Connect with us

Home Improvement

A Comparative Analysis of Smart Home Automation Technologies in the UAE

Published

on

The Smart Home Automation industry in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been growing at a rapid pace since its dawn over the last several years. The market is becoming more and more aware of the capabilities of having a complete automation system whether at the scale of individual residences, palaces, real estate developments, and hotels. Many developments in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have already been completed with a pre-installed automation system. Many developments in areas like Victory Heights, Arabian Ranches, Sports City, and Reem Island have also been built with infrastructure to support such technologies in the future.

In basic form, automation includes systems that control Lighting, Appliances, HVAC, Curtains and Multimedia. The market in the UAE has not only begun to realize the benefits in terms of comfort, security, and luxury. But also in terms of energy saving and increasing property value, thus all these realizations will continue to lead to a booming market in the UAE.

As automation is somewhat of a new technology in the mainstream market, one must be aware of the countless number of underlying technologies that connect and allow for the communication between a user and the Light Dimming Systems or Air Conditioning Systems. On the surface, these technologies may seem to lead to the same functionality, but in the back-end, they are different in potentially catastrophic ways. This leads us to the reason why we started composing this article, that is, to shed light onto the pros and cons of the different technologies (regardless of product or vendor) which are available in the UAE market today.

Any automation system is composed of 2 high-level components, the controller, and the modules. The modules include light dimmers, relay switches, thermostats, motorized curtain control systems, distributed speakers..etc. which are to be controlled by the home owner. The controller, is the heart of the system from which signals are sent to “Dim the lights” or “turn on the air conditioning”. The method of communication between the controller and the modules are the Automation Communication Technology which we wish to address in this article. The method of communication can either be through wires or wireless and are usually in line with certain protocols or standards of communication. This article will explore and compare KNX, X10, Zigbee, En-Ocean, and Z-wave.

The criteria for comparison which we will explore are the following:

  1. Reliability of Communication: How reliable is the communication between the Controller and the Modules? When a message is sent to a module, the system must ensure the message’s arrival and confirmation of receipt. Scoring well in this criteria is very important to ensure that even under circumstances of wired or wireless interference messages are resent until confirmed by the receiving module. Not all protocols comply with this requirement.

  2. Security of Communication: The protocol must guarantee that a 3rd party cannot infiltrate an existing system and operate it with unauthorized access. The results of a hacker entering a parking lot of a hotel and turning all its lights off is disastrous.

  3. Price

  4. Features and Capabilities: It is important that automation technologies go beyond just controlling individual modules and have the capability to integrate with other systems most typically entertainment since that is an area of high usage of any home owner. Example: Easy Integration with Multi-room Music Systems, Multi-room multimedia distribution systems (Movies, Videos, Pictures, Music)…etc.

  5. Investment Protection: It is important to make sure that installed Controller or Modules can be easily replaced in the future. Consider having installed a system that has some components fail after 5 years, and at the same time, the company which installed it became bankrupt. The home owner would be left with no choice but to completely revamp the entire electrical system in the residence which would cost more in time, labor, and equipment that what was originally paid for the automation system. Having a system that is standardized means that any other company can support it or replace certain parts with different products, maybe from different vendors, in order to ensure continued operation.

  6. Interoperability: This criteria refers to the capability of the Controller to speak to multiple Modules from different manufacturers. This will ensure that a system is made up with Lighting, HVAC, Curtains, Appliances, and Multimedia Control Modules are purchased from different manufacturers which are the best or most specialized in those fields. This ensures that a system has the best-in class Modules for each particular purpose. It is not logical that the best manufacturer of light dimmers is also the best manufacturer of curtain control systems, or audio systems. Some communication protocols are closed or proprietary, thus forcing the customer to purchase everything from a single manufacturer. This criteria also overlaps with the Investment Protection Criteria since having an interoperable system will give future flexibility to easily replace Modules even if the company which installed them has closed down.

The remainder of this document will address each communication technology based on the above criteria.

