In biology, an ecosystem is a community of interacting organisms and the physical environment in which they coexist. Biological ecosystems need five basic components to survive: energy, food, water, oxygen and the living organisms that work together for a collective benefit. Interestingly enough, an effective home automation system is a lot like a working ecosystem.
The technology world has borrowed the example of an ecosystem to explain how different systems work together to accomplish a certain goal. Even the business world embraced the ecosystem philosophy. Home automation has not, at least in an official sense. Yet analyzing how an effective home automation system works clearly shows the ecosystem principle at work.
To make the point, let us consider five things that a home automation system requires for proper functioning, as suggested by Naples, Florida home automation provider Elxai:
1. Functional Components
In a biological ecosystem, let’s say a swamp, for example, there is a variety of plant and animal life that all contribute a particular function to the ecosystem. If one or two species become imbalanced, the entire ecosystem is thrown off. In the home automation ecosystem, those plants and animals are replaced by functional components such as lighting controls and automated window shades.
An effective home automation system includes various components that contribute their own functionality and work in concert with the others to some degree. For example, consider the smart thermostat that can learn and adapt over time. That thermostat communicates with other components of the home automation system to ‘learn’ the homeowner’s lifestyle in order to make necessary adjustments.
2. Robust Communication
Every biological, technological, and business ecosystem requires robust communication in order to thrive. Without communication, the various functional components of that ecosystem do not work together for the common good. Things are no different in home automation. A well-designed home automation system is built on robust communication that allows every device in the system to communicate across a local network and, when necessary, beyond the local network as well.
3. Adaptability and Scalability
A biological ecosystem unable to adapt and scale to environmental influences is one that is destined to fall apart. In home automation, scalability and adaptability are absolute musts. Existing hardware and software must be adaptable to changes initiated by the homeowner, and the entire system must be scalable to account for changing needs in the future. Without adaptability and scalability, the shelf life of a home automation system is limited.
4. System Redundancy
The living organisms of a biological ecosystem have built-in redundancy that prevents any one species from being utterly destroyed under normal conditions. Without that redundancy, an ecosystem would fall apart. In a home automation system, redundancy is also necessary to account for hardware and software failures. The more redundancy a system has, the more reliable that system is for the homeowner.
5. A Common Purpose
Lastly, ecosystems of all kinds have common purposes. The common purpose of a biological ecosystem is survival. The common purpose of a business ecosystem is making a profit. In home automation, the common purpose is to make a home more efficient and secure. Without a common purpose, it is too easy to deploy home automation devices that serve no real purpose and, therefore, detract from the system as a whole.
A well-designed home automation system is one that works just a like a biological ecosystem. Each component of the systems provides a specific function, the components all communicate, the system is scalable and adaptable, adequate redundancy is built in, and the system is designed with purpose. Elxai says it’s just that simple.