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What Cables do I Need to Prepare at My House to be Smart Home?

We regularly find ourselves replacing the ‘wrong’ devices/products and replacing these with a well designed and planned approach. We are called to change these because the customer has usually received poor information or just based their decision on the first and cheapest smart product they have seen. Unfortunately, this exercise costs the client money in wasted time and equipment.

As Home automation electricians and integrators, the best advice is to work from the desired end result or solution, as what you would like your home to do. Consider how it should feel and function, visualise the the end result.

You have to start with the system that you are going to use for your home automation. You will only require specific wiring if you are selecting a bus system or a hybrid system bus wiring and z wave together.

so you don’t make the mistake of purchasing just Smart WiFi globes, which run on one application and then later realise you wanted full control of lighting, heating and cooling, security and audio visual, which will now have to run on another four separate applications. When these could have been integrated in the first place.

With the flexibility of some scalable automation systems these days, you don’t need to do it all in one hit but rather build your planned integrated system step-by-step as your budget allows.

For a basic set up:

Network:

You want to run Cat6 cabling from the central point (hub) to at least 1 central point in the ceiling space per floor.

1 data point to each room in the house is also a good idea.

The central point becomes the communications hub for your home, the best location for it may be a study or in the garage.

Remember to run a Cat6 cable to your entertainment system or home theater, if you have any. If your set up will be more advance you might want to run fiber cable to future proof 4K 8K streaming and Audio Visual distribution.

Our system recommendation will be a unify network system.

Cctv:

You want to run Cat6 cabling from the central point ( hub) to at least entry door, front of the house, sides and back area so you can install a select smart IP camera system.

Our system recommendation will be unify cameras system.

Alarm and security:

You want to run Cat6 cabling from the central point ( hub) where the alarm panel will be installed.

Most alarm systems will have a IP module option to connect your alarm panel to the network. Our system recommendation will be a Bosch alarm

Lighting control:

If you are going to use a bus wiring system.

The bus wiring will go in Daisy chain to each smart device back to a central panel.

If you are going to use a Wireless systems make sure you have neutral available at each light switch.

Our recommendation will be a Fibaro system.

Climate control:

Depending on the type of system you will have. If it’s a multi zone system you might need a data cable from the main compresor back to your hub.

If you are using split systems you can use individual modules.

Our recommendation will be cool master and or Intesis modules.

Intercom and access control:

If you are are looking for a smart lock on the main door or secondary doors you need to make sure they are not fire doors and it will be fine to install them.

If you are have a door strike release you want 3 cat 6 cable run from the central hub to the intercom location. 1 for data 1 control 1 spare (most smart intercoms will work of 1 cable with POE).

You will also need power to the door strike.

Our Recommendation will be DoorBird intercoms.

For home automation system details and information, we will be glad to assist all your questions and concerns. Please call us at Canny Electrics on 1300 522 464.

Posted in Home Automation

Light and Psychology

Brightness, Saturation and Hue

These are the three main qualities of light in relation to color. Brightness is the amount of light given off by a light source, usually expressed in lumens or lux. Some studies have shown that brighter light can intensify emotions, while low light doesn’t remove emotions, but keeps them steady. This can lead to people having the ability to make more rational decisions in low light and find it easier to agree with others in negotiation.

Saturation is the intensity of a color. More saturated hues can have amplifying effects on emotions, while muted colors can dampen emotions. In art, saturation is defined on a scale from pure color (100% [fully saturated]) to grey (0%). In lighting, a similar scale can apply.

Hue is defined as a color or shade. It’s been proven (through various studies) that natural light can make you happier, but colors created by artificial light can also evoke different emotions and have other effects on the body.

Blue/white light makes us energetic and can interrupt sleep patterns if exposed to around bedtime due to the fact that blue light suppresses melatonin levels. Brain cells tend to be the most sensitive to blue wavelengths and the least sensitive to red wavelengths. Blue wavelengths can even have an impact on those who are blind when it comes to circadian rhythms.

Red/amber light is the least likely hue of light to impact our internal clocks. Red light in the evening can help improve mental health. This is because red light in the evening helps increase the secretion of melatonin which leads to better sleep at night. Better sleep at night leads to improved cognition and overall mental wellbeing.

