An internet based home automation system focuses on controlling home electronic devices whether you are inside or outside your home. Home automation gives an individual the ability to remotely or automatically control things around the home. A home appliance is a device or instrument designed to perform a specific function, especially an electrical device, such as a refrigerator, for household use. The words appliance and devices are used interchangeably.
Automation is today’s fact, where things are being controlled automatically, usually the basic tasks of turning on/off certain devices and beyond, either remotely or in close proximity. Automation lowers the human judgment to the lowest degree possible but does not completely eliminate it. The concept of remote management of household devices over the internet from anywhere, any time in the world today can be a reality. Assume a system where from the office desk, the user could view the status of the devices and decides to take control by tuning his TV set to his favorite channel, turns on the cooling system, say the air conditioner, and switches on or off some of the lights. This user could walk back home and only finds a very comfortable, pleasant home.
The recent developments in technology which permit the use of radio frequency technology such as Bluetooth, have enabled different devices to have capabilities of communicating with each other. Bluetooth is a new technology, which has at its center the goal of eliminating wired connections between computers. Instead of connecting with wires, every appliance has small transmitters/receivers. The radio frequency used (2.4 GHz) is so high that the range of transmission will be small (about 30 feet). This is important because the range is so small, that it can be used in apartments without much interference to your neighbors or from them. These are a few reasons that make Bluetooth technology ideal for home automation. With this in mind, I propose to design an internet based home automation system for remote control of home appliances.
Many people are always on the move from place to place due to business demands. Some people can spend a couple of days away from their home leaving all their household appliances without any kind of monitoring and control. Some devices are left plugged into power sockets whereas others are supposed to be plugged into and out of power sockets at different intervals depending on the time of the day. All this requires an individual to manually attend to each of the devices independently from time to time. All such monitoring and control can be done without necessarily being around or inside the home. Some devices if not controlled properly consume a lot of energy which leads to extra expenditure on electricity. Therefore I propose to design an internet based home automation system which will enable one to remotely manage his/her appliances from anywhere, anytime.
Objectives of the study
To design an internet based home automation system for controlling home appliances.
- To analyze and identify the weaknesses of existing home automation systems
- To design a flexible internet based wireless home automation system
- To simulate and test the designed system
Home automation Modules
Home automation is the residential extension of building automation. It is the automation of the home, housework or household activity.
The Internet, sometimes called simply “the Net,” is a worldwide system of computer networks – a network of networks in which users at any one computer can, if they have permission, get information from any other computer (and sometimes talk directly to users at other computers). The Internet is now widely used as a connectivity tool for educational, commercial, and personal applications. The Internet is an exciting portal that makes it possible for users to access virtually an infinite supply of information.
A micro controller is an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) that fetches and executes instructions based on input from some user program. These devices do not have a fixed function, but rather are controlled by software.
Radio Frequency communication (RF communication) is a kind of communication that uses a frequency of electromagnetic radiation in the range at which radio signals are transmitted, ranging from approximately 3 kilohertz to 300 gigahertz.
Remote control is the control of an activity, process, or machine from a distance, as by radioed instructions or coded signals.
The reviewed systems have some weaknesses such as limitations in the range of coverage for the wireless devices, power failure, high cost for implementation and others require an improvement in their performance. Therefore a design of a low cost, flexible, effective internet based home automation system is required.
Design and development tools
Tools that will be used include; Unified Modeling Language, PHP, HTML, Macromedia studio (Dreamweaver), and Wamp server.
The proposed system will be designed using Unified Modeling Language which will allow the usage of activity diagrams, use case, data flow diagrams and a flow chart.
Web pages will be developed using HTML and PHP using Dreamweaver and the database will be developed using wamp server.
Components of the system
The system will be modeled with three different units. The first unit will be the personal computer (PC) side which will be formed of a user interface component, the database and the web server components.
An internet page will be setup to run on a Web server. The user interface and the internet front end will be connected to a back end data base server. The programs that are expected to be run on the PC are; web server and internet web page, database and its platform and user interface program. There will be a controller (master device) containing a micro controller unit that will be interfacing between the PC and the appliances. The PC will be communicating with the master node which in turn will be communicating with the other appliances (a fan, a light and a TV set) via Bluetooth. Essentially each of those appliances will have an ID and a small computer on board (transmitter/receiver device) that will receive commands, implement them and return a status signal.
To ensure security, the connection to the web page will be secured through the server certificate and secure socket layer (SSL) algorithm. In addition a login/password based access will be setup to prevent unauthorized access. With the internet page, authorized users can login to their home environment, monitor and change the status of the devices of their choice.
A database will be designed using Wamp server software and the user interface (web page) will be designed using Dreamweaver. PHP will be used to link the web page to the database.