Are you among the growing numbers of homeowners turning to smart home technology to make your property safer and more efficient? If so, you know that the number of devices that can be made smart seems to be growing by the year. Everything from your home theater system to your window shades can be hooked to a smart home system.
If you’ve ever wanted to know how to make a smart home smarter, here’s a word for you: geofencing. It is a technology that not a lot of people are familiar with. Nonetheless, it is also a technology that could revolutionize your understanding of smart home capabilities.
Geofencing can be combined with your regular device programming to make better use of things like smart lighting and smart door locks. With the right programming, you can use geofencing to your advantage in a whole host of different ways. This post will explore some of them. But first, an explanation of geofencing itself.
Your Own Virtual Fence
Geofencing is a location-based technology that allows you to trigger certain events based on your location. It takes advantage of GPS, wi-fi, or RFID signals for operational functionality. For the purposes of connecting geofencing to your home security system, GPS would be the preferred trigger technology.
Making geofencing work requires a companion app on your smartphone. You would use the app to create a virtual fence around your property. Then you could program the app to trigger certain events when you enter or leave this virtual fenced area.
Your system knows what to do by tracking your location via your smartphone. The system will monitor your location throughout the day. When you leave the geofencing area, certain actions will be triggered. When you enter the zone again, other actions will initiate.
Geofencing has been promoted for a number of years as a way for parents to make sure teen drivers don’t go where they are not supposed to go. Marketers have used it inside retail outlets to help proprietors better understand shopping habits. Geofencing is even a technology used to prevent shoplifting. It is all quite fascinating.
Unlock Your Front Door
So let’s get to the practical applications of geofencing in terms of smart home features. We will start by discussing smart door locks deployed as part of a home automation system. If you have a smart lock in your front door, you know how convenient it is to be able to leave your home without having to worry about your keys. You know you can let out-of-town guests into the house just by giving them a digital code.
Vivint Smart Home says you can also activate and deactivate smart door locks by tying the system to geofencing. Let us say you set up a fence active within 200 yards of your home. Then you set up a rule that dictates your front door be unlocked whenever you enter your fenced area
Now you don’t have to fumble for your keys or even pull out your cell phone to open the door. The lock will instantly deactivate once you enter the geofencing area. As soon as your car is within 200 yards of your driveway, the front door will automatically unlock. You can pull in, grab your bags, and get in the door in a breeze.
The opposite is also true. Let’s say you leave home and forget to lock the door behind you. No worries. As soon as your car leaves the 200-yard perimeter, the system will initiate a command to lock the door. Tying the front door to geofencing means never having to worry that you left the door unlocked.
Adjusting the Lighting
The same system that can lock and unlock your door can be utilized to control smart lighting. Set up your system so that certain lights in the house turn on as you approach. Set it up so that every light in the house automatically shuts off when you leave. The possibilities are nearly limitless.
Utilizing geofencing means never having to return home to a dark house. It means never leaving your home for an extended amount of time while leaving all the lights on. Your smart home system takes care of everything for you based on your location.
By the way, you can do the same thing with your thermostat. Virtually any smart device in your home can be linked to geofencing with a set of rules to be initiated as you leave and enter the geofencing perimeter.
Programming and Overriding
If you are worried that geofencing could take over your smart home system, don’t be. Smart home systems can always be programmed and overridden as necessary. And by the way, that’s true for any smart home feature. You can always override automated programming to account for changing circumstances.
You could also disable geofencing if push came to shove. It is not like you have to keep it running all the time. If you are going to be driving through the neighborhood but you don’t want to stop at home, you can always turn off geofencing on your phone so that normal rules aren’t followed.
Another Way to Make Smart Smarter
Home automation and smart home technologies have really come a long way in the last decade. We have seen brilliant minds come up with some really cool stuff. As for geofencing, it is not all that new. But it’s finally being utilized by smart home equipment designers to make what is already smart even smarter.
If you already have smart home devices in your house, you can make your entire system even smarter by deploying geofencing. Be sure to check with your equipment provider or smart home vendor for details on how to make the best use of geofencing with your system. Capabilities will vary from one system to the next.
If you haven’t yet embraced the smart home concept, what’s stopping you? Combining smart devices with geofencing, home security, and smart speakers will revolutionize how you interact with your home.