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Smart apartment case study


Located in Melbourne CBD, this 2-bedroom 2-bathroom apartment is home to a young professional couple. Since living in an apartment building, the couple would like the installation to be as least disruptive as possible. We retained existing fitting with no addition cabling wiring.

The couple would  also like the system to take care of lighting, security and entertainment rather than having individual system for each, and the control interface to be centralised in one app.

 

Z-Wave System

The system is based on Fibaro platform, with Fibaro Home Center 2 as the controller. It is one of the most advanced home automation controllers in the market and capable of LUA programming language, which is commonly used to create more complex control scenes.

For example, the system will be programmed to look for family members’ phones on the WIFI network to determine if anyone is home. When everyone is away, Home Center 2 will automatically enable “I’m out” scene.

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Lighting control


Lighting is the main aspect of the home that the couple would like to be intelligently automated, as well as to be able to control remotely. Dimmers and relays are all wireless modules installed behind light switches. Each module controls a full light circuit, thus we didn’t have to change out any light bulb.


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Living area

The main smart home feature in this home is in the open-plan kitchen/dining/living area. There you’ll find the heart of the home, where the couple works, entertains and carries out everyday activities.

Three Fibaro dimmers are installed to offer variations of lighting mode combination to suit different function, aesthetic and ambiance depending on the occasion.

When entertaining guests, the couple can set the kitchen light level to brightest and dim the dining and lounge area to set the mood. Guests are amazed at how easily the system can be controlled and how different lights can be combined to create so many different atmospheres.

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Living area

The main smart home feature in this home is in the open-plan kitchen/dining/living area, which, despite the apartment being 17 years old, is unusually modern. There you’ll find the heart of the home, where the couple works, entertains and carries out everyday activities.

Three Fibaro dimmers are installed to offer variations of lighting mode combination to suit different function, aesthetic and ambiance depending on the occasion.

When entertaining guests, the couple can set the kitchen light level to brightest and dim the dining and lounge area to set the mood. Guests are amazed at how easily the system can be controlled and how different lights can be combined to create so many different atmospheres.

 
 
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Master bedroom

The couple is especially pleased with master bedroom and wardrobe lighting control, which is achieved via two Fibaro single switches. They don’t have to argue over who’ll get out of bed to turn off the lights anymore.

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Wardrobes

One motion sensor is placed on the ceiling over the wardrobe area to turn lights on every time someone walks there and automatically off in 2 minutes to save energy. This option cost a lot less than installing lights and sensor inside every wardrobe.

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Heaters

Two heaters are plugged into two Aeotec Smart Switch 6. This is the simplest way to turn any appliance into smart device. Heaters can be turned on from phones so the couple come back to a warm and welcoming home after a long busy day.

 

Voice control

The simplest way to control the system is via voice control; it flattens tech interaction into one, familiar action: speaking. This means that visiting family doesn’t need to have anything installed on their phones to control the apartment.

One Google Home is placed in the kitchen, and one Amazon Echo Dot is placed in the master bedroom. They also double as channels to cast music for multi-room audio.

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Custom app & interface


Another way to let guests interact with the home is via the iPad in the kitchen/dining area, which acts as the main control panel for the whole apartment.

Custom user interface is built for the iPad, with home automation, security and entertainment all integrated into one app. Main page shows 4 pre-programmed scenes, control of 6 favourite devices, and summary of the system such as energy usage, how many lights are on, current temperature.



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4 custom scenes are programmed as followed

 

Custom scenes

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Back home

  • Kitchen lights, dining lights, and living area heater are turned on.

  • Relaxing, welcoming atmosphere after a busy day.

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I’m out

  • All lights and heaters are turned off.

  • Security system is armed.

  • No more arduous security setting routine or patrolling the house for lights left on.

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Morning

  • Kitchen light is turned on to 40% brightness.

  • Living area heater and TV are turned on.

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Sleep

  • All lights and living area heater are turned off.

  • Bedroom heater is turned on.

  • Security system is armed.

 
 

Security


One Aeotec Multisensor 6 placed on the ceiling above the front door area serves both home automation and security purposes. If everyone is away and the sensor detects suspicious motion, it set off the siren on the iPad and send notification to the couple’s phones. Video footage can be viewed, and then a passcode has to be entered by any family member on any device to deactivate the siren if it turns out to be false alarm.

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One HikVision 6MP 2.8mm dome camera, which is installed on the bookcase as we could not cut hole in the ceiling, points at the main door and also covers kitchen and dining area.

 
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One HikVision WiFi cube camera, also placed on the same bookcase under the dome camera, points the other way at the balcony sliding doors and covers the lounge area. Wifi camera has the flexibility to be moved around as needed, as long as there is a power point to plug in.

 
 

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Entertainment


Self-proclaimed bedroom DJ, the gentleman is a music enthusiast and already owes  a professional Pioneer DJ deck. Thus to save cost and simplify the setup, we use his DJ deck as the equaliser.

Muilti-room audio is handled by Google Audio Cast. All Google Cast enabled devices are set up into speaker groups within the Google Home app. This free function provided by Google is the best way at getting music around the home. And because Spotify is already optimised to work with Google, it cannot be any easier.

 

 

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Wifi enhancement


As the couple lives in an apartment building, it’s impossible to get 5G fixed wireless broadband. We optimise their NBN connection to enterprise standard using Ubiquiti Unifi products

 
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UniFi nanoHD

UniFi nanoHD is the smallest access point from Ubiquiti. It extends Wifi range and eliminates dead spots in the apartment.

 

USG

USG is short for UniFi Security Gateway. It provides direct VPN service when away from home and advanced firewall to keep people out.

 
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Unifi Switch 8-60W

land backbone providing direct connection to all essential equipment and powering the security camera

 

Unifi Cloud Key

The brain behind the wifi, the cloud key runs a local instance for Unifi controlling the system and provides the user with the best possible connection.