Smart Home: Control and monitoring system using smartphone

The Internet of Things can be said to connect today’s devices including sensors, a 12 volt linear actuator, internet televisions, smartphones among others to the internet. Devices are linked together intelligently enabling communication between things and other things, and between things and people. Connectivity for anything, by anyone, at any given time, from anywhere can be made, and an expectation that the connections will make an extension an advanced dynamic network of IoT. Wide development space and a new concept for smart homes can be created using IoT technology to improve the quality of life; provide comfort and intelligence.

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This article discusses a flexible and low-cost home control and monitoring system using an Android based smartphone. The connection is accessed through an embedded micro-web server with IP connectivity for controlling and accessing devices remotely using the phone. As an interoperable application layer, the RESTful based web service has been utilized. Smart homes are homes where technology has been introduced into the home’s environment to provide comfort, security, energy efficiency and convenience to the homeowners. Utilization of wireless technologies supporting various forms of sensing control, and remote data transfer such as cellular networks, RFID, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth has been done to ensure some levels of intelligence at homes. Bluetooth based home automation have been done using Android phones but without internet controllability. A smartphone using built-in Bluetooth connectivity controls and accesses the Bluetooth sub-controller that has a physical connection to all devices. Home gateway use has also been attempted by researchers to provide remote access and network interoperability to control the devices. Recently to remotely access smart homes, researchers have presented the use of Representational state transfer(REST), and Simple object access protocol(SOAP), as an interoperable access layer.

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The above pose some challenges such as functionality and flexibility. To address this issue, a novel, flexible, low cost and standalone smart home control and monitoring system was designed and implemented using RESTful based web services. The system consists of an Android-based smartphone, an Arduino Ethernet-based micro web-server, and hardware interface modules. To accommodate different application scenarios with minimum redesign and coding, the architecture presented can be customized in different ways. That is, a new thread dedicated to a newly created device is automatically created in the smartphone app for every new device added to the micro web-server. The architecture is divided into three layers: the remote environment, the home environment, and the home gateway.

The software of the proposed home automation system is divided into two, microcontroller firmware and the server application software. The application server software is an implementation
library of a micro web-server using the Ethernet shield running on Arduino Uno. Arduino has been used to implement successful communication with the Home Gateway and remote user,
actuator/sensor control stage, and configuration stage layers. The smartphone app for the home control and monitoring system provide some user functionality including device control, managing schedule, device monitoring, and remote connection to the home gateway.

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In this article, using an Android-based smartphone, a novel architecture for flexible and low-cost smart home control and monitoring system is proposed and implemented. So long as an Android-based smartphone has a built-in support for Wi-Fi, it can be used to control and access devices at home. If there is no Wi-Fi connection, mobile cellular networks, for example, 4G and 3G are used for system access.

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Derrick Miyao is a former freelance writer of AndroidGuys. These words are his own and do not reflect those of AndroidGuys as a whole.
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