SmartHome review

(14:49 | 22-01-2015)

In the previous article "Bkav SmartHome in your hand", we give reader the preliminary comments about Bkav SmartHome system at Green Valley of Phu My Hung (Ho Chi Minh City). In this article, we continue to send you the details review about Bkav SmartHome system such as design, features, usage, basic settings etc. and especially the ability to learn user's habits smartly and receive voice commands.

http://www.smarthome.com.vn/documents/10192/151513/danhgia1_resize.jpg?t=1419310305091

Bkav SmartHome

Hardware design

Smart home is not only a house, but also includes hardware such as set of control, broadcast, switches, sensors and control software. Bkav SmartHome is no exception.

SmartHome control panels are made from unibody aluminum and protected outside by toughened Gorilla Glass. It seems as marketing but only when using Bkav SmartHome, users can feel that the manufacturer does not exaggerate about it.

"Flat" is the first feeling for control panels of Bkav SmartHome system. The entire front surface of the center control panel is touch buttons system. Slide fingers across the control panel mounted on the wall to feel the smooth like touching a small mirror. This feeling does not have in other home automation devices using physical buttons. The beveling edges are sharpened smoothly; sides of the control panel are also cut and connected very sophisticated, without any gaps or minor errors. This proves that the product machining processes are made very meticulously and carefully.

http://www.smarthome.com.vn/documents/10192/151513/danhgia2_resize.jpg?t=1419310325549

SmartHome control panel owns beautiful and luxurious design

For the back of the control panel, "unibody" design is felt more clearly. There is no trace of connection between the screen and the surrounding aluminum frame. Bkav SmartHome control panel owns a breakthrough and seamless body, breaks the current opinion about common control devices. The front cover from buttons to others parts can be removed by only removing screws.

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The front cover is fastened to the frame, not removable

The high aesthetics of the product is in the front design. The system touch buttons with icons are designed simply, made "flat" but still display images of appliances in the house such as the ceiling lights, wall lights, chandeliers, ventilators etc. that makes friendly and easy to use. White control and black background buttons are very prominent and easy to recognize when seeing from afar.

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Buttons are designed logically and usefully

Why is the manufacturer very hard to make luxurious products while these efforts have not been fully recognized? With many people, they are just control panels but with Bkav, it is different. Bkav and its design team spent a lot of time and their efforts to research a process that is the most complicated and ambitious than ever.

According to Bkav's representative, hewing, sharpening, assembling and finishing, material handling and process of outsourcing could have taken the entire life of Bkav SmartHome's employees. The manufacture believes that these extraordinary efforts are the only way to make products with high-end quality, luxury, help them bring "high class" for the house.

SmartHome control driver

Bkav declares that Bkav SmartHome is the first smart home solution in the world using 3D control interface that describes actual images of the house. And it is very interesting when all appliances in the house such as television, air conditioner, ceiling lights, bedside lamps etc. are all simulated on 3D interface very detailed. The sophistication of SmartHome interface comes from movement images that are very "smooth" and used to change display modes.

SmartHome is the rare solution using 3D control interface

The software manages SmartHome operating very smartly because users can interact directly with the house on 3D graphic interface. The actual mode (on/off) of each electric appliance is updated and displayed clearly on the touch screen by the system. Thus, user can control the whole house such as television, curtains, air conditioners etc from anywhere. The 3D design is interactive. It means that if I touch the light in 3D design, the actual light shall turn on/off.

Besides 3D interface, control buttons are also designed scientifically and easy to use. In the various times such as morning, afternoon or evening and which the function is used the most commonly, buttons  suitable for scenarios will display on the screen. For example, in the morning its touch screen only displays 4 buttons of "Morning", "Wake up", "Doing morning exercise", "Get out of house". By tapping "Do morning exercise", the exercise machine starts, curtains opens, ventilator starts up, music starts playing, the water heater operates in 30 minutes etc.

SmartHome provides many selections for contextual scenarios

Bkav SmartHome can operate based on the available scenarios. For example: at certain time, lighting devices will automatically turn on, or when selecting the scenario of Movies, the lighting system such as track lights, picture lights etc. will automatically adjust to decrease the lighting, curtains closed and television turned on, the air conditioner system adjusted like a cinema. When greeting guest, users can choose the welcome mode: all lamps lit up and curtains opened etc.

Additionally, Bkav SmartHome manufacturer allows users selecting which language will be displayed on the user interface, regardless it is Vietnamese, English or French etc. Due to 3D interface is designed clearly, easily to find and function buttons just display what is necessary subject to contexts, all members in the family, from kids  to the elderly can also use it.

Voice  Control

Since Siri "virtual assistant" debut on iPhone4s, the voice control function has been more interested and many tools to perform this function are launched: Google Now for Android, Cortana for Windows Phone etc. However, according to VnReview's research, up to now there is not any smart home solution in the world applying successfully the voice control function, not mention to Vietnamese support.

In this situation, Bkav is the pioneer in researching a systematic way in the field of processing voice by Vietnamese and launched "virtual assistant" for SmartHome.

