Domotics is a field which involves the creation of automated controls for homes, ranging from lights which click on when someone enters a room to smart washing machines which select the appropriate cycle and time for a load of clothing. People may refer to domotics as home automation or "smart home systems," depending on the region they live in and their approach to the field. Domotics can encompass both hardware and software, with customized systems built specifically for the purpose along with existing systems which are modified.
Many architects are beginning to consider domotics in home design and construction. When the system is integrated into a house as it is built, it tends to be cheaper to install and maintain, especially if an architect thinks ahead and provides flexibility so that people can add options and modifications over time. Existing homes can also be modified to include automation systems.
One of the most basic examples of home automation is a system which controls light levels, saving energy and making it easy to save settings they enjoy, such as low light settings for dinner parties. The system may also adjust curtains and blinds on command. Domotics can also encompass climate control and security systems, including surveillance, automatic door locking systems, and theft deterrent systems.
Some more creative uses for domotics include systems which regulate home entertainment, including house-wide speakers, along with phone systems, intercoms, pet feeding and watering systems, irrigation controls, and home networks. Using domotics, a homeowner could program a home to feed the cat while people were on a trip, or to record television shows so that they can be viewed later.
Using sophisticated systems, people can have homes which inventory their RFID tagged contents and provide updates on request. For example, someone could log into a house from work to see which grocery items are needed, or a home could be programmed to alert the owner when a supply of something is running low. These systems can be used to do things like generating shopping lists which feature frequently-enjoyed items or items which need to be replaced, and for managing collections such as books, records, and films.
New developments in domotics are constantly emerging, and creative engineers can come up with very interesting ways to work with existing homes to make them more fully automated. Such systems can be controlled with a computer, or with a centralized control panel which is built directly into the home. Homes with integrated control panels often have options which allow them to network with remote computers for convenience, as for example when someone remembers that the plants need to be watered while he or she is far from home.