Today you no longer have to lift a finger to do anything at home, thanks to the Internet of Things, Artificial intelligence, RF and IR Devices or IR technologies. These technologies have transformed hour homes with futuristic automation.
You can snuff off the lights or change TV channels with your voice. You can sleep better at night with smart security devices and save energy in cooling and heating with smart thermostats. There is tech-driven automation from the gate to the living room, the kitchen, and everywhere. The use of infra-red technology in the control of these devices promotes greater usability and cost cuttings.
What is a smart home?
The name smart home is not brand or model-specific. It denotes any home set up from surveillance to cooling and cooking devices that can be automated and controlled using a wireless or networked device or app. Most smart home devices are digital with an internet connection. Some come with programmable capabilities.
One other distinct trait of smart home devices is their interconnectivity. These devices can be interconnected, making it possible to control them from a single hub, either an app, a mobile device console. Today, in modern homes, lights are interlinked to security cameras, TVs to thermostats, and audio systems to door locks and whatnot.
The biggest drive and benefit of smart homes is cost savings in perimeter surveillance, temperature, and water monitoring, to mention a few. Smart home devices lead to safer and more energy-efficient homes.
Currently, leading home insurance companies do offer great discounts on smart home devices through their partnerships with smart home device manufacturers. Customers further benefit from lower home insurance premiums by purchasing and installing these devices at home.
What is infrared technology?
The perfect example of infrared technology at home is the TV and the remote. That was in the past—IR technology today has also gotten smarter and more integrated. Now you won’t need to keep around dozens of remotes for each of your devices.
Infrared is a wireless communication technology that utilizes wavelengths shorter that of red light. Some IR systems require a direct line of sight with the IR control device. Other systems leverage the convenient scatter mode that doesn’t need direct placement between IR remote control and IR device.
At home, IR technology is evident in TV sets, motion sensors, smart cameras, headsets, microphones, and other smart home systems. The advantage of the infrared sensors in-home devices is their simplicity of configuration, portability, and low power consumption.
How to Control IR Devices with Smart Home
1. Use an IR hub for your smart door locks and other home devices
Smart locks replace or enhance the functionality of your deadbolt. While the deadbolt might work just fine in locking and unlocking the door, smart locks make things safer and easier. You won’t be forced to carry a key or live with the fear that someone could someday pick your lock and loot your home.
Today there are many smart lock systems with remote control capabilities enabling you to open or lock your doors without physical presence. Some are biometric and keyless, others are Bluetooth, and some models rely on fingerprints.
For you to control your smart lock devices with IR, the smart device must have IR signal capabilities. The ML10 Smart security door lock is an example of a smart door lock with an infrared biometric locking and unlocking capability. This smart door security system can qualify you for discounts with Liberty Insurance and other home insurance policy providers.
The IR hub
You can consolidate the door control function of your smart door lock with other IR-enabled home devices using an IR hub. The latter is a gadget that is meant to be a universal remote control for your smart home devices. It accepts input from your remote control, amplifies it, and sends it to the door lock that you are trying to open.
Working with an IR hub for your smart infrared lock, you won’t need a direct line of sight with the door. IR hubs like the Logitech Harmony Ultimate enable you to control any infrared devices in your home from up to 16 meters.
Logitech Harmony Ultimate links all your IR devices on a single signal controlling device center called the ‘IR hub.’ It becomes possible to replace all your remotes with your smartphone. The universal IR remote control system can work on the ML 10 Smart Security lock, biometric locks, door lock sensors, and lights from a diverse range of brands.
2. Use an AI-powered IR blaster for your smart lighting and other systems.
With the right infrared control gadgets, you can achieve sophisticated wireless control for your lights at home. Infrared enabled smart bulbs can be app-controlled or connected to a smart home assistant for instantaneous automation. The IR technology in smart lights removes the need for wall light switches.
With infra-red controlled lighting devices, you get far and better control over your light. Some of the features in today’s infrared smart lighting include plug-in devices that are configured with IR sensors. The IR switch stays on your lamp, making it possible to turn it on and off or modulate brightness intensity without flipping a switch.
The BCL 5W LED Color Changing Light Bulb is one of the prominent LED bulbs with IR remote control functionalities. This model has RGB color adjustability and can be used for ambiance, daily lighting, or a bed lamp. You can turn this bulb on and off or change the color without using the wall switch.
LED bulbs with similar IR capabilities include the MELPO 5W LED color changing bulb, MUE Home Smart LED bulb, Sengled Color Changing Bulbs, and Texsens LED light bulbs.