Circadian Rhythm

Circadian rhythm is our internal clock. It influences melatonin secretion, cortisol activity and alertness. As you learned in the previous section, blue light suppresses levels of melatonin, helping us stay awake and alert, while red light increases levels of melatonin, helping our bodies get ready for bed.

When there is a lack of melatonin, people can encounter sleep problems that can eventually lead to behavioral changes. To sustain healthy levels, stay away from blue-hued light towards the end of the day or when you are preparing to go to sleep. This will help levels of melatonin rise, giving you a better night’s sleep.

Circadian rhythms can also affect the limbic system. This system regulates a person’s feelings of happiness, sadness, anger and other emotions. A disrupted rhythm can negatively affect these emotions and more.

To know more about lighting for your own home, talk to our professional electricians at 1300 522 464. We will be glad to discuss with you about home automation system which is best for your home.

Posted in Home Automation

5 Ways to Use Voice Control

Smart home is a growing trend – in particular, voice control and smart speakers have seen a steady increase in popularity since they first went mainstream roughly six years ago. In fact, according to a recent study from FutureSource Consulting, who analyzed the purchase journey of consumers new to smart home devices (beginners with 1-2 devices), 43 percent had smart speakers. But if you’re one of the growing number of people who own a smart speaker or voice-assistant enabled device, are you getting the most out of your tech?

When you connect your favorite smart speaker to the rest of your smart home network, you can control your smart home devices (like smart lighting, smart locks, smart thermostats, and more) with just the sound of your voice. Using voice commands to control your smart home network adds an extra level of comfort, convenience, and security to your home.

There are now dozens of devices leveraging voice assistants. If you haven’t added a voice control device like Amazon Echo or Google Home to your smart home network, you should consider adding one to your home tech roster. Voice control makes your smart home even smarter; you get full control and functionality over your devices, without ever having to lift a finger. There are lots of different ways you can use voice control in your smart home.

Here are five ways you can use voice control in your smart home:

1. Control your lights

Whether you’re running out the door in the morning while you’re late for work, trying to read a book at the kitchen table, or getting ready for movie night on the couch, sometimes you just can’t (or don’t want) to make it over to the various light switches and lamps around the house to adjust the lights. When you connect a voice control device to other smart home products, like those with Z-Wave, you don’t have to. Before you close the door on your way out in the morning, just say, “Turn off all lights!” To see your book more clearly, say, “Turn up the lights to 80% brightness.” And, if you want to get really fancy, you can program the smart lights in your living room to be a part of a “movie time” smart scene so that when you say, “It’s movie time,” they automatically dim to that perfect, movie-theater glow.

2. Adjust your thermostat

In a lot of houses, the thermostat isn’t always in the most convenient location, which makes it annoying when you have to get up to adjust the thermostat on a chilly night. With a voice assistant device as a part of your smart home network, you can use voice control to adjust your thermostat from the comfort of your couch, by simply asking it to “Set the living room to 68 degrees,” or asking it to switch to your favorite pre-programmed temperature setting.

3. Lock your doors

Adding voice control to your smart home doesn’t just help you adjust your home’s lighting and temperature—it can also help you to safeguard and fortify your home.

With a voice control device connected to a smart lock, you can unlock and lock your doors with just the sound of your voice.

About to go to sleep, but not sure if you remembered to lock the front door when you came home earlier? No need to get up. Instead use a voice command like, “Lock the front door.” Better yet, create a “goodnight” scene that will make sure all the doors are locked, the lights turned off, the temperature set for a cool and comfortable night’s sleep. Then you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your house is secure—without running around the house and checking all the doors.

4. Arm your security system

You can make your voice control device work twice as hard to safeguard your home by linking it to your smart security system. This way, you can have the confidence that your home is secure, without the hassle of fumbling with an alarm system.

For example, when you’re headed out the door in the morning, juggling a cup of coffee and your bag for work, the last thing you want to do is fumble to arm your security system. But when you add voice control to your smart home, you can just use a voice command like, “Arm my security system,” so you can protect your home and still get out the door faster.

5. Operate your garage door opener

When you add voice control to your smart home, it truly is like you’re gaining a personal assistant.

When you come home at the end of the day, you don’t have to remember to close your garage door behind you – or wonder if the kids left it open. Instead, when you walk into your home, just ask your device to, “close the garage door.” Or, if you’re driving home with lots of grocery bags in the trunk, ask your voice assistant, which is increasingly included in new cars, to open the garage door so that you don’t have to fumble with it when you arrive.