KNX

KNX is an international standard of communication typically installed in wired twisted pair environments. KNX was designed in 1990 and was made as a very robust protocol to be used in industrial automation applications. The protocols reliability cannot be questioned since it implements many OSI communication layers and is quite complex. KNX is also controlled by the KNX association and any company usually spends thousands of dirhams on their employees to go through training in order to understand the inner workings of the system. KNX is a complex protocol by nature, and was designed long before the “smart home” concept was born, thus the hardware that has the capability to support the complexity of KNX is expensive not only to engineer, but also to manufacture and thus the hopes for this technology to become cheaper than its current alternatives is futile.

KNX has and is a popular choice for hotels since 2006 and has been deployed in many developments such as the Shangri-la in Dubai, Rotana Hotels in the Marina, Fairmont, Movenpick to name a few. KNX is also being specified by many real estate consultants for major developments in the Abu Dhabi Reem Island and Yas Island.

  1. Reliability of Communication: Yes

  2. Security of Communication: Yes

  3. Price: No

  4. Features and Capabilities: No. KNX has been more focused at the simple facility of automation and typically fits in hotel environments where customization and multimedia integration is not required.

  5. Investment Protection: Yes

  6. Interoperability: Yes

X10

X10 is an international open standard developed in 1975 by Pico Electronics of Scotland, in order to allow remote control of home devices and appliances. It primarily uses the 220Vpower line wiring for sending messages between the Controller and the Modules (Lighting, HVAC…etc).

X10 has only receyved some popularity many years ago when automation technology started being introduced in the UAE. And was typically installed in small villa project then was slowly discontinued due to its reliability issues.

  1. Reliability of Communication: No. Since it is prone to interference from multiple sources like transformers, motors typically found in TVs, washing machines, fans…etc. Also, messages from Controller to Modules are never acknowledged so there is no 2-way communication.

  2. Security of Communication: No. If a 3rd party can tap into the powerline of a house, messages can easily be sent to control whatever the 3rd party wishes.

  3. Price: Yes

  4. Features and Capabilities: Yes. This technology can easily be integrated into PC based systems and many options are available to provide feature rich capabilities for residential applications.

  5. Investment Protection: Yes

  6. Interoperability: Yes

Zigbee

ZigBee is an open wireless network communication protocol based on the IEEE specification IEEE 802.15.4, which enables the Controller to communicate with its Modules via Radio Frequency. The standard is a development of the ZigBee Alliance, which was founded in the end of 2002. It is an industry alliance of more than 230 enterprises who take up the worldwide development of this technology. The first ZigBee products came on the market in the beginning of 2005. Because Zigbee standardises only the lower protocol layers (radio layer), the different manufacturers have defined their own higher software layers. As a result ZigBee devices of different manufacturers are not compatible with each other.

  1. Reliability of Communication: Yes. A wireless mesh network is created and ensures multiple path routing to every module which translates to long reach, and high reliability in case of interference or even in case of in-path device failure.

  2. Security of Communication: No. Zigbee uses weak hashing algorithms and has been researched to be penetrable. Penetration is not easy but software tools such as “Killerbee” exist and can allow any person with little Linux and scripting experience to hack into an existing Zigbee network.

  3. Price: No

  4. Features and Capabilities: Yes

  5. Investment Protection: Yes

  6. Interoperability: No

En-Ocean

EnOcean is a wireless radio frequency based, energy harvesting technology used primarily in building automation systems. It is not set out for international, European or national standardization; however, EnOcean GmbH is offering its technology and licenses for the patented features under license within the EnOcean Alliance framework. The concept was developed to enable batteryless sensors and switches for building automation. Which is questionable in terms of energy saving because existing alternatives can consume as little as 500W per 60 storey tower in automation devices.

EnOcean based technologies have been installed in some big projects such as the Abu Dhabi Central Market, the Dubai Financial Center…etc.

  1. Reliability of Communication: No, En-Ocean does not offer 2-way communication between the Controller and its Modules. Also the Controller is at a star network with the Modules and there is no wireless meshing, this one-to-one signal mapping can drastically fail in times of high interference.

