The growth of the “baby-boomer” senior citizen population is resulting in an upsurge in alternatives to traditional nursing homes and assisted living facilities. For many of the elderly, the ability to remain in the same home is a major consideration, but the cost of an on-site nurse or another helper can be prohibitive. Artificial Intelligence software within home automation products creates smart home systems that provide independent living for seniors.
Smart Home Systems and Installation
Smart home systems, like many other high-tech devices, can be installed during new construction, or to augment a facility that is already in place. Considerations include:
- The more complex the system is, and the more appliances are involved, the more difficult and costly it will be to install in an existing home. This expense can be offset by installing the home automation products in increments, rather than all at once.
- Installation that is conducted as the home is being built ensures that all appliances are wired correctly from the beginning, and are fully compatible with one another and the home automation controller.
Home Automation Controller
A home automation controller is the “brain” of a domotics, or smart home system. AI software collects various inputs from approved sources, processes commands, and completes tasks as directed.
Input sources include voice commands that are picked up by microphones located throughout the home or text commands entered via computer. These commands are processed via the use of NLP, or natural language processing. NLP allows the software to match words and text used in English or other languages to appropriate commands for better understanding by the computer.
Tasks that can be accomplished within a smart home vary from extremely simple to highly complex, and include:
- Opening blinds
- Running the dishwasher
- Running a washing machine
- Turning on a television set
- Dialing a phone
- Playing Music
Integration of Smart Home Appliances
Smart home appliances can be connected to the home automation controller and fit into the overall system in one of two ways. First, and typically most expensive, a smart home appliance such as a dishwasher or refrigerator is manufactured with the ability to interface with a wireless computer network. This allows the appliance to receive complex instructions directly from the smart home control unit. Alternatively, domotics software can tap directly into the electrical system and turn appliances such as lights, fans or television sets off or on in that manner.
Smart Homes Can Mean Independent Living for Seniors
Home automation controllers allow elderly homeowners to perform many actions remotely, through voice or text activated controls, or to schedule tasks that occur regularly. These capabilities reduce the amount of day-to-day activity required by the homeowner, which decreases dependence on outside help. By using these tools, available in various smart home systems, seniors can maintain independence within their own home.