Enhancing Smart Homes with Environmental Data: Exploring the Capabilities of IoT-Based Automation and Air Quality Monitoring

May 19, 2024
2 min read
Enhancing Smart Homes with Environmental Data: Exploring the Capabilities of IoT-Based Automation and Air Quality MonitoringEnhancing Smart Homes with Environmental Data: Exploring the Capabilities of IoT-Based Automation and Air Quality Monitoring
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We spend most of our time indoors, be it a simple roof over our heads or a place to work, travel, or shop. In fact, US EPA states that Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, where the concentration of pollutants is often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.

Household Air Pollution Deaths by Region
Household Air Pollution Deaths by Region

While the numbers may seem to be declining, the situation is still alarming with millions of people dying, especially in African and South-East Asian regions.

Household air pollution was responsible for an estimated 3.2 million deaths in 2020 alone. This magnitude of impact can no longer be ignored, making indoor air monitoring systems highly essential.

Technology combined with the right type of real-time datasets can definitely help reduce these impacts. The right kind of data? Environmental!

Environmental data can be used to monitor and adjust a home's environment. This data can be used to automatically adjust smart devices like thermostat settings, lighting levels, and ventilation systems to reduce energy use while also ensuring the home is comfortable and safe.

Smart home systems have become more prevalent in recent times. While this technology offers homeowners many benefits, it also presents a challenge–ensuring a home operates efficiently and safely while being environmentally friendly.

This blog will discuss how environmental data can help the smart homes industry keep its customers safer while making their day-to-day lives more efficient. But first, let's talk in detail about smart homes and why they are increasingly important today.

Smart home systems—the future of our households

Smart homes are homes that are equipped with technology to provide enhanced comfort, convenience, and security. With a few taps on a smartphone or tablet, users can lock their doors, adjust the temperature of their house, control the lighting, or access entertainment systems. Smart home technology is also beneficial from a security standpoint, as it allows users to monitor their homes from anywhere in the world.

The global smart homes market has been growing exponentially and is projected to continue expanding. The smart home market size was valued at $80.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $622.6 billion by 2028.

US Households Using Smart Home Devices
US Households Using Smart Home Devices

In 2021, about 42% of US households used a smart home device. This is projected to reach 46.5% (about 60 million households) by the end of 2023.

Experts attribute this growth to the increased time spent at home and technological advancements.

In terms of a healthier lifestyle and environment, smart home industries have started using IoT sensors that help to purify the air, track health metrics, and even ward off viruses, a feature more relevant than ever due to COVID-19.

Environmental data integration to enhance smart home devices

Environment data incorporated into smart home devices can help homeowners with multiple benefits, the first being health safety. Smart home products provide a more personalized and comfortable home experience, and the integration of environmental data can help achieve just that. Let’s explore some of the use cases in detail.

Detection of abnormalities in the local environment to stay ahead of pollution

As we know, US EPA's studies found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, regardless of rural or highly industrial areas. Anywhere from 10 to 100% of indoor air pollution consists of outdoor air pollution that has infiltrated its way indoors. This shows that as much as it is important to monitor outdoor pollution, it is equally important to monitor indoor pollution as well.

Environmental data can be a useful tool here to help detect potential safety issues, such as high pollution levels, carbon monoxide leaks, or high levels of humidity. By monitoring indoor air quality, smart devices can alert homeowners of any potential problems and take steps to address them quickly.

This can not only help protect the home and its occupants from any harm but keep them safe from future dangers. This system uses temperature, motion, and humidity sensors along with sound recognition and air pressure detection to monitor if anything unusual occurs. When the sensors detect elevated levels, they can trigger alarms and send alerts to homeowners, allowing them to take immediate action to ensure safety.

To learn more about city-wide pollution monitoring, read our blog about Ambee’s IOT-enabled sensor network.

Personalized health and safety recommendations to create a safer living environment

When it comes to personalization, it extends to health recommendations as well. Every individual has varying needs in terms of health, and smart home systems can utilize environmental data to see if the ambient air is toxic for the resident. For example, if the homeowner or any residents have asthma, alerts can be sent to help them stay safe. Environmental data can help guide consumers toward a safer lifestyle through real-time and personalized recommendations on smartphones or dashboards. They can also be recommended new cleaning routines they can follow to keep homes safe from airborne viruses.

Death Rate Due to Indoor and Out Door Air Pollution
Death Rate Due to Indoor and Out Door Air Pollution

The graph above showcases the death rate in 2019 due to indoor and outdoor air pollution. While various countries have more deaths due to outdoor air pollution levels, even more countries have deaths as a result of indoor air pollution, showcasing the importance of having cleaner indoor air.

Localized environmental data integrated into smarter home systems can be used to send alerts in case of any potential health risks in their homes, such as mold, carbon monoxide, or even radon. This air quality data can also be used to help customers adjust their home's temperature, humidity, and airflow to improve air quality, as well as reduce energy costs and improve efficiency.

Air Quality Data US EPA Standards
Air Quality Data US EPA Standards

In partnership with Ambee, a major real estate corporation has already taken the initiative to fight the problem of indoor air pollutants. From identifying the problem areas to implementing regular maintenance, the organization has taken the step to create a safer work environment using Ambee’s devices.

Read the case study to learn more.

Make informed decisions to drive sustainability

Environmental data can also be used to make informed decisions about energy efficiency and sustainability. Pollution concentration can be reduced with an effective ventilation system, but continuously running a ventilation system is both expensive and uses a lot of energy. To balance this out, a smart sensor system can help accurately measure the concentration and automatically adjust to the immediate environmental needs, saving energy and costs.

A study concluded that smart home automation systems save about 13% of original emissions. This reduction is attributed to automatic energy management systems that increase energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption. By integrating climate and environmental data, smart home systems can identify areas where energy use can be reduced, resulting in lower electricity bills and a more eco-friendly home.

Automated systems can help homeowners determine which energy-saving solutions are best suited for their homes and help them reduce their carbon footprint along the way—a win-win situation for customers and the environment.

Are you in smart home automation services?

Get an in-depth view of how Ambee's environmental and climate data can be utilized in your smart home devices and help your customers live a safer life.

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