  2. Security of Communication: Yes

  3. Price: No, En-Ocean prices are more aligned with KNX.

  4. Features and Capabilities: No. Supported but not yet seen in the market.

  5. Investment Protection: Yes

  6. Interoperability: Yes

Z-wave

Among all the above protocols, Z-wave ranks the best so far. The strength of Z-wave lies in the big number of different products from different manufacturers as well as the very robust, 2-way, meshed, and secured wireless communication. Z-wave chips also consume a 10mW at peak and are low cost compared to all other alternatives. Why? because Z-wave has been originally designed for residential applications.

Z-wave is viewed as the next generation of Smart Home Technology and product lines have started to emerge from big players such as Honeywell and Schneider Electric. This technology is not only feature full, reliable and secure, but will be offered at competitive prices and investment protection for projects of any size starting with individual villas all the way to large real estate towers. As of today, Z-wave has been deployed in many villas in the UAE at an individual scale. Z-wave is also starting to make its way through many of the large tenders for developments throughout the Emirates.

  1. Reliability of Communication: Yes

  2. Security of Communication: Yes

  3. Price: Yes

  4. Features and Capabilities: Yes

  5. Investment Protection: Yes

  6. Interoperability: Yes

Home Improvement

Beautiful Wooden Gift Ideas 2022

Published

on

Beautiful Wooden Gift Ideas 2022
https://unsplash.com/photos/HWO6pm-OcMM

One of the best gifts to get someone is a gift that can remain on display for years to come, like a well-built wooden present. But exactly which types of ideas will make the right impact on your loved one? 

If you’re trying to show your love and appreciation for someone else, here are a few beautiful wooden gift ideas worth adding to your shopping list. 

Celebrate and Memorialize With Personalized Signs

There’s always something to celebrate in your loved ones’ lives. In some cases, this may be an achievement like graduating college, moving to a new home to start a family, or even getting the job of their dreams. Of course, there are also difficult occasions that we may wish to memorialize and work through collectively, such as the passing of a loved one or a pet in the family. 

Hardwood signs fit well into almost any space and allow you to forever capture these moments that are important in our lives. Personalized hardwood gifts like these can easily be hung or displayed proudly on a shelf as a token of your appreciation for that person and all that they represent to you. Every time they look at their gift, they’ll think fondly of both what it represents and the person who gave it to them!

Capture Moments Forever With Stunning Picture Frames

Immortalizing your favorite moments with your loved ones framed perfectly in your favorite picture frames can be a great way to grow your connection with those closest to you. Whether you’re a fan of natural wood products or recycled wood products (a better option for those who are eco-friendly in your family or friend group), there are plenty of great products out there designed for any space. 

Decorations and Ornaments

Decoration

Image URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/AJVT6oienHs

Small wooden crafts are great gifts to get those who want to spruce up their space and have something

sentimental around that they can cherish. For example, if their indoor plants are looking a bit bare, wooden ornaments that can hold a photo or feature an important date can be a great present to give them that they can use year after year. 

Furniture and Decorations

If you’re looking for something that can be used throughout the year instead, there are tons of wooden items that will be greatly appreciated. These include children’s toys or benches, small personalized wooden coasters or trays, or even items they can hang around the house like clocks.

If your budget is a bit higher, you may want to invest in some nice furniture or extravagant pieces like a Grandfather clock that they’ve been looking to buy for themselves. Items don’t have to be expensive to be thoughtful, but these gifts are sure to be greatly appreciated and taken care of for years to come. Put simply, the only limit to what type of decorations and trinkets you can get for your loved one is your imagination! 

Wood Is Timeless and Sturdy, Just Like Your Love!

Finding great presents that are thoughtful, functional, and well-built can feel like a difficult feat. However, wooden gifts meet all of these requirements, giving your loved ones something that they can enjoy and display for years to come. That being said, there are so many great ideas out there that it can be hard to sift through all of the wonderful suggestions and find something that pertains to your relationship with family, friends, or your partner. 

If you’re ready to give those closest to you a gift that represents your love and dedication, use some of the beautiful wooden gift ideas above as inspiration to build your shopping list. No matter what type of gift you decide to give them, the thought and quality of your present is sure to put a smile on their face!