A smart home makes your life at home more comfortable, convenient, and secure, but adding voice control functionality adds additional convenience and accessibility that is both easy (and fun!) to use.

Do you want your house to have the best home automation system? Call Canny Electrics office in Melbourne at 1300 522 464 for more details and information.

Posted in Home Automation

6 Clever Ways to Stay on Top of Technology

Staying top of technology is a must especially in a world where advancement is highly competitive. You have to constantly adapt to technological changes otherwise you will be left behind. Technical upgrades should also be observed to make sure that you are on top of the game. So how do you do this? Here are some tips that you can do to stay on top of technology.

1. Stay tuned and be informed.

Since technology is as constant as change, you should be able to keep up with the latest trends and updates. Do you still remember how it was back in the early 1990s when the Internet was opened to the public? If so, you will be able to compare what it was like back then to what it is right now.

The birth of supercomputers, the rise of technology, and the dominance of the SEO trend in the market are just some of the dramatic evolutions brought about by technological advancement. The birth of social media platforms has also brought the world closer and information became more accessible.

This is also true when it comes to communication as mobile phones are not only used for basic calls and SMS but can now capture photos, videos and run applications that let you do almost anything. The same is true with the birth of eSports where even a mobile phone, aside from a PC, can now be used as a gaming console.

2. Business owners should make use of technology

If you are a business owner, you have to make use of what is available to help get ready for future technology. That includes thinking ahead and writing a plan for your business which includes how the newest technology will be incorporated into your company.

One helpful way is to follow tech news from credible apps and websites to be able to get a glimpse on what is going on and to which direction the market is going. News updates are constantly emerging and this can help you to get the guidance you need. Following industry experts such as TechCrunch and Redcode among many others will get you the information you need. You can even watch helpful video content from WIRED, Two Minute Papers, The Verge and the like. These media platforms break down complicated subjects and make it easy to understand to give you great insights.

3. Sign up for feature alerts.

Staying on top of technology would mean not only waiting for new releases but it also means signing up for alerts to be delivered to your inbox. Leading technology platforms including Google, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services can send you alerts and updates whenever something new is coming up. These platforms can also send you the latest developments, the

best practices and more opportunities that you can make use of and can also make you stay on top of the tech world.

4. Update your software constantly.

Let’s go back to 2003 for a minute. Do you remember your Nokia 1100? Four years later the first iPhone came out and has not stopped yearly release ever since. This shows constant software upgrades along with the iPhone’s changing features and overall appearance have won the market even as more Android phones are very competitive. Constantly updating your software is a great way to prepare for future technology, especially if you have an old computer system at home. By upgrading to the newer software and systems, you are making it that much easier to shift to the latest and greatest in technology and make the most of it.

5. Keep in touch with the open-source community.

Trending projects within a community is a good sign that general best practices along with the competitive landscape are currently adapted. You have to explore the latest projects that are among the top tier to be able to learn more. This will be a good way to get your own establishment ready for looming opportunities and possible impacts that these advancements will have on your business.

6. Share the workload with your team.

As there is much knowledge available, you may feel overwhelmed if you are learning this alone. This is where having a team comes in handy because you can always divide the information and share it with them. Then you can gain knowledge together that can bring a big impact to your business as well as keeping up with the latest trends in technology. You can assign a key member who should be your go-to person who knows well about different tech topics regarding a specified area. Furthermore, other team members should be given access to what you’ve researched and acquired so far.

If you’ve been keeping up and observing, you will realize that a couple years from now we are heading towards a more advanced world driven by technology. That is why it is very important to know what’s new and to constantly keep up improving both hardware and software so that you don’t get left behind.

Take advantage of the benefits of technology starting at your own home. Contact Canny Electrics at 1300 522 464 and talk to our home automation specialists about the automation features that you need.

Posted in Uncategorized

Cloud based HUBs – Home automation

When using cloud-based jobs its a great cost-effective solution however thing to consider when using a cloud-based hub are:

With this type of setup there is no physical switch connected to the controller, so if the internet supply fails or the hub fails, there is no control of the light or automation.
If your smart home automation is using only WiFi devices and your automation needs are simple, you won’t need a hub. As long as your Internet and WiFi router is working you can talk to Alexa or Google to control lights and locks.

