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Abstract This paper discusses various aspects of a smart home system especially using a combination of Power Line carrier, Radio Frequency (RF) and Internet technology to access and control your home. Current trends, key issues, standards and features of smart home systems are discussed in detail. MIMOS Smart Home System (BestariHome) design, development and commercial implementation for 230 units of terrace houses in Johor will be described. Finally, based on our broad experience from design to implementation some guidelines for smart home system designers and developers are suggested.
Keywords: Smart Home Systems, Internet, Standards and Specifications, Security, Home Automation, Communication, BestariHome
1.0 INTRODUCTION Today, you can easily control your home’s mechanical systems and appliances over your cellular phone or Internet, and the lighting in your home can be set to save your money when you leave the room. The Internet provides even more incredible access to information and services. We believe that the Internet will become the next essential utility in the home. Similar to the use of water, electricity and gas, the Internet will become common and expected. Smart Home Systems are also known as “Computer Homes”, “Electronic Houses”, “Intelligent Homes”, “Interactive Homes”, “Home Informatics” and “Home Telematics”. There have been several smart home projects undertaken by individuals over the last few years. The most popular of these has been Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ residence on Mercer Island east of Seattle. The home includes art frames that can display different “paintings” on demand and customize the music played in a room based on the guest’s preference. In general, smart homes provide users with security, convenience and energy management features, as well as having added benefits for disabled individuals.
Figure 1: A Smart Home System with Security, Home Automation and Communication System 1
First part of this paper will discuss the basic features of a typical smart home system, the second part will describe the design and development and implementation of MIMOS Smart Home Systems (also known as BestariHome). BestariHome was installed commercially for more than 230 units of single-storey terrace houses in Johor Bahru. Finally, we will share our implementation experience and suggest some guidelines for smart home systems designers and developers.
2.0 SMART HOME SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGIES A smart home allows the entire home to be automated and therefore provide ease and convenience to everyday activities in the home. Automated control, edutainment features, communication features and smart appliances all contribute to the ease and convenience a smart home permits, and remote access to these features through telephone or Internet makes it even more convenient. Table 1 shows the current and future trends in Smart Home Systems. Some of the interesting features in future Smart Home Systems are such as integrated solution using open architecture and standards. Current Affordable by high-end homes Vendor dependent Very expensive maintenance Proprietary and Standalone Not flexible and adaptable to new lifestyle Future Standard features in every home Open Standards and DIY Concept Zero maintenance Integrated solution Modular and expandable
Table 1: Smart Homes, Current vs. Future 3.0 ENERGY MANAGEMENT One of the major benefits of smart homes to consumers is their ability to incorporate energy management features. One smart home system manufacturer claims to be able to reduce the electricity bill by 30% depending on the home. 3.1 Lighting The lights in a smart home can be turned on and off automatically and this will help you save on your electricity bill. Lights can be turned on only when they are needed. This can be done based on some sensor input or schedule. In a typical smart home system whenever a person enters a room in the day time, the system will open the drapes instead of turning on the lights, but at night it would make sure the lights came on and they turned off when no one is in the room. This simple automation can prevent unnecessary waste of electricity. 3.2 Heating and Air Conditioning The water heating and air conditioning can be more efficiently controlled by a smart home system, saving tremendously on the cost of maintaining a consistent temperature within a large house. One smart home had an estimated heating bill of only one third of a normal house of the same size. The smart home system saves money by simply being more efficient but added savings can be made because the house can be set to turn off air conditioning when no one is in the house. 2
3.3 Energy Usage Monitoring Smart homes can even go further in energy management by keeping track of the energy usage of each and every appliance in the house, from the coffee maker o the washing machine. Such features allow you to know what is using too much electricity and adjust things accordingly. An appliance that is using too much energy can be turned off when it is not needed and help lower the costs. 4.0 SAFETY AND SECURITY The smart home systems allow to incorporate for greater features than the traditional alarm systems. 4.1 Safety Safety features can do much more in a smart home than traditional alarm systems. Since almost every element in a smart home is networked together, an alarm can set into action any number of things. One such smart home would not only set off alarm when it detected a fire but would also turn on lights to show occupants the safest route out. Furthermore, it will unlock the doors, open windows to allow smoke to be ventilated, turn off all the appliances and dial (through autodialer) to the nearest fire and rescue services. A burst pipe results in the water being shut off and the occupants being alerted. All hazardous appliances can also be shut off when the homeowners are away. All of these are possible because of the home networking of the various elements within the home. 4.2 Security Some of the features of the traditional burglar alarm system include turning on and off lights when no one is at home and using video cameras to show the home owners who is coming up the driveway. In a smart home, sensors and video cameras are used to detect outside movement. If the security system senses an intruder, for example, the smart home system will trigger the camera to take a picture, digitize it and send it to the homeowner and the police via e-mail.
