of the aspects that WebbyLab put into practice in the architecture design approach:
- Each function can be used offline, while at the same time, remote access is available through the Internet.
- Everything is event-based; there is no backend polling. Almost everything operates instantly with few reaction times.
- A modular architecture allows for the installation of third-party extensions. A marketplace for extensions has been created. Docker images are used to deliver extensions.
- One command will enable the user to install the application on a local machine.
- Cross-platform compatibility.
- Device auto-discovery support.
Elaborating user interface is its second-most crucial feature, allowing you to customize dashboards to your specific requirements. As a result, dashboards are available for various rooms, levels, and zones. Every dashboard features real-time information and can include many widgets as you wish. In addition, there are desktop and mobile layouts for each dashboard.
What IoT Components Are Used for Home Automation
We’ve already discussed three major parts of home automation. Now let’s break them down into their components so you can visualize a realistic model of the key elements needed to construct a smart house and know how they differ. The main components could be the following
- IoT Sensors. A sensor transforms the physical action that needs to be measured into its electrical counterpart so that the electrical signals can be transferred and further analyzed with ease.
- IoT Gateways. A centralized hub known as an IoT gateway links IoT gadgets and sensors to cloud computing and data processing. Data transmission between the cloud and smart home IoT devices is frequently made possible by modern IoT gateways.
- IoT Protocols. A protocol is a set of guidelines that specify how data is transmitted over the internet. IoT protocols make sure that data from one device or sensor is read and interpreted by another device, a gateway, or a service.
- IoT Firmware. A firmware is a piece of computer code that is stored in a non-volatile component of the device and enables it to carry out the tasks for which it was designed. It consists of the kernel, bootloader, filesystem, and extra resources.
- IoT Cloud and Databases. IoT devices and apps are supported by a vast network known as an IoT cloud. IoT databases are vital for the effective handling and storage of data. Database systems assist to integrate data across a variety of IoT databases.
- IoT Middleware. Middleware for the IoT is software that acts as a connection point for IoT parts, enabling communication between parts that otherwise couldn’t communicate.
Some of the home automation components will be discussed in a little more detail below. Now let’s look at the case of the 2Smart greenhouse automation project by WebbyLab to see what home automation components were used there.
Home Automation Components Used in WebbyLab’s Greenhouse Automation Project
Greenhouse automation project was developed as a turnkey solution for greenhouse automation. The content of the box can be customized as requested. The box can be simply set up and connected to managing equipment. In the case of do-it-yourself installation, WebbyLab can provide remote support for users and it’s easy to add new devices and automation scenarios.
The controller helped to automate the greenhouse enabling remote control of the following functions through the mobile app, Telegram bot, Google and Siri voice assistants:
- Temperature preservation
- Air humidification
Greenhouse automation project supports the work of the devices of different brands in any combination. It supports popular IoT protocols such as ModBus, KNX, and Zigbee. The support of other interfaces can be added upon the customer’s request.
IoT Sensors for Home Automation
Let’s have a look at different types of IoT sensors and briefly describe the purpose of each sensor used for home automation.
- Temperature sensors. It measures the environment’s temperature, and monitors and signals temperature changes.
- Lux sensors. It detects the level of light and sends a signal about the changes in the light.
- Water level sensors. It tracks water changes around your home and finds leaks.
- Air composition sensors. It measures the composition and quality of air in smart homes.
- Video cameras for surveillance. They observe the area and may record the data.
- Voice/Sound sensors. They identify sound waves by turning its strength into electrical signals.
- Pressure sensors. They detect pressure and transform it into an electric signal.
- Humidity sensors. They report the relative humidity (RH) of the air and estimate the amount of water vapor in the air.
- Accelerometers. They measure an object’s or body’s instantaneous rest frame acceleration.
- Infrared sensors. They detect and measure infrared radiation in their environment.
- Vibrations sensors. They gauge the intensity and frequency of vibration in a particular system, machine, or piece of equipment.
- Ultrasonic sensors. They send out sound waves in the direction of the target and measure its distance by timing how long it takes for the waves to reflect and return to the receiver.
Top 10 IoT-driven Home Automation Protocols
The language that devices use to communicate with one another in smart homes is called a protocol. They can communicate and manage each other’s operations as a result. Below are some of the most important IoT-driven home automation protocols.
