Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why did we choose lighting?

When we were deciding which area to focus on for our initial home automation product, we had several options. Although home automation can get very technical, we wanted to be sure every family member would to be able to use the system with smiles on their faces.

Before starting technical implementation we wanted to choose a domain where the objects are clear and easy to work with. Some areas we considered were efficiency and energy savings (remote controlled power outlets, heating and air conditioning monitoring and adjustment), safety and security (motion sensors, surveillance cameras, and electronic locks), and atmosphere and mood (wireless multiroom speakers, interactive entertainment systems). However all these seemed either too simple or too complex for the first product implementation.
Why did we choose lighting?
In the end, we decided on lighting:
  • Lighting plays a central role in every home in all three of the above areas: mood, safety, and efficiency.
  • There are a number of high-quality smart lighting devices on the market, for example Philips Hue smart bulbs, for our product to integrate with.
  • The physical devices for automating home lighting are easy to set up.
  • Smart lighting can be used in countless situations to simplify daily living.
  • Lighting is a complex entity and provides an ample set of challenges to prove the value of a home automation system.
In the first version of Cozify’s product, we will be offering a service allowing lighting to be controlled by motion or scheduled by time and/or day of the week, to meet the needs of ordinary family life. In addition to practical functions, brightness and color adjustments allow an almost unlimited range of options for users to modify mood at home just the way they want and need.

Implementation of the first version is almost completed and our first pilot release will happen soon. During the pilot period, we will be receiving valuable feedback on how families use Cozify lighting in their homes. This input will be used to improve the product before expanded release later this year. To receive the latest Cozify updates on the pilot and other activities, please subscribe to our Newsletter.

-Tony-

Tony Risikko from the Cozify team focuses on business development

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cozify Home Automation and Connected Devices

The so-called “Internet of Things” is coming slowly but surely into every home. In the Internet of Things, participating devices form a network and communicate using protocols and technologies similar to those used by web browsers and web servers. The most commonly seen examples today are smart TVs, but other devices are already following.

At Cozify, our own vision is closely based on the ideology behind the Internet of Things: that devices communicate wirelessly without complex setup and are easily accessed while at home or away through mobile applications. Thus, easy setup and simple use are the foundations of Cozify home automation.

How does Cozify home automation work technically?

Our system utilizes wireless technologies, especially the WiFi network that most homes have today. To ensure as wide device compatibility as possible, we also support Bluetooth and Zigbee radio interfaces. A constant connection to internet is not required for home operation, but only to control the system remotely. In the case of a power outage, doors can still be locked and unlocked using key, and if the home WiFi network is not accessible, lights can always be switched on or off from the switch on the wall.
Cozify Home Automation and Connected Devices, IoT
The Cozify hub is the heart of the system. The hub connects all devices together and provides the link to our cloud services. Both user requests and device status notifications go to the hub, and action commands are sent out based on the received information. Themes, predefined by the user, allow easy control of multiple devices and groups, but individual control is always possible as well.

A theme is a collection of settings the user would like to apply in certain circumstances and conditions. Themes are created and stored to the hub using the Cozify mobile application. For example, a Night theme could turn on dimmed lights, lock doors, verify that garage and warehouse doors are closed, and activate door and window sensors. Even a preferred bedroom temperature could be set as part of this theme: only the imagination is the limit.

To communicate with the hub, a device must be able to wirelessly send and receive notifications and actions. The number of such “smart” devices available is ever-increasing, and examples include:

motion / presence sensors
LED light bulbs
remote controllable outlets
surveillance cameras
electronic door locks
thermostats
door and window sensors
moisture sensors
wireless multiroom speakers
household appliances, like refrigerators, washing machines, etc…

As can be seen, home automation can potentially cover everything from lights and entertainment to core systems like furnaces, boilers, and air conditioners, allowing the home owner great freedom to monitor activity, adjust mood, and improve efficiency. The possibilities are endless.

Everyone is warmly welcome to discuss, challenge, and brainstorm about what the future could bring. Please, start by commenting below.

-Tony-
Tony Risikko from Cozify-team focuses on business development and partners

This is Cozify’s blog, where we ruminate on home automation technologies and practices and share company news. Articles come from our own team as well as other experts in the field.

You are welcome to read and comment.