Home Automation Solutions and Systems in India

For an upcoming residence in luxury segment with an area approximating 30,000 square feet home automation solutions is required.

The question which I asked myself when given this task was -what solution do you give for someone who is used to a barrage of servants doing exactly what a click of a button does in an automated home?

And the answer that dawned on me was- why not provide them the experience of using the various spaces without the servants standing on head all times awaiting instructions.

Therefore started the pursuit of looking for solutions on automated and energy-efficient lighting systems to sync with home entertainment equipment along with HVAC system using a single mobile application or ipad.

To start with we were advised Lutron http://www.lutron.com/ for lights and Crestron  https://www.crestron.com/ for integration. More than a  decade ago market in India had initially started with these solutions and to bring them here were Anusha group. They are the pioneers of these solutions(though competition for them has mushroomed up now with various other systems).

They made our requirement on basis of certain assumptions given by the architect. Number of dimmable and sensor driven lights that would come up in each room was assumed and a spreadsheet prepared as how every room needed to respond to its user. They gave us the technology and service at a cost.

We were not up to date on the cost that was proposed. We had never bought this service and it appeared a bit too high, but introspecting and with subsequent discussions we figured out that opening prices would be just that, a ten percent here and there.

But, when it came to technology we needed to understand whether it satisfied our requirements and if it was an answer to our queries.

In a search for a robust solution thus started our hop-in and hop-out of various home experience centers in Delhi city for-

  1. Intelligent control lighting systems
  2. Integration system for electronic equipment’s, drapery and HVAC

The several approached were:

  1. Smart-bus.in
  2. Homebrain.in
  3. Ezhomz.in
  4. Legrand.co.in
  5. Philips-dynalite
  6. xsyssolutions.com
  7. Beacon lifestyle solutions LLP
  8. Muranoindia.com

We asked them similar questions-

  • Can we have each light with an individual address?
  • Can voice instructions be provided through SIRI

The market response for our first query  made us realise that Intelligent control lighting systems are of two types-

  1. Hard-wired analog dimming systems which cannot control individual lights, are fairly complex and costly to implement, and are extremely difficult to modify for later changes in the use of an area.
  2. Proprietary digital control methods-
    • Leading edge dimming
    • Trailing edge dimming
    • An industry standard protocol that allows DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface)compliant components from different manufacturers -ballasts, control systems, sensors, controllers, switches, etc. to be mixed and matched together seamlessly into complete systems. It lets the designer, architects and owners have an open control design, simple to use and manage offering maximum savings throughout the years.

Home owners are usually given a mix of Analog, leading edge and trailing edge solution to control lights. Of course this method cannot address each light individually.

The Digital Addressable Lighting Interface a success in commercial has several disadvantages for home owners-

  • When  light of the house goes and comes back in that period, DALI demonstrates a “pop-on” phenomenon, whereby a light source that’s been turned off in a dimmed state doesn’t “remember” the dimmed setting. Instead, it initially reverts to full light output when it’s turned back “pop on” before going to the state it was in; very disturbing if this happens in night and all members are sleeping.
  • Whenever a light bulb requires a change the service provider has to be called upon to reset it.
  • The dimming is in steps and not smooth; not advisable for a home owner.

Legrand, Phillips,Murano, Lutron Hager, Crestron,Havells- the light solution brands will all advice increase in circuits for this solution but then it will only complicate and  will have too many wires-

Then we were advised to go for LUTRON ECO package perhaps an extension of DALI interface. It works only with LUTRON ECO ballast. It is the solution which homeowners can go for but  I have not come across a home using it -probably because of the dent it has on the budget, or maybe its a new solution or perhaps a solution for existing home owners who wish to control light with convectional light fixtures;  I’m not sure.

In accepting the traditionally utilized analogue interfaces even with leading edge and trailing edge solutions “The house would not be responsive to future needs” it would rather be an answer to the limitation of technology. Technology should no longer be a device it should  rather be an enabler. Seems to me as if this phase for residential sector is really not evolving.

Integration system for electronic equipment’s, drapery and HVAC has the market thronged with various solutions.But for the niche segment not many can stand up-so we spoke to the few -Again the market has two technology;

  • one that requires probes to relay command from IR ports such as  tata sky/AC/DVD player etc. and one which does not.Probes are something  like an oval black button placed near the TV or stuck on your AC. It is totally a user choice to pay more if he does not want to have it by going for a far better technology.Some US based companies have thought of this like RTI -CASADigi, others all think its a waste-tickles my funny bone on this thought.
  • and come to think of it’  your  ipad can also have room depth seen on the screen instead of a flat screen available by all product lines!!its a more more realistic option and easy for touch screen to work best. Going for it is also a very personal choice and CASAdigi is the only company which will give you this feature over the rest.
  • one can opt for better wall mounted panels to increase the aesthetics of the house; in all probability a common range  provided by many and a mind blowing choices by few-Hager for one i think is an answer for this.
  • an option which can rock a youngster mind is provision of a server for movies -the interface with home movie theatre  is smooth if digivalet from CASAdigi does it.
  • using sensors smartly can also integrate various commands for home owners-it is how a solution integrator responds to your needs and wishes!

Have a peep into Comparison Between CasaDigi and Others

List down your liking and ask for the integeration solution to work around it.

Few questions that will decide our selection criteria –

  • Were we overwhelmed by choice and possibilities?
  • Did we find ways to integrate technology into our lives?
  • Does the solution answer our initial pursuit?
  • Is the cost solution competitive and services rendered satisfactory?
  • Are we connecting deep down with the solution?

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