|(From left) Heng and Chang show off the Wiser Home Control interface on tablets and smartphones.|
Energy efficiency within the home environment goes beyond the concept of smart homes, writes Siti Syameen Md Khalili
EARTH Hour is happening this weekend. If you’re looking for ways to conserve energy beyond the event, home automation is an eco-friendly and sexy option. Considered an important element of a smart home set-up, home automation today also aims to deliver customised comfort, entertainment, security and overall energy efficiency.
Through its Wiser Home Control solution, energy management specialist Schneider Electric is paving the way for more locals to adopt home automation for better managed connectivity, comfort, convenience, entertainment and peace of mind.
Francis Heng, business vice-president at LifeSpace, Power Business, Schneider Electric Industries, says the company brings its expertise in managing energy for organisations to homes. “We want to help homeowners make the most of their energy resource,” he says.
Going beyond the regular concept of smart homes, its assistant sales manager Chang See Yin, says Wiser solutions can be tailored to control lighting, alarm systems and CCTVs, entertainment devices, curtains, blinds and even lawn sprinklers.
The system includes components such as Ethernet router, WiFi access point and secured remote Internet access (WAN). Its user-friendly user interface also includes scene presets with scheduling and logic programming modules.
Chang says: “Many homes today have so many electric and electronic devices that the numerous remote controls can be quite confusing.
“Wiser can link together these devices so that they can be controlled using your PC, tablet or smartphone. The moment you come back from work and enter your home, you can immediately launch a preset scene so that the lights, air-cond, blinds and audio visual components will be as according to your preference,” she explains.
“Using mobile devices, you can access switches or peripherals such as the CCTV cameras remotely by using the accompanying app. The app is made for Android, iOS and Symbian-based devices using Internet Protocol connectivity was developed in-house to further enhance the system.”
Wiser can fit any home, from a bachelor pad to or a bungalow, says Heng. “Today’s homeowners are not just into functional and economical solutions — they also look for items that add convenience, luxury or prestige in their lives.
Wiser fits into this category, but if you consider the price of homes today, the cost of the system is a small add-on to renovations costs. The basic system package for a condo setup starts at RM9,999. You can add more features such as controls for curtains, blinds, auto gate or sprinklers,” he adds.
There are also occupancy sensors that detect heat or movement. “When these detect lower temperature or absence of movement within a designated area, certain items will be shut down. You can also install timers, for example in the bathroom or garden to limit the time lights are switched on at these places,” says Heng.
Schneider Electric Malaysia country marcom manager Lainee Wong says in addition to energy savings, another important aspect of the Wiser system is peace of mind.
Apart from being able to view footage captured live on CCTV cameras, the ability to trigger certain scenes remotely will also ward off burglars. “During festive seasons or school breaks when the family is away, you can control your home system to simulate presence. You can have the lights on at certain parts of the house at night, play music and give the impression that someone’s home,” she says.
Visit the company showroom in Hicom-Glenmarie Industrial Park, Shah Alam for a preview of the Wiser system. An expert is stationed at the showroom every Wednesday and Friday from 2pm to 4pm to explain the system components and interface.
Upon signing up for a package, Schneider Electric will then appoint one of its panel system installer to conduct wiring, installation, programming as well as testing and commissioning activities. “For new homes, we take about a week to complete the processes, but in occupied homes, it may take as long as two weeks as sometimes there are a lot of items such as furniture that needs to be moved.
“For a more advanced system, the process may include a site visit where the system installer will discuss with the homeowner, specific add-ons and how best to install them,” adds Heng.
Note though that hacking and drilling are part of the process. New homeowners will do well by having the system installer work with renovation contractors but existing home dwellers can be sure that there will only be a minimum amount of hacking involved.
Wiser Home Control users will receive training from the system installer. They can also turn to Schneider Electric’s 24-hour Customer Care toll free line for help. Details at www.schneider-electric.com/
|Welcome to the showroom in Shah Alam.|