How I designed Enigma IOT- best and affordable smart home app
Imagine living in a place where you can control things around you by touching a smartphone screen. On your single voice command, you can change the lights of your room, lock your door, and switch on your Ac. You can enjoy the coziest environment even without getting out of your bed.
Indeed, it seems like living in a magical world. But these things exist in real life too. You can have your own magical home with the smart technology called the internet of things (IoT). Though technology has already made our lives simple to boot, IoT is making us sit in the lap of luxury.
Last year, I also got the chance to develop a similar smart home automation app for my company Enigmatix.
Starting on this project, I wanted to have a great understanding of this technology. I studied how to target users, identify problems in current products and provide solutions.
This article summarizes my journey in understanding and executing Smart home.
Understanding the Product
Before designing the app, I made the following things clear in my mind. `
Internet of things (IoT)
Internet of things is a network of physical things connected to the internet. Billions of physical devices connect to the internet, all collecting and sharing data.
Smart Home System
A Smart Home system allows you to control and automate lights, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) security, other appliances, etc.
With wifi, you can link your smart devices with the smart home app.
With an internet connection, you can control your home devices on your phone while sitting in any corner of the world.
But how do smart homes work?
The smart home system is the breakthrough of IoT. All the smart devices connect to a cloud network. Amazon, LG, Samsung are the brands that provide such services, and they all operate almost alike.
Take the example of Amazon. It developed its assistant named Alexa. You can give your voice command on the app and operate things around you. It sends messages called retrievers to a controller who controls the devices about every single activity.
When another user makes changes to a device, it sends the controller a message. The controller can connect many devices on it and control them through a device cloud.
Say you are a controller of the device. Someone in your home turned on the light. Alexa first identifies the concerned controller as in you and sends you a message. Then you can read them, recognize the light in the cloud, and turn it on.
But a problem arises, as there are many Smart Home brands, a user might also have many devices of different brands. A user would have to install many apps for devices of each brand. Since these devices do not connect, users can feel frustration and confusion about having different apps for different devices.
To improve the user experience, I thought of building an app that can control all the devices on a single app. Along with the app solution, we developed our Enigma IoT switches. Whatever the device is when its plug inserts in the socket, our designed buttons will connect the smart device with our app. This way, users using any brand device can link all of them to our app.
Designing the App
The rest of my article summarizes the implementation process of the app design.
Here is the user flow of the entire app. The yellow highlighted area represents the main navigation of the app.
Low fidelity wireframes
Using pen and paper is always a convenient way for me to put my ideas together. Here is the sketch of my initial app design.
For a good user experience, the first interaction with the app is essential. Since this app covers many devices and is multi-functional, our on-boarding process provides a user with a tutorial to use our app.
I attempted to keep the interface lively and easy to use. It was essential to guarantee that controlling the gadgets by a smartphone is a pleasant thing to do than manual control.
Enigma IoT smart home has a very easy-to-understand registration process. Users can create their account on the app through their mobile number and email address. App sends them a verification email or code to confirm users’ email addresses. The user creates an account as admin and can give access to others by sharing devices with them.
Below are the different sections and features of the app.
My home contains all the smart device controls and features of the entire app in this section. It contains the menus of your favorite devices, rooms, scenes, temperature, and voice assistant widgets. It is quite useful for the user when he has many devices, and he has to find a particular one and add to his favorite device for convenience. Users can also add a prime section of the app on the home page.
While we control our devices on our smartphones, smart homes also perform an advanced function of automation.
The cutting-edge feature of a smart home is automation that is remote monitoring and access. Automation refers to operating a device, a process, or a system. With automation, the device can program and scheduled events. The programming can be time-related commands, like turning your lights on and off at a specific time each day. It can also have non-scheduled events like turning your lights on when your security system alarm triggers.
Scenes let you have a personalized environment according to your mood. With them, you can control many accessories at the same time. You can create them of your choice like Good night that turns off the lights of your home or your room and locks your home gate all at once. You can also create a scene named morning that turns on the light of your home and plays your favorite playlist on your Apple.
Schedules are custom routines used to change the device settings for a duration of time. For example, you can turn on the lights and set your security cameras to start recording when the sun goes down. One main benefit of a schedule is you can edit and create new ones according to your interest. These schedules routines are composite as well, where you can set your many smart devices to perform different functions all at once.
A schedule comprises of two things:
Device-You can add devices and change their attributes according to a set schedule.
Timing- you can set the time duration and repeat the options.
The favorite section contains a dashboard of the most used devices on your app for quick access. On selecting a particular device, a footer slider comes up with the device controls.
Notification and Setting
The setting section has categories of adding devices, device network, device information, state, help, etc.
In the setting section, you can share the device with another user as well. Sharing device with another user gives him access to control the devices. Here you can also create a group and change your icon.
Our app sends automatic notifications to users to keep them informed of what is happening in the house. These notifications display on a separate notification screen date-wise. This screen shows them relating to events, home, and a system like changes to the temperature and lighting, water or gas leak, and alerts in case of smoke. and has the option to enable or disable notifications.
This part of the app shows a list of connected devices and sensors. Users can control devices and open separate device screens to read the information of each particular one.
Users can group the devices by room and control all devices within a particular room at the same time. But for a better experience, users can add images to each room and state their names like kitchen, dining room, bedroom, etc.
Voice control system
The app contains a voice assistant which works on voice command. For example, a user can set up a good morning scene when the home wakes up with its controller: the light turns on, the curtains open on their own, and the coffee machine starts making coffee, and the list goes on. For this purpose, the user can use a voice control system and complete the command by saying good morning.
The best thing about this app is energy consumption control. This app ensures your smart devices are using energy only when needed. You can calculate units for each device and also disconnect other devices from power when they are not in use.
The future of smart home automation is promising. The benefits of smart homes are enormous; safety, convenience, savings, control, and others, etc. For better peace of mind and comfort, a smart home is a must-have, and it can help make things a bit easier for us.
That is all. Thanks for reading it to the end.