Home is a place where you feel comfortable. And that’s exactly how it should be with your smart home app. The app should offer all important functions and be visually appealing. Animations are also important in the home automation app, because they can improve the user experience, help to stand out from the crowd and can draw attention to important details.
In the following blog post, I set out to find visually appealing apps that have a presentation and layout that matches what makes a smart home app enjoyable to use for me.
I find designs that clearly visualize the house’s internal data, also take into account the energy balance and play with colors to allude to normal or increased energy consumption particularly sophisticated. I find it practical to subdivide the rooms, list finances and link them to my own smart home devices.
When it comes to smart device usage in the home, the question is how a smart app development look like and be built that it can be used easily and informatively. In the following blog post, you will find an analysis of the key elements of the smart app user interface.
Key values of a smart home app for the user
The first contact with the device offers onboarding and setup. For the optimal operation of the devices, the user should receive a tutorial of the app, which can also be referred to in the later course of use. After the introduction to the use, it is possible to set the product to his liking, open an account and register for the product. Most smart home products have a minimalist user interface with few buttons and a small display, while the user interface of the device allows you to make all the necessary settings.
This app function should make it possible to assign different roles for the smart home system. In this sense, admin, user, or guest roles can be assigned and thus different permissions can be set. It should also be possible for the user to group devices by room and to control different devices within a room at the same time.
For the proper use of the smart system, it is also important that push notifications inform about problems or activity. However, so that it is not perceived as intrusive, the notifications must be filtered according to urgency and value.
With remote control, certain actions should be able to be activated or called up smoothly while on the move, ideally via a mobile app. It should also be possible to automate certain processes and functions, programming regimes based on usage data and thus creating routines. It should also be possible for users to create their own scenarios. For a morning scenario, it should be possible for the user to have things happen automatically after waking up, such as the curtains opening and the coffee starting to brew. For these scenarios, it is ideal to work with a voice control system.
In order to know one’s home and its functions in the best possible way, it is important that sensors collect and evaluate data. Users should have direct access to the data via their mobile application, so it is important that the evaluations are clearly visualised and provide accurate insights into the use of the devices, as well as household-relevant consumption, such as through an energy management system.
To understand the relationship between the different functions, I tried to arrange them in a user flow to show how each category interacts with each other:
Smart Home – the new way of living. A hype whose end is not foreseeable and is gaining more and more attention. But how is it all controlled, what do these applications have to contain and how difficult is it to create your own app for it?
Why are the applications so popular.
Humans have become accustomed to interacting with and controlling smart products. The market for them is booming – and control is mostly via smartphone. But why are smart home applications flourishing so much all of a sudden? The reason is the technical development and globalization of the last years, which made it possible that hardware components are more available and microchips, sensors, boards, components and ready-to-use kits are becoming cheaper and cheaper, which makes it very easy to develop a smart home prototype. It also adds to the fact that cloud providers and services are expanding more and more. There are large providers for IoT platforms, such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft, which already offer all-in-one solutions for data analysis, security, network and device management. There are also smaller providers, such as Blynk or Upswift, which make it possible to create IoT projects at low cost or even for free. In terms of environmental protection, people are also looking more and more at building smart home applications and devices into homes to meet environmental standards and regulations and to guarantee a more sustainable future. The hype of owning a smart home seems unstoppable, according to statistic, the value of the smart home market will double in the next years, and many applications and developments from smart home security and network solutions to futuristic household robots are emerging. The pandemic has pushed many people into the home office, and smart home technologies have been used to make the home more comfortable, sustainable and also safer, among other things.
For configuration, remote control, monitoring and automation, most of the products are coupled with a mobile application. Depending on the application area and function of the device and also on the category and manufacturer, it can be an app for a single task or for the entire device category. Different types and approaches to a smart app are presented below.
An app for a device.
Here, one brand specialises in one smart home device and controls all functions of this product in the app. (eg. Brand iRobot, product Roomba, vacuum cleaner robot, feature-rich mobile application iRobot Home App).
One app for one category of devices.
In a multitasking app, companies that make multiple smart home products offer the entire category of devices, which has the advantage of reducing development costs by expanding one app instead of developing multiple new apps. (eg. Nest app for Nest products).
All-in-one application for hubs.
Hubs are standalone solutions. They unite cross-category and cross-brand devices in the home and act as a central control and automation point. Good examples include Amazon Echo devices with the Amazon Alexa app or Smart Things Hub with the SmartThings app, which lets you connect hundreds of devices in one place.
Life can be so simple when you can preheat the oven, dim the lights or open the blinds while on the go. But what exactly is this smart system that makes my everyday life easier?
Smart home or home automation is an umbrella term about various smart technologies that includes and controls different factors such as lighting, climate, entertainment systems, kitchen appliances, ventilation or even the security systems such as access control and alarm systems. What is important here is that the devices include the feature of connecting to the Internet and are part of the Internet of Things (“IoT”).
The smart home system combines these devices through an overview platform, a central smart home hub or also known under the term “gateway”. The user interface used to connect, control and monitor the systems is usually a wall-mounted terminal, tablet or desktop computer, a mobile application or a web interface that can be operated from outside the home via internet access.
There are already some products on the market, which are configured according to one’s own interest or offered as starter sets, mostly combined with a smart home app. The purchase of the devices is definitely a costly effort, yet these systems simplify the everyday life of many people and provides information about their own consumption.
Can this be sustainable?
Sustainability is on everyone’s lips and this is also reflected in the various smart home applications. The Bosch Smart Home app, for example, includes the climate manager function. Rooms can be cooled and heated more smartly, and rooms can be ventilated more sustainably. As a result, rooms are used more effectively, heating costs are saved and energy consumption is reduced. In addition, the system also monitors the radiator valves, thereby extending the service life of the devices and protecting the radiator from calcification in summer and a smooth reactivation in winter.
What better way to start a blog post series than with a motivational quote. With this in mind, sit back and dive into a world of data visualisation of your own energy household. Sustainability and securing our resources play a big role in the current times. In one’s own household, however, one relies on external providers to take care of one’s own resources and energies such as water, gas and electricity. With the help of smart home systems, it is possible to live intelligently, because heating, lighting, shading, the energy household and also security and surveillance systems can be monitored and controlled from the smartphone while on the move. A smart home system involves sensors (thermostats, motion detectors, weather stations, smoke detectors, daylight sensor, smart meters, etc) and actuators (switches, dimmers, blinds, ventilation, air conditioning, etc). These sensors collect data that activate certain activities in the actuators. These systems are controlled either at a permanently installed control center, switches or with the help of mobile devices. Smart metering in particular is computer-controlled measurement, determination and control of energy consumption and supply. Smart metering is an aspect of Big Data and generates large amounts of data from the user’s own household and the energy industry, giving the user key figures on what amount was consumed at which point in what time. One speaks of intelligent energy management when smart metering is applied and one’s own energy use is efficiently monitored and controlled.
But how comprehensible and transparent is this for the end user? And what form can the visualisation of in-house consumption data take so that it is comprehensible and has a lasting effect on the user and his behaviour?
I will deal with these questions and with the individual areas and sensors of in-house energy management in more detail in the next blog posts. Let’s see which energy will attract me.