Things to Consider

Let consider reality

What is that?

Is your router and WiFi are never glitchy?
You never have to reboot the router right?
Is your internet always up?

Interesting considerations. If you’re planning to install lots of WiFi devices and running on a $60 router or the free one from your Internet retailer company you may want to at least think about an upgrade to something better and more stable. Perhaps something more business class and secure.

Also with any cloud-based hub solution, the latency involved in transacting this simple automation would be noticeable under the best of circumstances.

Integrating devices via the cloud works just fine. However, do keep in mind that means when something happens in the house. Let’s say you open the door and you want the WiFi lights to turn on. The lock has to connect to your router, send a message to a cloud server, then it has to send a message to IFTTT. It then has to send a message to the cloud server for the lights. Then, the message goes back down to your house and the light turns on. Some days that might all happen quickly. Other days, not so much. Lots of moving pieces when there’s a network, WiFi and 3 cloud servers in the mix.

At the same time, we might consider a few things.

How critical is it that the light turns on when the door opens?.
How important is it that this happens really quickly?.
How stable is your network and router?.
Do you care if you can’t access devices without Internet?.
How many devices are you going to have?.

If you plan to have a lock, a few light switches, some voice assistants and a thermostat it’s probably not all that concerning. But if you’re planning to roll out whole-house automation with 20, or 30 dimmers, 4 keypads, cameras, 4K TV’s streaming Netflix, wireless audio and music streaming? That’s a different story altogether.

Benefits of Smart Home Hubs

Enter the smart home hub and technologies like Insteon, ZWave and Zigbee. None of these technologies relay on WiFi or your network. They have their own communication protocols and they talk device to device and device to the hub.

With these systems, your router or the Internet can go down and you can still trigger a lighting scene with a keypad. Lighting scenes happen directly and inside the home so they’re much faster. If you have a hub with enough horsepower and memory, then all the processing and triggers also happen inside the hub and inside the home – so the Internet can still go down – and when you open the front door your foyer lights still turn on – pretty much instantly.

If you switch out for a new router or get new Internet service, you don’t have to reassign IP addresses for your dimmers, r worry about IP ranges or WiFi coverage. Your Netflix, audio streaming, downloading and gaming won’t be competing with your light switches.

Your wall dimmers won’t be competing for IP addresses with your computers and TVs.

Smart Home Hub or Cloud?

Do I need a smart home hub or not? The answer depends on your short and long term goals for your smart home.

Ultimately, all of these devices are amazing – whether the technology is WiFi, Insteon, Zigbee, ZWave or UPB.

We are not trying to ditch our WiFi for ZWave or use Insteon over Zigbee.

Take some time to look at different options and think about whether you plan to “go big” or just basic with some key pieces. It’s possible to have a WiFi installation with over 90 smart devices or an Insteon installation with only 2.

That being said for a larger installation, where speed matters, where rules and automation triggers need to be more advanced, where Internet interruptions aren’t tolerated – a smart home hub is very definitely the way to go.

Most hubs feature local brains in the installation and will help bring all of the home’s smart devices together. The more powerful hubs will let you create true automation that requires less user input and more smart convenience.

Conclusion

Smart home hubs can provide much more powerful automation rules, triggers, schedules and scenes. They also tend to do a much better job of bringing together disparate systems. So for example you might be able to create an automation rule. It turns on all the lights and shuts off the furnace fan motor in case of a fire. Or and send an email or text about it too, while your alarm system reaches out to the monitoring station. It can also call the fire department for you. Or you might want to turn off the main water supply when you arm your alarm to vacation mode. Oh and turn down the heat when you arm it as you leave the house.

Posted in Home Automation

THE DANGERS OF VIR CABLES (Vulcanised Indian rubber)

VIR Cable deteriorating behind a light switch.
When this happens, the copper in the cable can become exposed, leading to a potential risk of electric shock, fire or an immediate loss of power due to a short circuit rupturing the protective fuses.

Initially, electrical installations involved the use of sheathed wires and were installed in most government structures, workplaces and residential homes between the 1880s and 1910s. After this period, the installations mainly involved the utilisation of Vulcanised Indian Rubber (VIR) electric cables to make up the wiring system of most homes as well as other buildings.

