Introduction to home automation

4 minutes of reading
Training course - CHAPTER 1
Communication networks

Su we try to simplify the complexity as much as possible, making it understandable even to those who are fast on technology the functionnameof this fascinating world, that of personal home automation (a latere: history and definition). On this page (as in all those that illustrate the "basics") we will use simple metaphors in order to make this initially difficult world to understand understandable to those who are fast on technology.

Let's start from the assumption that you hear around: "home automation is used to control the lights with the mobile phone".
Well: the question it's a more complex thread than that.

Home automation is rappresentata interaction of various elements very different from each other, defined home automation infrastructure. Broadly speaking, these elements are:

If metaphorically we compare a domotized environment to a human organism, the parallels are the following:

  • communication network (s)> nervous system
  • sensors> sensory system
  • actuators and devices> muscles
  • BRIDGE/Gateway > brain (s)
  • central automation (HUB) / final management tools> consciousness

Exactly like a human organism is the concert of all these components to allow a correct functionnamento of the organism itself: without a nervous system, the brain cannot command a muscle; without a brain, an organism does not move, does not breathe, does not live, and so on. Similarly, a domotized environment equipped with actuators and sensors, but not an automation center, is equal to a primitive cave; a central automation with nothing to control, a pure exercise in style.

Home automation it's not just control, But it is also automation ("Against a condition - perform an action") e remote control.

Communication networks

In personal domotics the most typical of home communication channels is rappresent from the data network, or the system Wi-Fi provided by your router / modem connected to the telephone line and your Internet access provider.
This device, now present in any home in addition to communicating with the outside world, it offers an internal communication channel useful for any device connected to it (for example, our smartphones and / or our home computers).

The first component of your home automation infrastructure - most of the time - you already own it.

Actually the use of Wi-Fi is a yes a must, but it is not the only one protocollo in use in the domotic environment, indeed. We will see later how in reality there are different ones like it ZigBee, the Z-Wave, bluetooth and others. The TCP/IP su Wi-Fihowever, it remains a cardinal for a whole series of reasons that will emerge later in the reading.

Sensori, actuators, devices

We have seen / used almost all an example of a pseudo-domotic component: the thermostat of the domestic heating system. This component is simultaneously a sensor and an actuator, we will therefore consider it a true "device" e profirst: it detects the temperature e prosees to turn on the heaters in case the temperature drops below a certain threshold decided by you.

And yet "stupid": not parla with anyone, if not with himself.

In home automation there is a great quality of sensors different, among which:

  • of temperature;
  • relative humidity;
  • di lumiof brilliance;
  • of presence;
  • of opening gates (finestkings, doors, dormers);
  • of rain, of flooding;
  • of smoke presence;
  • of noise;
  • of air quality

and many others.

Also of actuators there are many different types, including:

  • switching on / off / switching lights and electrical contacts;
  • alarm activation / deactivation;
  • activation / deactivation / regulation of fans (free-standing, ceiling-mounted);
  • motor activation / deactivation / regulation;
  • radio transmitters


I devices, instead, they can be:

  • air conditioners, air conditioners;
  • thermal power plants, heat exchangers;
  • photovoltaic panels;
  • anti-intrusion systems (understood as complete systems);
  • smart TVs;
  • audio systems;
  • siren

and still others. There feature that makes a component (whether it be an actuator, a sensor or a device) "domotic" or "not domotic" is the fact that this object isappia "talk" or not with our final management tools and, possibly, with one central automation (we get there). One component not home automation, sometimes, can be returned such: one of the challenges we will face here - and we will win - Sara prothat of making "domotic" what, to date, apparentemente it is not (a small excursus on this theme you can find it here).


Il BRIDGE/Gateway (o i BRIDGE or Gateway, since different "under the same roof" - and it often happens - they are particular domotic components, they are in fact units that act as "concentrators”For the control of several underlying elements, they are sensors, actuators and / or devices.

Often i BRIDGE in trade come proplaces from promanufacturers as an essential element to use the line of prodomotics ducts from them promail: once purchased and configured the BRIDGE, or the Gateway, all the elements of the domotic line of proconductor they are easily controlled by theapp (typically mobile) of the produttore himself. Typically these BRIDGE do appanointed by "bridge" between the proTCP / IT protocol vi Wi-Fi and / or Ethernet) and the protocollo chosen by the proproducer (the previously mentioned ZigBee, Z-Wave etc).

Actually some home automation components they are not conveyed through any BRIDGE, as they are able to act as "BRIDGE of themselves".

As we will see later, the adoption of BRIDGE in home automation it has lights and shadows.

Automation central (HUB)

The automation central (o HUB) is the element that makes thinking and self-aware our personal home automation.
In essence, this component serves as a organize automation and controls that you want current in the home automation environment.

I described above BRIDGE/Gateway they can sometimes act in part (even in concert with the final management tools) How HUB. Theirs limit most often it is, unfortunately, impossible to "collaborate" with other elements that are not under their direct control (eg a lamp controlled directly or through the BRIDGE of another brand). For this it is essential have an automation central (HUB) that can supervise, regardless, any element present in the profirst home automation environment (which are sensors, actuators, devices, BRIDGE) - this is precisely the philosophy we will describe and pursue here on inDomus.

Final management tools

The final management tools are the "mild"Which allow us to act on the home automation system. These levers are divided into two large families: those controlled by commands a gesture and those controlled through verbal commands.

Le gesture are the manual gestures we carry out using the applicenses for a computer, a smartphone, a tablet. An example: on smartphones apro 'sappof the proproducer of bridge that I have at home (which controls a light) and, pressing the icon that rappresists my lamp, light it up.

I verbal commands instead they are sentences of a complete meaning proannounced out loud. "Turn on the reading corner light"Is an example of a verbal command. Obviously (we'll see later how) they must be present in the domotic environment special components dedicated to understanding your language and able to transform the verbal command into a command to "turn" to the automation central and / or to bridge involved by this command.

Route - Communication networks