If you have these or other light bulb models with IR functionalities, they should have a buttoned remote control gadget for wireless usability. Now, you can ditch that remote control thingamabob and use the same IR hub that you use for your smart door lock.
The AI-powered IR blaster
Another alternative for getting the most agility with your IR enabled home lighting is to use an AI-enabled IR control hub. Infrared control hubs with AI capabilities are enabled with Alexa or Google Assistant, helping you take command of your lighting and TVs, locks, and cameras with your voice.
Energy-saving becomes much more efficient this way. One such IR control hub for your smart home lighting system and everything with IR is the BroadLink New RM Mini3 IR Control Hub.
This AI-IR hub may help you to dim, switch on, and turn off your light from anywhere in the world. It is compatible with Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant.
BroadLink New RM Mini3 IR Control Hub transfers your light bulb’s wireless control function from the remote gadget to your smartphone. That’s when it becomes possible to unleash the true potential of AI-powered IR enabled lighting in your home.
That potential includes being able to control lighting from anywhere, from a smartwatch, or from any other device with Alexa, Siri, and other assistants. They are all compatible with the master IR device from Broadlink. And by working with the IHC app that the device comes with, you can schedule lighting to come on or off or change color at any time of day or night.
Because your IR-enabled light bulbs and their AI-powered IR hub help in energy efficiency and safety at home, you can qualify for great discounts and lower premiums with many insurers. These include American Family, Liberty, Progressive, and others.
3. Use your phone as the universal remote for your smart home surveillance systems.
Smart home security systems are all the rage now. That’s because an increasing number of home insurance policy providers have stepped into the game, supporting innovation at the company level, offering discounts for buyers, and slashing premiums for customers that buy and install the devices.
Home surveillance cameras with IR technology have advantageous capabilities such as clearer pictures, visibility in the dark, and motion sensing. With some models, you will have the ability to control camera position wirelessly for a comprehensive sweeping view of your home and incident verification.
The leading smart home cameras with infra-red capabilities in 2020 include Nest Cam IQ Indoor, Nexia Wireless Indoor Camera, and the Wyze Cam. Investing in Nest and Nexia guarantees you discounts of up to $100 plus lower premiums with Liberty Mutual. Wyze smart home appliances are also discounted for Travellers’ home policyholders.
The three cameras above (and many other models from other brands) use the infrared technology in two ways—first for night vision and clearer image recording in dimmer conditions and second for motion sensing.
The cameras work by detecting the infrared radiation from objects that have a heat signature. The camera converts IR photons back to electrons, which then get processed into visible images. That is how an infrared surveillance camera delivers a clear white and black picture in dark conditions.
The motion detection aspect of IR cameras relies on passive infrared signals. The cameras can detect temperature differences in a field of view when an animal, a person, or an object passes. The IR sensors then signal the camera to record or activate an alarm.
Many smart surveillance cameras have the night vision and motion detection capabilities and a pan-tilt-zoom functionality that relies on IR controls.
Such infra-red enabled security cameras can be controlled from the same IR hub for your door lock, lighting, and TVs. One convenient and cost-effective control option, nonetheless, is to configure them for control via a mobile device that features an IR blaster.
Phones as universal remotes
Phones that have an IR blaster can function as a universal remote control device. From a single mobile phone device, you may be able to control your smart outdoor or indoor CCTV cameras, smart TV, smart lighting, motion sensors, and everything else with infra-red control functionality.
To use a mobile phone as an IR blaster for your smart home surveillance system and other devices, you must first determine whether the phone has an inbuilt blaster. The feature is, in most cases, exclusive to android devices. Conduct a quick online search for your phone’s model to be sure.
If it happens that your phone has an in-built IR blaster, the next step will be installing a universal IR remote control app. Head over to Google play store to choose from a variety of IR control app offerings. Install the app and open it.
Once you open it, the universal IR control app should request to use your phone’s IR blaster. Confirm yes and follow the instructions to set up the app and start using your mobile phone as the one remote control for all your smart home systems. Point the phone towards the cameras, TVs, or audio equipment and use the app’s features to control them wirelessly.
4. Use a WIFI-enabled IR center for your smart thermostat and other home devices.
Heating and cooling at home are necessary for comfortable living. Even so, HVAC systems make up half of all the energy budgets at home. If not controlled, you could receive monthly invoices with countless zeroes that wring your wallet dry and drive you insane.
Smart home heating and cooling devices can help with that. You get better control and management of your home’s temperature control and energy consumption.
