home automation: Explained: The real meaning of Home Automation and how it is different from a smart home setup

Two terms — smart home and Home automation — have gained a lot of popularity lately, especially when brands have started integrating smart capabilities like Wi-Fiapp control and support for Alexa and Google Assistant into their devices and appliances.
Nowadays, there are several smart devices available in the market from smart lights to smart home appliances. You can choose to ‘smartify’ your entire house under a certain budget by choosing affordable options like smart switches, plugs, lights, smart sensors, etc. Or, you can choose to go with an expensive option by choosing to buy devices with smart capabilities like smart AC, smart refrigerators, smart washing machines and so on.
However, the biggest confusion here is that people are often found calling their smart devices (individually) — Home automation. But the real truth is that merely adding smart devices to your home or your life does not justify the terms Home Automation. Let us explain.
What are smart devices and smart home setup?
Smart devices and smart home setup are interlinked with each other. Smart devices are something that has the ability to connect with your smartphone or smart speaker or display via Wi-Fi and internet connectivity. The term is widely known as IoT (Internet of Things).
Basically, these devices have internet connectivity through Wi-Fi and allow users to control them via their smartphone app or using smart speakers like Amazon Echo or Google Nest.
Now, when you put together a set of smart devices like lights, AC, fridge, etc at your home, then the whole setup is termed a smart home setup.
Doing this will allow you to control the devices using your smartphone or other supported devices from anywhere across the world given you and your devices are connected to the internet.
In this case, you are basically replacing your physical switches at your home with the app or your voice command.
What is home automation?
Home automation, the term is generally used in place of a smart home setup. But, that isn’t true. You can’t use the term unless there’s something automatic about your smart home setup.
What we mean is the smart home setup should be able to automate things for you to add to your convenience. Basically, you are not supposed to use your voice all the time to control the devices at your home.
Let’s take a basic example of Home automation. For instance, it’s natural to turn on lights at night, right? So, you can either give Alexa the command to turn on the lights whenever you want to turn on the lights. Or you can simply set up a routine to turn on lights at sunset and turn them off at sunrise. Alternatively, you can also execute the same at a given time of the day.
The latter example is home automation as your lights will automatically turn on as soon as the sun goes down.
Another simple example of this is location-based execution. For instance, you want your AC or geyser to turn on, turn on lights at a warm tone and your smart speaker should start playing soothing instrumental music whenever you are about to reach home. You can once again create a routine based on the location you are at using the app or smart speaker or display.
This is not it, there can be several permutations and combinations for a home automation setup. For instance, if you have smart sensors installed in your home. Then you can choose to turn on or off the lights whenever someone walks into the kitchen and then automatically turn them off when there’s no one in the kitchen or even the entire house.

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