Home Automation and Python: How Smart Homes Are Built
3 min read
Smart homes were once distant speculation in science fiction stories. Today, people are investing more and more in technologies and solutions that bring us as close as possible to the concept of futuristic homes we see in films and television. According to recent data, the global smart home market is expected to reach $136.5 billion by 2033. This growth is predicted as a subsequence of rising millennial home ownership and growing demand for energy-efficient systems in response to dire climate change effects.
While smart tech involves convenience, like being able to control your lights with your smartphone, building a smart home goes beyond communication over remote distances. Some of these devices are more complex, integrating various sensors and software that enable your house to react more intelligently to the environment. For example, a smart window may be able to tell the temperature inside and outside the house and then open or close accordingly. Below, we'll look at the essential role Python plays in home automation:
The state of home tech using Python and machine learning
Despite many programming languages currently being introduced due to evolving technologies, Python remains a popular programming language. It is often touted as one of the more beginner-friendly languages and an essential introduction to complex concepts and processes. Aside from being taught in schools, people can learn Python and other relevant underlying concepts leading into machine learning algorithms through workshops and boot camps. The accessibility that comes with learning Python is due in part to a demand for digital talent across various industries worldwide, and rightly so, as Python is used in many modern applications and technologies today — such as home automation or smart homes.
A study on image processing-based smart home automation explores the potentials of Python and Raspberry Pi in designing and creating low-cost smart home functions such as an intrusion detection system. Specifically, using Python and specific libraries written for Raspberry Pi, people can develop tools that record images and videos, analyze them in real-time, or store them for later processing. This process is most commonly used in facial detection and recognition algorithms. Combined with home automation technologies, it allows people to control their door locks based on the information received.
Aside from security functions, Python can also be used to program particular conditions for your smart home to operate under, such as turning off outdoor lights when the sun is up or starting the coffeemaker at a predetermined time every weekday. With enough Python and programming language, the possibilities for what you want your smart home to do is almost limitless. Your only hurdle would be based on the hardware available to you. You can program your smart home IoT system to turn on appliances at certain times, for example, but the devices can only do so if they are "smart" or are connected to your home's WiFi connection.
So, how can people use Python to automate their homes?
Understanding Python's basics and core concepts will get you closer to achieving what you need out of a smart home. Fortunately, Python's seniority among most other programming languages means there is a big community of open-source developers constantly experimenting with machine learning and artificial intelligence using Python. When you've learned the concepts and the language, you can create a simple human detection system using Python and a wireless camera, as well as other smart home functions you can think of.
Alternatively, subscription-based products are available today, from smart home companies and providers, with a set of products that serve various functions, from security to lifestyle convenience, albeit for varying price points. While we can hope for the commodification of smart home tech in the future, there's no harm in learning Python and the concepts that run smart home algorithms so that you can familiarize yourself with the evolving technology or maybe even contribute new functions.