IR- enabled smart home heating and cooling systems give you remote control capabilities. You may be able to control your thermostats and HVACs from the single central point where you control your TVs, cameras, and motion sensors.
Switching to smart thermostats is a wise modernization approach for your home with guaranteed benefits in cost savings and living comfort. They have programmable and remote control capabilities that lead to energy saving. They have convenient automation for key functions, including heating and cooling, and you can adjust the temperature without being physically present in a home.
Leading smart thermostats use motion sensor technology to determine whether someone is home or not. They then automatically tune the temperature as programmed.
Other models have remote control features that allow you to control heating and cooling without leaving the couch. These devices can also store data of your past energy usage and rely on it to self-calibrate
The Venstar Programmable Thermostat with IR Remote Control (ACC0431/T1700) is one of the smart temperature controlling devices that you can use via your other wireless control hubs and gadgets. You can adjust the temperature at night without leaving your bed using the remote control functions that it comes with.
The best thing with smart thermostats like this is that it is possible to do away with their remote altogether. You can transfer that function to an IR hub, AI-IR, IR App, or mobile device vis-à-vis the other smart home appliances seen earlier.
WIFI enabled IR hubs
Another similarly popular and advanced technique for controlling smart thermostats and linking them to your other home systems is using IR –WIFI systems. These are IR hubs with smart WIFI control capabilities. Once you pair the WIFI-enabled IR hub device with your thermostat, you ditch the remote and use the WIFI to regulate heating and cooling in your home.
WiFi Smart IR Hub is one of the best WIFI enabled universal infrared remote control center for your home. It comes with a brand-specific android and IOS app that you can sync with your home WiFi so that you get to regulate temperature and TV air conditioners and other smart appliances on your phone.
At a cheaper price, the WIFI-enabled IR hub will control your wall thermostat and other devices. You will be able to effectively use your phone instead of the keypad for control.
5. Use a programmable universal remote for your smart outdoor gadgets.
Nowadays, you can mow your lawn or clean your pool with small smart robotic devices. They make home management an effortless task and every day a joy to live. The leading backyard smart devices for your home in 2020 include the cFloat, which is a smart pool water monitoring device. You throw it in your pool and wait for alerts on temperature or salt levels.
The Polaris 9650iQ smart pool cleaner is another outdoor device that is making waves. When the cFloat tells you that your pool is dirty, you don’t have to roll up your sleeves for the task. Get a smart pool cleaner to do the task. The Polaris 9650iQ Sport is programmable and has remote control capabilities and wheels—these features make it possible to clean your pool hands-free.
The Husqvarna Automower 315X is another equally worthwhile smart outdoor home device to own. Its operation is simple—it mows your lawn for you without you having to push it around. It uses diverse remote control capabilities and GPS tracking for total self-driving and unassisted mowing.
You can get a unified control for these indoor and outdoor home devices by using IR hubs and apps. Provided the gadget you intend to control has infrared remote control capabilities, and a centralized remote control approach discussed earlier can apply.
Another option is to go with a programmable remote. These are non-hub based centralized IR remotes that won’t require you to download an app or AI assistant. They are simply master remote controls designed to replace all or most of your remotes at home.
The Logitech Harmony 650 Infrared All in One Remote Control is an example of a programmable master remote. This model can replace up to 5 of your indoor and outdoor device remotes.
The manufacturer conveys that that universal remote can support 5000+ brands, so you should expect a glitchless performance even when your smart home systems are from different manufacturers.
After the programming part, which requires a computer with an internet connection, you won’t ever have to use WIFI, phones, or apps to control your smart home devices again.
That makes programmable remotes one of the best universal remotes for simplicity and reliability. WIFI can get spotty, apps can get buggy, and AI can get slower, but a programmable master remote for your smart home will always work as expected.
Homes are getting smarter, and some of the smart home systems today are IR enabled. From your smart TV to surround sound system, smart cameras, smart thermostats, vacuums, and pool cleaners, you may find that you have so many remotes that end up cluttering your home.
A universal remote control centralizes and unifies all your remotes into one. That means that you are able to use the same remote for the TV, for your home theater, the HVAC, the cameras, and other smart appliances that you might have invested in. Universal remotes deliver the best conveniences and benefits out of your smart home appliances.
The main ways to control your IR devices with an integrated smart home include:
- Using an IR hub
- Using an AI-powered IR blaster
- Using a phone with an IR blaster
- Using an app-based universal remote
- Using WIFI enable the universal remote home center
- Using a programmable remote