What is VIR?

As we have previously mentioned, Vulcanised Indian Rubber cables were rampantly used in Australia between 1910 to late 1950s. A typical VIR cable consists of a tinned conductor that features a rubber coating. The conductor is tinned to prevent the rubber from sticking to the conductor. The thickness of the rubber usually depends on the designated operating voltage of the wire. To help prevent the conductor against moisture damage, a cotton bradding is placed over the rubber insulations.

The rubber offers an abrasion-resistant, waterproof, corrosion-resistant and protective layer for the insulated electric cable. This type of electrical wiring is still available in a significant number of Australian homes. Due to the potential dangers that VIR cables pose to the safety of homeowners, they are no longer accepted for domestic applications.

What are the potential dangers of VIR cables?

It has been proven that with time, VIR cable wiring systems may break down thus becoming extremely hazardous. To be more precise, the insulation material used on VIR cables will dry out and become brittle with time hence leaving behind exposed live electrical wires. What’s more, the earthing system can easily become compromised from any alterations.

It is imperative to note that the major threat which arises from VIR electrical wiring is associated with insulation. On most occasions, this type of insulation doesn’t age well. After some time, the insulation on this type of electrical cable usually crumbles away thus leaving behind live conductors exposed in critical areas within the house such as roof cavities and walls. Apparently, this is a serious electrical problem that significantly increases your risk of electrical fires, injuries, shock as well as electrocution.

It is also critical to reiterate that VIR electrical cables don’t often age well. As a result, they can easily result in inconsistent power flow and this may not bode well with your household electrical appliances. VIR wiring equally lacks an earth wire which is ideal for earthing metal-related fittings. All these issues can significantly put your life as well as the life of your family at great risk of electricity-related issues.

What is the solution?

The first step is to establish whether your house, business premise or even your office features these dangerous cables. If you have a building that was built nearly fifty years ago, then the chances are high that you have VIR wiring in your home. Of course, the best way to know and confirm if indeed your house has VIR cables is to contact a qualified master electrician to come and assess your house. This is a potentially dangerous electrical repair project and DIY projects are strongly discouraged.

Due diligence should guide you toward finding a reputable electrical contractor. The permanent solution would be to find a qualified professional electrician to eliminate all the available VIR wiring in your house.

After this, they should be replaced with modern electrical cables with RCD. Of course, your new wiring system must equally come with a functional circuit breaker protection at the switchboard. Simply put, if you suspect you have this kind of electrical problem, you should seriously consider rewiring your entire electrical system.

Posted in Electrical tips

Phillips Hue and Fibaro Z-Wave

If you want to go with the Phillips Hue option which allows you to change the colour temperature of each downlight; here is what you need to consider:

We will need to replace the existing downlights for the Phillips hue downlights, they are bigger (the 125mm round size ) than a standard downlight which is usually 90mm. The cost per new unit is around $60AUD and the replacement of the old for the new one will be $40AUD each; a total of $100AUD per downlight you would like to replace.

Things to consider with Phillips Hue:

There is no manual override (you need to leave the light switch at the wall on the ON position at all times, the controls happen over the app on your phone only).

The amount of lights, bulbs is limited to 50 per Hue Bridge/Hub, once the 50 is reached we will need to add a second bridge. There is another option which would be to go to a Z-wave automation system. We generally use a Fibaro HC2 controller:

https://www.fibaro.com/us/products/home-center-2/

This system allows us to do a few more things and it works differently than the Hue. It allows you to control all the existing light fittings at home by installing an ON and OFF module behind each light switch you want to control, we also have dimmable modules for the dimmable lights. The investment for this system will be a bit higher as the Hub main controller gateway is $1200AUD and the cost per smart switch installed is around $299AUD each.

Things to consider with Z Wave:

There is manual override; the normal light switch on the wall will remain as it is and will function turning the light on and off as well as from the app on the smartphone and/or tablet.

It has the option of adding voice control.

The amount of modules per controller is 259.

It is the entry point to a more scalable system that will allow you to bring in more things like Motion Sensors, Door/Window Sensors, Sensor Gate Motors, Intercoms, smart locks etc. as you get used to automation.