Figure 2: A special sensor buried at the side of your driveway detects approaching vehicles, notifies you inside the house and can automatically turn lights and other devices. When a person or vehicle set off a sensor outside of the house, the smart home system would turn on the lights, television and video cameras. The image shot by the video cameras would appear on the television screen for the occupant inside to see what was going on. The turning on and off the lights has the added benefit of suggesting the presence of people inside the house if no one actually at home and potentially scaring away would-be intruders.
When the homeowners goes for a vacation the smart home system can be programmed to on and off certain lights and appliances randomly that would give an impression the presence of people inside the house. In case of any intrusion or fire the smart home system will inform the homeowner through the autodialer. On the other hand, the homeowner can also call the smart home system through telephone or even PC to find out the status of his house. 5 MIMOS SMART HOME SYSTEMS – BESTARIHOME
5.1 Objectives The main objectives of this project are as follow: - To digitize every electronic device in a house. - To connect and link homes to computers, phones and home appliances. - To develop a base for learning, working etc. 5.2 Design Principles The design of the MIMOS Smart Home Systems uses the 3-level generic specification. The 3level generic specification is shown in Figure 3. Level 1 is the basic infrastructure, Level 2 is the Context Specific Requirements and finally Level 3 is meant for User Specific Functions.
Figure 3: The 3-Level Generic Specification In addition, every level includes the following features: - Functionality - Ease of Installation - Reliability and Maintainability - Affordability - Upgradability - Interactivity - Flexibility and Adaptability The design of smart home systems should take into consideration of existing houses and new houses. Installing smart home systems in new houses (under development) is very straightforward. This means, any cabling works can be done during the construction stages. However, most of the existing homeowners don’t like hacking, plastering and repainting of wall is in order to install smart home systems. We need to think ways to overcome this problem so that the existing homeowners will enjoy the benefits of the smart home systems. One of the options is to use existing cables in every home. We can use the powerline cable to transmit data to control electrical devices in a home. The other option is using wireless technology. However, to use wireless technology for the entire house is very expensive. 4
Finally, we decided to use the powerline and wireless technology. We choose this option because it’s more cost-effective, affordable and sustainable. Security portion of the smart home systems will use the wireless technology while the home automation part will use the powerline technology. 5.3 Technologies Using a combination of Radio Frequency (RF) and Power Line carrier technology, BestariHome allows homeowners to remotely control their home security devices and electrical appliances via wireless, open standard and modular systems. The system also allows homeowners in any part of the world to access their home via the Internet and telephone without additional infrastructure such as fiber optics network and broadband connection. MIMOS‘ smart home system uses open standard and it is compatible with existing RF and Power Line standards. The systems are wireless in that some components work on RF while others require no additional wiring (apart from those already available in a house). This means no hacking and replastering of existing walls, no cables and wiring charges . 5.4 Features Small and slim wireless sensors are used for home security. These sensors are attached to doors and windows to detect any break-ins. The sensors communicate with a security console through RF signals. The security console will trigger the auto dialer to call up to four telephone numbers (including handphones) to notify any break-ins.