- Zigbee. It is a wireless mesh network designed for short-distance, low-speed communications that are widely used in home automation. At WebbyLab, we use Zigbee protocol for our IoT home automation projects. Please read more about the use of Zigbee here.
- Insteon. It unifies wireless and power-line technologies into one network. As long as your home has an outlet or a wifi signal, you can add accessories there.
- Z-Wave. It is a wireless communication system created especially for the home automation industry. Z-Wave is one of the more well-liked low-power wireless home automation technologies.
- Thread Protocol. It is a new IoT protocol that is run by The Thread Group, which includes Samsung, Google/Nest, Apple, Qualcomm, Tyco, and many other companies.
- WiFi Protocol. It is a wireless communication standard developed and managed by the Wi-Fi Alliance that enables communication and interoperability across various devices.
Other popular IoT protocols are 6LoWPAN, EnOcean, Bluetooth Mesh, MQTT, and KNX.
When choosing a protocol, we recommend paying attention to the following criteria:
- Capacity to verify identities
- Sensor network quality
- Rate of data transfer
- Security level
- Network topology
- Density of nearby objects
- Effective distance
Home Automation Gateways
A centralized hub known as an IoT gateway links IoT gadgets and sensors to cloud computing and data processing. Bidirectional is frequently Modern IoT gateways made bidirectional data transmission between the cloud and IoT devices possible. When choosing the ideal gateway for your IoT home automation it is important to consider the following aspects:
- Supported communication protocols
- Capacities in real-time
- HTTPS, CoAP, and MQTT support
- Configuration and security
When compared to automation systems hubs have some drawbacks like the lack of flexibility. While you can add any protocol for communication with new devices to the automation system, a hub can communicate only with a limited number of devices. Therefore, when choosing IoT gateway, the number of supported protocols should be considered in the first place.
What Programming Languages Are Used by Smart Home Developers
The following programming languages are commonly used in IoT home automation development:
- Embedded C
Webbylab team has used the following technologies to create its own home automation system, 2Smart Standalone: NodeJS, Docker, WebSockets, MQTT, ReactJS, MySQL, and InfluxDB.
Best Open Source IoT Platforms & Frameworks for Home Automation
Open-source software has numerous advantages as many home automation platforms provide fully functional software that is entirely free to IoT enthusiasts worldwide. Below you will find the list of some of the best open-source IoT platforms and frameworks for home automation.
- AGO Control
You must pay particular attention to the communities that support these platforms while selecting open source IoT platforms and frameworks. A solid basis a vital for an open-source solution.
The Role of Blockchain in IoT for Home Automation
The use of blockchain technology in smart home getaways aids greatly in data transmission and verification. Blockchain preserves integrity and confidentiality between various networks and smart devices. The configuration will then use blockchain to convert a centralized network in a smart home system to a distributed network. There are several vital areas in blockchain can improve smart home technologies:
- Data management
To sum it up, existing IoT in homes can benefit greatly from blockchain’s decentralization, hash function, and other features as well as a more secure foundation.
IoT in Home Automation by Webbylab
WebbyLab has robust experience and expertise in developing entire IoT home automation systems and smaller IoT-based home automation devices and solutions.
2Smart Standalone Home Automation System
The team at Webbylab has created its own home automation system called 2Smart Standalone. NodeJS, Docker, WebSockets, MQTT, ReactJS, MySQL, and InfluxDB were employed during its development. WebbyLab has made the most flexible platform that supports devices from different vendors, namely KNX, Zigbee, Modbus, and we can expand the list.
WebbyLab created a diverse library of simple scenarios (thermostat, alarm, sunrise/sunset, etc.). After thinking about scripts where the user can write any necessary script using JS, WebbyLab team thought about the possibility of alerting the user in various messengers and logging the required system events.
WebbyLab enabled the option of self-updating the system, the options to configure any widgets to control the platform and close the screens with a password, and deploy the system locally using docker with just one command.
IoT in smart homes is a rapidly developing tech area that makes homes safer and more comfortable places to live. Users can virtually operate and monitor various home elements, including lighting, entertainment systems, security, climate control, etc. The entire installed base of IoT-connected devices across the globe is continuously expanding.
WebbyLab is an IoT development company with extensive experience in home automation solutions and IoT consumer electronics development. Be it an entire home automation system or a minor smart home device development. Our experts can consult you on the topic and provide you with the best possible and smart solution.
Contact us to learn more about IoT home automation today.
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