Posted in Home Automation

Wired vs Wireless

Wireless systems are great for existing homes as there is no need to run cabling behind the walls, which can be a very expensive endeavour. These systems are also starting to integrate with WIFI networks, meaning that they are easily compatible with any existing home networks, such as the ones formed by computers.

Wired systems use Cat 5 data cables to communicate information. They connect into a proprietary control system or a more closed control centre. Wired systems can be implemented in both new and existing homes, however, it is easier to install in new homes.

Which one is better?

Both are viable solutions; the answer is based on what you need and what type of property you have. It’s extremely important to know the end result you expect to have so you can select the right system since day 1.
If your need is just to control the lighting of your place combined with motion detection and climate control, you could definitely achieve that with a wireless system in a cost-effective way.

If your needs are lighting control, HVAC system, and full control of audiovisual sound and tv screen control you may opt for a hardwired automation system as the wiring is reliable and is often simpler to join all of the systems together, as the cables run to a common junction point.

Remember the end result is the starting point.

Posted in Home Automation

How to prepare for IOT

Solid Maintenance Contract: You need to feel protected from the increased risks that new technologies present, and that means having a maintenance program in place that provides you with valuable peace of mind.

Leverage the IP: This may sound a big “big brotherish”, but if your home systems professional is able to collect data (with your permission) from your home’s IoT devices, he can get a better handle on your future needs. For example, if he notices an IP-connected video doorbell is unable to “see” images after 9 p.m., he can follow up by offering you a motion triggered light—often fixing the problem before you even realise one exists.

Discover an Upgrade Path: You recognize that obsolescence as a natural part of a technology lifecycle. You’ll feel better about investing in products and services if your home systems professional provides you with a logical upgrade path from the get-go. Being upfront eliminates surprises, breeds trust, and helps you plan more effectively for their future.

Focus on services

In years past, technology advancements were focused on hardware: Everyone needed to purchase a certain device or program (and each subsequent version) in order to stay current. But as the IoT advances, Raj Badarinath, senior director of product marketing at commerce solutions provider Avangate, believes that this model is going to change.

“Revenue will not come from the hardware, but instead from services on top,” Badarinath said. “In the IoT era, new models such as subscriptions, freemiums and bundles are rapidly becoming the preferred choice over traditional hardware options. Services are easily upgradeable, much more amenable to ecosystems that are constructed around hardware, and provide multiple revenue opportunities rather than a one-time sale.”

The problem with this service-centric environment is that small businesses are struggling to find the best strategy to charge customers for value in a transparent, secure and easy manner, Badarinath said. A customer-centric commerce platform can keep track of critical data like purchase history, payment methods and loyalty program information to help companies improve the customer experience and create a solid foundation for monetisation.

Harnessing and analysing data

The premise of the IoT is that, at any given time, devices can transmit data to and from one another and process it to improve decision-making. Businesses have already been tackling the challenge of harnessing Big Data through their own internal analytics platforms. The IoT presents this same challenge on an even larger scale.

“The IoT is not just about connecting cameras, fridges, vehicles, etc.,” said Todd Krautkremer, vice president of sales and marketing at cloud-based virtual private network service Pertino. “People want to analyse vast amounts of data and be able to do things with that information that are relevant and impactful. But how do we take this data and make it intelligible, accessible and actionable from a business standpoint?”

Krautkremer emphasised the importance of cloud-based computing to ensure that all connected devices can always be monitored, updated and controlled in real time. He also noted that third-party service providers will be critical to helping smaller businesses keep track of data and capitalise on the IoT.

The cloud and the customer experience

It’s clear that the IoT will continue to increase the amount of data businesses need to process. But with such a strong focus on finding the right data solutions, it can be easy to lose sight of your most important business driver: your customers.

“Companies have to keep an eye on their customer experience,” said Lynda Smith, CMO of cloud communication solutions provider Twilio. “There’s a lot of work going into making sure [the IoT] experience is natural [to human users].”

Smith reminded small companies to take advantage of the cloud to help them develop a great customer experience and compete with larger enterprises. This can range from using cloud solutions to deal with incoming customer data to facilitating customer service interactions in the cloud.

New security challenges

The downside of the IoT is that more data and more connected devices mean more opportunities for hackers and cybercriminals to launch an attack. The security risks associated with the IoT must be taken into consideration by businesses of all sizes.

