What Is Connected Kitchen and Home Automation
Home automation applied to the kitchen is the technique that allows the automation of certain functions in the room indicated. We will review here the specificities that may concern this part of the house.
Note: we speak more specifically of “home automation” in the context of a complete installation, while the term connected more readily applies to individual objects.
Home automation has existed for many years, but it is undergoing spectacular developments.
What Is “Home Automation”?
Some authors propose, to better understand what home automation is, to compare the house with the human body.
The human body feels things, transmits information, analyzes the transmitted data and reacts accordingly. The range of home automation systems is extensive, but these systems are always linked to at least one of these four functions.
A home automation system will, therefore, consist of sensors, a transmission network (by wire, radio waves, etc.), an automatic control/command center and a set of modules acting on the elements to be varied.
A (Very) Brief History of Home Automation
Heating control systems with the centralized thermostat can be considered the ancestor of home automation. A thermostat in a room will detect changes in ambient temperature and then send the information to a receiver in the boiler that will adjust the temperature accordingly.
These processes have developed considerably, as electronics and the Internet have contributed, to combine home automation and connected objects, using wifi and mobile phones in particular. As the latter have become real computer terminals, it is possible to run an application that will manage a set of data (energy, alarms, automated shutdowns, audio, video, etc.).
Connected Kitchen: A Dream Come True… with a Few Precautions
Electric or thermal energy supply, gas or water leaks, movements, intrusion, the possibilities are almost endless.
Alarms to detect leaks are the first-class category of home automation objects. When a leak is detected, a set of relays automatically set up to close the flow of the fluid concerned, without human intervention.
The regulation of energy inputs is a second set. It can be used to modulate the total available power, using a smart meter, but also to avoid overvoltages if you want to operate dishwashers, washing machines, ovens, etc. at the same time. The power plant will manage the circuit’s possibilities as efficiently as possible, causing, for example, time-delayed starts, again without human intervention.
Switching on a lamp when you enter the kitchen, switching it off when you leave it, varying the temperature of each room according to the presence or absence of inhabitants are all functions that can be automated.
While the contribution of a complete home automation system in terms of ease of use is undeniable, it can only be considered in a high-end home or, at the very least, for first-time homebuyers with a not too small budget. Home automation has an installation cost that can be quite high for a fully equipped house.
On the other hand, if you want to go as far as the connected appliances, it is essential to have systems that can communicate with each other. However, there are often different protocols for different manufacturers. There are, therefore, “hubs.” These are electronic devices that can “talk” with different devices according to different standards, and then generate the required on/off commands. They thus translate the different electronic/IT languages, making it possible to choose the devices without having to work with only one manufacturer.
Connected Kitchen Appliances: DIY or Professional Service?
If you are interested in introducing home automation in the kitchen, you can start with a basic system, such as automated lighting. The kitchen is a room that is not used all the time, so this function is useful in saving energy when nobody is there. You can also install a water leak detector, coupled with a solenoid valve that will isolate the circuit in case of a problem.
As long as you keep it to small interventions, you can make the adjustments yourself. Subject to the choice of an upgradeable system, you will be able to add additional functions and parts to it as you go along. But we do not recommend that you embark on the implementation of complete home automation equipment on your own unless you combine training as an electronics technician with skills as an experienced DIY enthusiast.
If you want to have an installation that integrates heating control, intrusion alarm, shutter closing and other technical components, it becomes a matter for specialists. It is, even more, the case for connected security alarms (gas leaks in particular), which must be entrusted to professionals.
Price of a Connected Kitchen
The cost of a home kitchen installation depends on the complexity and size of the installation. Count a few tens of dollars for a lighting point controlled by a small motion detector, to be installed by you. The price of a home automation system integrating the various components of the kitchen (excluding the price of household appliances) varies between 500 and 2,000 dollars. Finally, count from $2,500 to $10,000, excluding tax for a fully automated 4-storey house, including the kitchen.