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Endesa - Electricity, Gas, People

Home automation is not the future... It is here and now!

Published on February 28, 2018

Changing the channel from your phone... Getting a notification on your smartphone when you've left the fridge door open... Or switching on the heating before you even leave work. None of this is science fiction.

What is home automation?

In Spain, our word for home automation is “domótica”, formed from the Latin domus (home), and the suffix tica, from automática

According to the Asociación Española de Domótica e Inmótica (CEDOM – Spanish Home Automation and Building Automation Association), home automation is “the set of technologies applied to smart control and automation of homes, facilitating efficient energy management and providing safety and comfort, in addition to allowing users to communicate with their systems”.

Put differently, it means less of you working for your home, and more of your home working for you.

How will home automation help you?

The key is to use resources more wisely. The lighting in your home, the air conditioning, hot water, every one of your appliances… All these things ultimately cost you money, on your electricity and gas bills. What can you do to get more out of life but spend less? Be efficient.

It is here that technology comes into play: for example, programming the washing machine and dishwasher to come on during off-peak hours, when electricity is cheaper (or even during hours when electricity is free!).

Besides helping you make savings and improving your energy efficiency, home automation can allow you to control your home remotely (for instance, if you go away on holiday). The system can simulate movement, as though the home were occupied, randomly switching on lights and appliances.

Ultimately, the idea behind home automation is a simple one: your home should always work for you; not the other way round

Home automation also helps make our homes accessible. For instance, anybody, regardless of disability, can use any one of the connected devices.

Finally, we come to the keystone of any home automation system: communication. Connection between the user and the connected devices gives us the power to control our homes. If, for example, you use a voice-activated virtual assistant, all you need to do to take control of your energy usage is open your mouth and speak!

How much does home automation cost?

It is impossible to quote an exact price for a home automation system to make yours a smart home. It all depends on how far you want to go, and on what your current situation is. At present, there is an enormous range of brands vying for position on this growing market, and with that in mind, offers are very much on the menu!

If we consider a house with 8 smart elements (lights, thermostats, locks, etc.) we would be talking about between €250 and €1800, depending on the range of gadgets and the services they provide. That excludes the price of our chosen virtual assistant, and does not include paying higher prices for smart-compatible appliances (such as an internet-connected fridge which lets you know when you're out of milk).

Google and Amazon Alexa are the leaders in virtual assistant technology. Your Private Space on endesaclientes is compatible with both, so both can be used to keep you up to date with your bills and your contracts.

Apple, not wishing to be outdone, have launched their own HomeKit, which integrates seamlessly with devices running iOS. Samsung, for their part, have created Samsung Smart Things, built into the Samsung Connect Home hub. LG also have LGSmartThinQ.

The prices of any of these assistants range between €90 and €300, based on the range and level of service that they offer.

An important detail to bear in mind is the compatibility of different domestic appliances. From now on, when you go to buy a washing machine or a TV, aside from checking what you always look for (e.g. its energy rating), you will need to check whether they are able to connect to your home automation system.

Your home can become a smart home for an outlay of between €340 and €2100, depending on your aims and the range of gadgets you choose