Setting up home automation

Design: Lim Ai Tiong Architects

Home automation or smart home systems was a fantasy, as portrayed in Hollywood science fiction movies, for decades. And while it became more popular from the mid-2000s in the US, it started to catch on in Singapore only in the last couple of years. Hotels and commercial buildings were the first to adopt automation, to save on electrical bills (for example, switching on and off air-conditioning and lights) and for the purpose of security. But now, the uses of smart home systems extend to lifestyle and caretaking needs.


How It Works

With sensors installed that monitor the environment, set instructions for automation through a controller device. For example, have the curtains drawn automatically when a light sensor detects strong sunlight, or a security camera snap a picture when someone enters your home as detected by a motion sensor. You can use the automation system to customise every scenario in your home, including programming schedules, such as keeping the curtains drawn till 7am on weekdays and 10am on weekends. In most cases, you can also remotely control your device(s).


Ask Before You Buy

Home automation is a relatively new thing in Singapore. High-end developments and landed properties were the first to adopt this, but with costs coming down significantly in recent years, more and more homeowners have started to explore having smart homes. Depending on what and the extent of it you wish to automate, the cost can range from $800 to tens of thousands of dollars. Some home automation systems can be wired up with your existing gadgets and electrical appliances, such as your air-conditioners or IP camera, but check first if they are compatible with a particular one. There are several home automation companies here that can help you realise a convenient and comfortable smart home. 


Where To Go 

1. Somfy specialises in motorised curtains and blinds.

Somfy, tel: 6383-3855, www.somfy.com.sg


2. Zipato offers complete home automation solutions, from IP cameras and lighting to smoke and fire detection.

Zipato, tel: 6384-1551, www.zipato.com.sg


3. Mation offers solutions covering all key elements of control, security, utilities and entertainment.

Mation, tel: 8339-1638, www.mationasia.com


4. Lutron specialises in lighting controls.

Lutron, tel: 6220-4666, www.lutron.com/asia