Figure 4: Smart Home Console (?) and Switches (@ & A, prototype version) Model We use powerline technology for home automation which sends signals through the existing 220V/50 Hz AC wiring in the house. Any electrical appliance in the house such as light, fan and water heater can be controlled with the help of two components; transmitters (eg. console or remote control) and receivers (eg. switches or plug-in modules). Figure 4 shows the Smart Home Console and switch prototype. Figure 5 shows the communication architecture of BestariHome.
Figure 5: Communication Architecture of MIMOS Smart Home Systems 5
The home owner can remotely control devices in his home by clicking on a couple of menus on the PC. The PC will send commands to electrical devices via power lines. The home owner can arm or disarm the alarm system, turn lights on or off lights or any electrical appliances and even control the sprinkler system to water his garden from any part of the world. While there are other smart home systems in the market, MIMOS is believed to be the first local company to come out with a smart home system that can be remotely accessed via the Internet using dial-up lines. This means the home is connected to the outside world 24 hours a day, 365 days in a year. 5.5 Implementation The installation of smart home systems in 230 houses was awarded to MIMOS based on tender bidding process. We were chosen based on our technology advantage. Since the technology is new and this is the first implementation in Johor, the developer (UDA Holdings) proposed to install the systems in four show houses as a pilot project. Each of the show houses comes in different design. Diagram 1 shows the process that took place during the implementation of smart home systems in these four show houses. Wiring and Infrastructure Works
Installation of Sensors, Switches & Console
Unit Testing (Security & Automation)
System Testing, Integration & Programming
Verification & Approval by Consultant
Handover to UDA Holdings Diagram 1: Smart Home Implementation Process Flow The system diagram of smart home systems in Bandar UDA Utama, Johor Bahru is shown in Diagram 2. The location of the sensors, console and other components of smart home systems are based on the Tender Specification. However, slight changes need to be done based on the system performance at show houses. 6
Diagram 2: System Diagram of Smart Home Systems in Bandar UDA Utama  Once the project consultant approved the installation of smart home systems in the four show houses, we started to replicate the approved system in the rest of the houses. In the process of doing infrastructure work (eg. laying cables), we need to work closely with other sub-contractors. 6 HELPING DISABLED AND ELDERLY
Smart Homes for people with disabilities and older people can provide empowerment, independence and most importantly, choice. Smart home can be offered as an alternative to residential care, allowing the person to choose to stay at home which for some individuals is essential for their happiness and well being. 7
6.1 Independence Smart homes allow people with disabilities maintain an active life because most of the everyday activities in a home are automated. Simple activities such as turning on a light switch or changing a television channel can be difficult for someone with arthritis or some other inhibiting disability. Some smart home comes with a built-in speech recognition system which allows lights and appliances to be turned on or off without the user having to do it manually. A smart home can be remind people with short-term memory problems to turn off the stove or even turn the stove off by itself. 6.2 Communication Smart homes can also help the elderly and disabled by making communication with friends and doctors easier. The telecommunication features in a smart home systems allow the home owner notify family and friends in case of emergency . 7 KEY ISSUES
Smart Home Systems can both reduce costs and increase productivity and comfort. At the moment there is no standard guidelines for buyers or developers on the minimum features for a Smart Home Systems. The relevant authorities should make this guideline available so that the buyers know what are the basic features available in a Smart Home System. There are too many proprietary Smart Home Systems in the market. As a result system integration is one of the major issue when different systems are used in a home. A disciplined approach to standards and protocols is needed to ensure system interoperability . There is a shortage of trained, knowledgeable and certified professionals in the design, development, installation and integration of Smart Home Systems. Education and training must be provided and promoted at all levels (eg. architects, engineers and developers) in all segments of the industry. There is a need to have more indigenous Smart Home Systems to fulfill the local needs. The relevant authorities should encourage more research and development (R&D) activities to stimulate more indigenous products.