“If you have devices recording and reporting [data], there’s a lot of risk,” said Walker White, CTO of clean data solutions provider BDNA. “If a device is connected, it can be hacked. With fully automated security systems, someone could break in, lock all the systems, and even remotely turn the lights on before they get there. These are very real risks.”

If you think the answer is to “avoid the IoT,” think again. White believes it will be nearly impossible to steer clear of the age of connectedness.

“People say they won’t embrace it, but that’s like saying you don’t embrace the Internet now,” White said. “It’s coming and you can’t fight it. Everyone will benefit [from the IoT], but unlike other technologies, this has a great deal more risk. The broadest storyline here is to proceed with caution.”

‘IoT-ising’ your business

Many businesses, especially smaller ones, are usually late adopters of technology, Makhdum said. But the IoT presents an opportunity for businesses of all sizes to add real value to their bottom lines, customer satisfaction and other significant KPIs.

“It is very important that businesses remain proactive in building a plan framed around what part of their company can practically be ‘IoT-ised,’” Makhdum told Business News Daily. “Framing and planning this will be crucial for successful IoT initiatives.”

Makhdum recommended investing in the IoT-related technologies such as sensors, data intelligence and infrastructure to support the volume of connectivity and resulting data. Focusing on employee training in both customer-facing and internal processes will also help companies take full advantage of the IoT.

Finally, be sure to connect with others in and out of your industry to stay up to date on the latest changes that may affect your business.

“There will be unpredictable and unexpected challenges that occur in real-time that will be hard to be prepared for,” Makhdum said. “Collaborating with industry and cross-industry consortiums help ensure sharing best practices across the board.”

Originally published on Business News Daily

1. Set-up an IoT gateway

An IoT gateway can be used to manage the many IoT devices and sensors that come on to the network. This will make it possible to translate each “thing’s” protocols, and forward each unique piece of IoT data to its most appropriate destination.

Why organisations must secure the network

IoT gateways manage and support the ever broadening array of new devices and applications, and you can also use them for real-time network protection against security issues that arise because of IoT vulnerabilities.

2. Ensure network capacity and adequate bandwidth

Network traffic will inevitably increase over time due to growing numbers of IoT-enabled devices, adding to bandwidth requirements. You can set up an SDN to automatically allot network resources including bandwidth among IoT applications, according to priorities reflected in policies. For instance, this could be calendaring bandwidth for IoT devices that send data only at specified intervals.

3. Get the network ready to analyse big data

It’s often faster, more efficient, and more cost-effective to analyse IoT data at the network edge where IoT devices produce and gather the data. It’s also often critical to many applications, such as those that respond to imminent equipment malfunctions, that you complete that analysis in seconds. To analyse big data from IoT, get edge servers ready with the processing power and capacity necessary for data analysis, and make sure servers are fit for the environments where IoT lives.

How the Internet of Things is impacting enterprise networks

4. Get the network ready to store big data

IoT data comes in different sizes and with varying worth; some of it has a lot of value to a business, and some of it not so much. The importance of the data to the business can also change over time, and these factors create concerns over what storage types, tiers, and durations are appropriate for IoT. Scalable cloud storage is one possible solution, and for storing data at or inside IoT devices, consider MRAM or 3D XPoint Technology.

5. Upgrade to IPv6 to support the many new devices

IoT will need so many IP addresses for all the new “things” that it will be difficult for IPv4 to supply them all. Transition your network to support for IPv6 in time to stay ahead of that increasing device count. Also ensure to check with IoT vendors to determine whether their devices are ready for IPv6.

6. Secure the network appropriately for IoT

There has been a lot written about IoT security vulnerabilities such as challenges to patching and default credentials that you cannot easily update. You can begin to protect your network through risk analyses, device and protocol audits, as well as IoT policies and policy enforcement. Scrutinise and select IoT vendors carefully, and ask all of them how they will be able mitigate each and every one of your security concerns.

It’s time to take IoT security seriously

7. Set-up network monitoring in support of IoT

The sheer number and types of IoT devices and evolving IoT-related network events require that you use robust IT monitoring. Plan ahead for adaptable, scalable network monitoring that encompasses the variables you must account for with IoT.

Clearly, the potential of IoT to change the face of entire industries is significant, but its success will ultimately come down to how effectively IT infrastructures are managed as ever more devices – or ‘things’ – are added to the network.