Continue Reading

Home Improvement

The Joys of Living in Luxury Apartments

Published

on

Texas developer pays $15M for site of planned apartments in Denver’s Golden Triangle neighborhood

You’re tired of living in your small, boring, and white-walled apartment, but you don’t want to purchase a home that requires a lot of work. You’ve heard of luxury apartments and their amazing features. So, are they everything they say they are? Look at these reasons you need to choose a luxury apartment for your next home.

9 Reasons Why You Need to Upgrade Your Home

  1. You’re Always in a Prime Location

Luxury apartments are usually in the heart of booming businesses or swanky suburbs and offer a lot of walkability. Many times you can rent a luxury apartment next to parks or trails, while also being nearby your citi’s hottest shopping and entertainment districts. 

Big Bonus: Most luxury apartments have 24-mini markets and complimentary coffee bars, so you can stay home when you really want to. 

  1. Your Pets are Treated With Prestige

There are pet-friendly apartments, and then there are luxury apartments where your pet is considered a resident. For instance, you won’t find private bark parks or paw spas in basic apartment complexes. 

Big Bonus: Leasing teams in luxury apartments put residents first, which is why most have treats and bandanas waiting for your dog when you’re done spending quality time using their pet-friendly amenities.

  1. A Great Place for Work and Play

If you’re like most people, you need to work at some point. With today’s ever increasing remote work, luxury apartments are the best place to earn your paycheck from home. Not only do floor plans provide ample space for a home office, they also have community features like multipurpose meeting rooms for business and entertaining.

Big Bonus: The floor plans in luxury apartments are thoughtfully designed and offer uniquely elegant features. For example, you might find pop-out desks, under-counter beverage coolers, and smart home features.

  1. There’s Nothing Like Summer in Luxury Apartments

Summer amenities are definitely something to behold when you live in downtown apartments or apartments nestled in the suburbs. That’s because they always have stunning and breathtaking pools. Spend your time soaking up the sun in submerged loungers on a rooftop pool with stunning views.

Big Bonus: Luxury apartments don’t stop at the pool. They often feature extravagant private cabanas, hot tubs, summer kitchens, and outdoor televisions.

  1. You Definitely Won’t Need a Gym Membership

The fitness facilities in luxury apartments are top-of-the-line, and include many pieces of equipment you wouldn’t find in basic apartment complex gyms, like rowing machines and cycle studios. Many luxury apartments also offer a separate space for yoga and other group fitness classes.

Big Bonus: Luxury apartments often have outdoor fitness areas, too. You might rent apartments that feature golf courses, pickleball and tennis courts, or even supply community bicycles so you can explore your neighborhood with ease.

  1. They Go Above and Beyond With Entertainment

When you live in regular apartments, you might get a clubhouse with comfortable seating. However, the entertainment and community spaces in luxury apartments have entertainment features that make you feel you live in a resort. You’ll find things like media lounges and pool tables to fill your free time.

Big Bonus: Most luxury apartment properties have monthly resident events where you can sip on craft cocktails, play games, and get to know your neighbors.

  1. You Won’t Find a Better Way to Relax

You’ve worked the day away, tackled your fitness routine, and now it’s time to relax. Thankfully, luxury apartments have your back, literally. Most luxe properties have private day spas and massage rooms for you to reserve at your convenience. 

Big Bonus: You get a golden glow for free in your luxury apartment complex, because many have tanning beds. Some super luxe properties even offer spray tans, so you can be bronzed for summer.

  1. Don’t Worry About a Hotel Room for Your Guests

One of the worst parts about having friends and family in town to visit is that they have to stay in a hotel. When you rent a luxury apartment, you’ll most likely have a guest suite available for your loved ones. That way, you can spend more time together and less time traveling back and forth.

Big Bonus: How many times have you arrived at your basic apartment complex only to have zero parking available? Most luxury apartment complexes offer reserved and covered parking for your vehicle.

  1. Your Valuables Are Always Secure

Luxury apartments use state-of-the-art security equipment to keep you and your things safe. This means you can find cameras monitoring every inch of the property and smart locks to ensure only residents have access to your building.

Big Bonus: Luxury apartments realize that meal delivery services are a great way to get a fresh and fast meal. That’s why many offer cold storage package rooms, so you don’t have to worry about your food spoiling while you’re away.

Are Luxury Apartments Worth It?