STANDARDS AND INFRASTRUCTURES
In general, there are 2 types of standards used for smart home systems; proprietary and open standard. These standards are becoming more important as the smart home systems expand to encompass computer and communication networks.
Figure 6: Smart Home Standards adopted around the world 
Table 2 shows some of the standards currently adopted by many smart home systems. Standard CEBus (Consumer Electronic Bus) Media All Description The CEBus Standard (EIA-600) is a protocol specification developed by the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) to support the interconnection and interoperation of consumer products in a home. A European industry and government collaboration on home automation. HES is a standard under development by a formal Working Group sanctioned by the ISO and the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). The Home API Working Group is dedicated to broadening the market for home automation by establishing an open industry specification. Created to set a technology specification for home powerline networking. The Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA) is an association of industry-leading companies working together to ensure adoption of a single, unified phoneline networking standard. Power line and radio frequency technologies enable high-speed communication and extend the reach of the Internet to individual products without adding new wires. Home and commercial control network. The father of Powerline home automation protocols. Facilitates control of electrical devices over powerline.
EHS (European Home System)
HES (Home Electronic System) HomeAPI
No New Wires
Power Line, RF
Table 2: Smart Home System Standards and Specifications 
GUIDELINES FOR DESIGNERS AND DEVELOPERS
9.1 User-centered design involves users in the early stage of design, take consideration their lifestyle . 9.2 Work closely with architects, engineers and all the sub-contractors. 9.3 The design of the smart home systems should be user-friendly, modular, adaptable and affordable. This allows the users to add more features when necessary. 9.4 Smart home systems should be thought of as an essential part of the design process and not an after-thought. 9.5 Seeing technology as enabling and empowering is essential to the design process, whilst it is important to recognise that inappropriate design is disabling and unempowering.
9.6 Assessments and judgements should consider how the person is to interact with the technology from a psychological, emotional, physical and social perspective . 9.7 Technology requires regular maintenance and it is essential that the system is regularly checked to ensure it still meets the needs it was designed to meet and the costs for this are put into any designs.
Training is essential for assessors and for installers and maintenance personnel. Everyone who encounters the smart home systems should understand what it is supposed to be doing and be able to assess if it is not performing appropriately.
10 CONCLUSIONS The degree of confidence in Smart Home technologies is inadequate largely because lack of awareness and understanding of its value. An integrated communications infrastructure is the essential foundation in the efficient use of Smart Home Systems. The housing developers should incorporate affordable smart home features in their developments. The housing developers, smart home system designers and manufacturers, homeowners and other related parties should play a prominent role in realizing smart homes in Malaysia . Smart home system designers and manufacturers need to design system, which are cost effective, reliable, flexible and adaptable using sustainable technologies, open architecture and standards. MIMOS is putting the wheels in motion for an intelligent, adaptive, scalable and locally developed smart home system that will allow homeowners manage their homes at the touch of a button. REFERENCES  MIMOS, Wireless and Web-enabled Smart Home Systems, IEM Jurutera, January 2001.  BestariHome User Manual, Version 1.0, MIMOS Berhad, 2005.  Anijo Mathew, Smart Homes for the Rural Population : New Challenges and Opportunities, ACADIA05 Smart Architecture Conference, Georgia, USA, October 2005.  Mohamed Rawidean, Trends and Issues in Smart Home Systems, IEEE RENTAS 2000 Conference, Kuala Lumpur, October 2000.  Kenneth Wacks, Home Automation and Utility Consumer Services, Cutter Info. Corp., MA, 1997.  Ibrahim Mat and Mohamed Rawidean, The Design of Intelligent Traffic Management System With User Centered Approach, Proceeding TENCON 2000 Kuala Lumpur, September 2000.  Dewsburry G and Edge M, Open House International: Designing the Home to Meet the Needs of Tomorrow... Today: Smart Technology, health and well-being, Summer 2001.
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