By adhering to these seven pieces of advice, you give yourself and your business the best opportunity to reap the rewards that IoT can ultimately bring.

Tip one:
This is probably the best way to prepare yourself for future technology, which is to keep informed about the latest technology. By knowing what will or might happen you can better prepare yourself for when that dream becomes reality. There are many resources available to help you keep informed on the newest developments in technology. By knowing what is coming you won’t be caught off guard if they suddenly change the way things are done.

Tip two:
If you are running a business a great way to help get ready for future technology is to think ahead and write a plan for your business that includes how the newest technology will be incorporated into your company.

Tip three:
One thing that you need to keep in mind is that when buying computer systems and other electronics you are going to be investing money into a system that is going to be outdated soon. When making your purchases you are going to have to take into consideration any future technology to be sure that the electronics you are purchasing will allow you to handle all of your future needs, without requiring expensive upgrades. A lot of time your older computers can be configured to work with the newest types of software or operating systems.

Tip four:
Another way to prepare for future technology is to update all of your stuff, especially if you have a really old computer system or wiring for your home. By upgrading to the newer systems you are making it that much easier to make the change to the newest technology.

While there are plenty of things you can do to get ready for the future technology what you are going to do will depend greatly upon what kind of future technology you are preparing for. For example if you are preparing for the future technology in health care you might prepare yourself by finding a new doctor is informed about the future developments and how it can benefit you if you are concerned with preparing for future technology when it comes to electronics you are going to focus on getting your computers updated. But regardless of what type of future technology you are getting ready for the best way to be sure that you are ready is to keep informed about the technology.

Posted in Home Automation

How Home Automation Helps During Pandemic

Someone paid $500 for a pack of 32 toilet rolls? It’s true. It was on eBay. As COVID-19 continues to spread so too does the hysteria surrounding the virus and fears of long-term quarantine. Supermarkets around the country literally have shelves stripped bare of toilet paper. Australia – are we going mad? Actually no. According to research, Australia is pretty smart. Sydney in particular when it comes to smart cities.
How do other states rate?
Do you know what else is smart? Practicing good personal hygiene and staying informed through trusted sources like the Department of Health. Remember we can all play a role in reducing the impact of COVID-19. Smarter Communities have also announced preventative measures against the spread of the virus.

While everyone one of us is trying to protect ourselves and our families during the pandemic it would be a good idea to see how the Smart technology around us can help us to reduce the risk of being infected.

1- Voice Control

It’s been recommended by the WHO and health authorities to avoid close contact with others as well as touching public facility objects.
Public facility objects include lift buttons, door handles, doorbells, light switches, bus stop buttons…

Voice control technology has been around for a few years and it’s being integrated more and more with popular Smart Home and Building Automation systems. The technology is very well capable of eliminating many of the human physical interactions with electrical and electronic control devices by establishing the interface between human voice commands and Smart control systems.

Google Home and Amazon Alexa are the two well-known voice control systems available. They could be used in the office environments and lifts to be linked with Smart home Systems Like Fibaro to stop people from touching the devices for their control inputs.

3- Keyless entry and Intercom

Like “No Touch” systems a Keyless Entry (Smart Door Lock) also helps to eliminate human touch, there are many Smart Door Locks available in the market which could integrate with your smart home and smartphone through Bluetooth, Wifi, Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols. Once linked everyone could use their own personal Smartphone to control the Smart Door lock.
A Combination of Smart Door Lock and Intercom system could help humans to human physical contact during the Quarantine period. The door could be opened or closed for the delivery person remotely while vision and voice contact is established through the intercom system.

2- No Touch

Another way of eliminating human physical interaction (Touch) is using “No Touch” technology
No Touch technology is already in use in toilets to dispense hand wash liquids, operating water taps, and controlling hand dryers.
Motion Sensors could also be utilized to control the lighting and open/ close doors, gates, and blinds.
Gesture recognition systems also could be used to control a variety of devices like doors, alarms, lights, etc.

While it’s been recommended by the authorities to stop using banknotes, the pay pass technology is helping to stop the virus spread by eliminating the banknotes.
It may also worth mentioning that RFID tags are one of the very efficient ways of eliminating direct human touch if they are used properly. One idea could be their application to replace conventional bus stop buttons!

Posted in Home Automation
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