Absolutely! If you’re a person looking for a low-maintenance lifestyle and incredible perks, then you won’t find a better home than a luxury apartment, because they have the space and features to facilitate a carefree life. The only choice you need to make is which property has the amenities you need to live your best life! 

Continue Reading

Home Improvement

Tips for Buying BBQ Covers and Maintaining Them for BBQ Season

Published

on

teak 172642 1920

BBQs are a great way to cook food in your backyard. Investing in BBQ covers will help keep them clean for the season.

1) BBQ Grill Covers

Protect BBQ grills from dust, sunlight, and other environmental elements. If you have a BBQ cover, make sure it is large enough to fit over your BBQ grill in case of wind or rainstorm. Measure before buying! If not, then buy an enclosure that can be used with a BBQ grill & go for additional protection.

2) BBQ Gas Grill Covers –

It’s best to get one that matches the size of your gas BBQ, so if you get one that fits perfectly, it will protect better against elements like wind and moisture than a one that is too large or too small.

3) BBQ Portable Grill Covers

When the BBQ grill is not in use, get a BBQ portable grill cover to protect it against dust and debris. If you live in an area where there are lots of storms, make sure the BBQ portable grill cover has vents for water drainage to avoid rusting on the BBQ.

4) BBQ Maintenance Tips

Maintaining your BBQ grills regularly will help them last longer. Try using steel wool for cleaning cast iron BBQ grills, while brass brushes can be used on stainless steel surfaces. If gas BBQs are exposed to moisture during storage, remove the propane tanks and let them dry out completely before reattaching them to avoid corrosion inside the BBQ.

5) BBQ Cover Safety Tips

If you are using a BBQ cover for the first time, make sure to disinfect them by washing them with water and mild soap or hydrogen peroxide solution. Let it dry completely before putting it on your BBQ grill. If you are storing BBQ covers away during the summer season, always let them dry out fully before packing them up, especially if they have been exposed to moisture during storage.

With BBQ season just around the corner, barbecuing enthusiasts are getting ready to fire up their charcoal and gas grills. If you’re looking for a protective cover for your BBQ grill, you can get one designed specifically for your BBQ type at. These high-quality BBQ covers will protect your barbecue from the elements and keep it in great shape so that you can use it all summer long.

However, if you want to get the most out of your BBQ cover and prolong its life, here are 10 tips:

Let it air dry after cleaning

Protect it from direct sunlight

Remove any dirt or debris before putting on the BBQ cover

Clean stains immediately to prevent them from setting

Do not overfill the BBQ cover

Don’t drag the BBQ cover on rough surfaces

Custom-fit covers are more likely to fit better and last longer

Always dry off your BBQ before putting it into a BBQ cover

When using a BBQ rotisserie, place a BBQ grill mat under the spit or skewers to prevent black marks on the BBQ cover

Maintain your BBQ’s original shape by taking off any clips or strings from inside the BBQ cover.

Choosing a high-quality BBQ cover is essential to protecting your barbecue from damage due to elements such as water, dirt, debris, and sun exposure. That being said, since most barbecues are stored outside during use, they can be prone to damage from rain and moisture. If you’re looking for BBQ covers that can withstand rain and moisture, look for BBQ covers labeled as water-resistant or water-proof. BBQ covers are generally made from vinyl, nylon, or other synthetic materials.

If your BBQ grill is in need of some tender love and care to get it ready for BBQ season can help. From BBQ accessories such as BBQ rotisseries and containers to BBQ tools such as tongs and spatulas, they have all the BBQ supplies you need to keep your barbecue beautiful so that it will be a great addition to your outdoor cooking experience all year long!

Conclusion:

With BBQ season just around the corner, BBQ enthusiasts are getting ready to fire up their charcoal and gas grills. However, if you’re looking for a protective BBQ grill cover that can withstand rain and moisture, look for BBQ covers labeled as water-resistant or water-proof. BBQ covers are generally made from vinyl, nylon or other synthetic materials. If your BBQ is in need of some tender love and care to get it ready for BBQ season can help. They have all the BBQ supplies you need to keep your barbecue beautiful so that it will be a great addition to your outdoor cooking experience all year long!

Continue Reading

Trending