For the first time, SmartHome virtual assistant surprised users with interactions by Vietnamese so naturally, helps communicating with the system more friendly. It is comfortable when using your own voice to give command and the system responses to it

With "female" virtual assistant, users can directly give command to SmartHome system without using the software or control panel and she will response it. "Give command" to SmartHome system is also very simple and easy: read the command according the syntax "Home – command sentence", SmartHome will perform this request. For example: to watch a movie, just say "Home – Movie", the virtual assistant will answer, "SmartHome switched to Movie mode" or to open the door to greeting guests, say "Home – Open door" and immediately SmartHome will response this command.

The virtual assistant helps owners to master SmartHome fully

Virtual assistant software using Vietnamese on Bkav SmartHome system comes from the idea similar to the voice control drivers of other famous firms in the world such as Siri, Google Now, Cortana etc. However, SmartHome virtual assistants also impressed by the ability to receive commands from all natural languages in the world.

It seems easy, but in fact, the manufacturer took a lot of time and efforts so that this application operates exactly. Firstly, voice recognition software must be written well. After training SmartHome to learn key words, the system will automatically analyze command sentences and identify the common characteristics of voice. Training SmartHome easily: it takes only some minutes so that the system learns 10 indispensable command sentences because Bkav only applies short command sentences for SmartHome system. Key words such as Go sleep, Welcome, Movies etc. are very simple, easy to learn and enough for daily demands of owners.

At present, SmartHome only performs the available commands, but in the future, users can talk with the virtual assistant as a friend. She can understand whatever you said and your intention. Users just call "Home" to talk with SmartHome.

"Self" understand and learn user's habbits

When refer to "SmartHome ", users seem imaging to a house with automatic devices under pre-installed settings and the ability to control remotely. However, a greater value of SmartHome brings that appliances can be connected to each other, "understand" and interact well with users' habit. To verify how "smart" Bkav SmartHome is, there are many complex adjustments but often happen in everyday life.

For example, a normal morning of Bkav SmartHome includes scenarios: turn on lights, automatically pull curtains up and turn on television with "Good morning" program etc. If users want to exercise, they can give the Exercise scenario into the Morning context.  After 3 days repeat this work, the system will automatically select and display Exercise scenario into the Morning context to active easier.

Similarly, users often watch movies in the evening before sleeping. After a few times activating Movie scenario, the system will set the icon of this scenario in the first choice in Evening context. Users will not have to find control demands for correlative contexts. SmartHome "learns" these operations and automatically applies them according to users' habits.

http://www.smarthome.com.vn/documents/10192/151513/danhgia8_resize.jpg?t=1419310474770

SmartHome automatically learns and understands users' habits

Besides auto-selecting to display control scenarios as mentioned above, SmartHome software is designed flexibly thanks to knowing how to "imitate" and change scenarios based on demands, habits and hobbies of users. For example, the air conditioner temperature is set to 25oC at 10.00 p.m. At midnight, it is colder so users increase the temperature to 26oC. In the early morning, they continue to increase the temperature to 27-28o C, the system itself will automatically learn if the habit is repeated 2-3 times

Subject to demands of each household to adjust temperature and time to sleep in different modes, however, parents will not be worried about whether their children being cold at night and also go to their children's room to adjust the temperature because SmartHome performs these work after several times learning habits

Many people wonder why Bkav System is so smart. According to Bkav representative, it is due to the philosophy approaching Smart Home from the software with SmartHome Operating system developed by Bkav. According to Bkav's opinion, hardware is only in charge of the function to transfer commands, and common automatic functions, SmartHome OS is in charge of receiving commands and then processes it, makes the system smartly. This creativity makes the difference and "high class" between Bkav and other competitors' solutions

Before Bkav, there are many famous firms such as Siemens (Germany), Schneider (France) attending to Home automation's field. However, starting as hardware manufacture firms, so home automation has the biggest limitation, which cannot "understand" owners' intention. Automatic home is the starting point that Bkav made while Google, Samsung and Apple is spouting to develop in order to overcome these disadvantages mentioned above.  While Google's smart home is under single devices, Samsung system can control under simple scenarios and the self-contained smart home system into its equipment or Apple HomeKit is still a software etc. Bkav SmartHome has been a complete smart home system, connects all devices in the house, not only controls based on scenarios but also designs smart contextual scenarios based on owner's habits, time and previous commands, controls visual via 3D interface. Bkav determined the approaching from the software right after attending in the field of smart home 10 years ago.

Conclusion

According to the evaluation criteria by Gartner recently, most of smart home systems currently in the world belongs to Home Automation group. The highest level of smart home is Connected Home. This is the smart home generation that Gartner predicts to be popular in 2017.

In recent years, technology giants like Microsoft, Apple, Google, Samsung, etc. are urgently seeking to gain the big "cake of market" in the smart home market predicted by ABI Research of which scale is over 40 billion USD in 2020.  So Google acquired Nest (the manufacturer of smart temperature control and smog sensor), Samsung launched the self-contained smart home system into its equipment or recently Apple introduced HomeKit – the smart home application platform.

After experiences and researches about smart home, it is amazing to know that SmartHome has been a complete smart home system – Connected Home, connects all devices in the house, not only controls based on scenarios but also design smart contextual scenarios based on owner's habits, time and previous commands. That means Bkav SmartHome appears before Gartner's prediction and goes a step ahead technology "giants" in the world about smart home. In another way, Bkav SmartHome can be the leader in the technology trend.

If anyone has not believed or wondered about it, please read the next article "Analyzing Bkav SmartHome".

Click here to view more images of SmartHome's devices.

VnReview

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