The answer for Ben Ackland, Projects Director at Netsight Internet Solutions, is to use the internet and some smart machine to machine communications to automate a series of ‘creature comforts’ that will ensure the summerhouse visits appeal to the whole family.
The whole system has been prototyped by Ben and is powered using eco-energy captured from the sun for ’status and control’. The temperature control system is already in place.
The energy consumed via the battery will be minimal but essential to drive the various heaters, controls, monitors, lighting, off-the-shelf switches and relays and (to manage it all) a little Raspberry Pi computer. Ben (or anyone else in the family with access to the home WiFi) will be able to operate or simply pre-program the systems through a purpose-built web application running on their iPhone or browser.
Alerts can warn of problems such as low battery charge, overheating or even intruders – and if the WiFi is down the system will automatically fall back to cellular.
The technology for the project is cheap and readily available and is already proving to be a lot of fun to source and set up. The little web app took a few days but will do exactly what it needs to do – not something you could have bought off the shelf.
Spring 2016 is completion date. Surely that will be time enough for Ben to lobby for a new ‘Internet of Things’ category for the Shed of The Year competition and post off his entry? You can count on our vote Ben :-)