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Home automation incorporates SMS to keep you connected

The world of home automation is becoming increasingly tech-savvy as the Internet of Things continues to grow and expand with possibilities. From enhanced safety mechanisms to increased security protocols, home automation calls for smart solutions that work even when there is no Internet or data connection.

It is for this reason that SMS is being used as an integral part in home automation solutions across the globe. Not only is SMS a simple, cost-effective addition to these solutions, it also provides prompt and reliable notifications.

South Africa's Juan Bredenkamp provides a perfect example of why and how SMS is being used as a core component of home automation solutions.

In 2016, Bredenkamp decided to try his hand at automating his home's security system. His first step was to buy an over-the-counter Arduino software package, namely the Arduino Mega, which allows its users to write programs and upload them to their Arduino board. In simpler terms, the Arduino software allows its users to build digital devices and interactive objects that can sense and control objects in the physical world.

Bredenkamp's next step was to write the required code for his Arduino software that would allow him to automate and control his home alarm system. After writing the code, he plugged the Arduino into his alarm system, downloaded the Arduino app, Blynk, on to his phone and was then able to switch his alarm on and off remotely. The app also allows him to open his gate and trigger the panic button from his mobile device if need be.

With the goal of being notified whenever his alarm is activated, Bredenkamp's code specified that an e-mail be sent to him and his wife whenever the alarm is set off. However, after realising that his mobile data connection was not always stable, he decided to add SMS to the mix. This solution now allows for the automated sending of both e-mail and SMS notifications should his alarm be triggered.

Says Bredenkamp: "The use of the BulkSMS API (application programming interface) has allowed me to integrate a reliable notification platform with my home alarm system. SMS allows for instant, succinct and reliable alerts, even when my data connection is poor."

Whenever Bredenkamp receives an SMS alert, he logs on to his CCTV live stream to see if there is any unusual activity in his home. In which case, he can then inform his neighbour to check in on his property or even trigger pepper spray to spray in the house.

According to Bredenkamp, his system now allows him to manage his home's security from wherever he is. "It also saves me a lot of money every month because I don't need to pay an armed response team to monitor my home."

"The world of home automation is a growing and exciting one," says Dr Piet Streicher, managing director of BulkSMS.com.

"This use of our SMS API, together with the Arduino software, is a great example of how SMS can be used for machine-to-machine messaging. The reliability of SMS means that the alerts can be sent to Bredenkamp's handset at any time, even when his mobile device is not connected to the Internet."