Duo develops android-interfaced home automation system 

Wednesday, November 30th, 2022 06:27 | By
Nelson Cheruiyot and Brian Kipngeno display the home automation system. PD/COURTESY

They say necessity is the mother of invention. When people are faced with a challenge or crisis, they are forced to be creative and think outside the box to come up with a solution. It is through this way that many inventions have come about, through the need for iplements to make man’s work easier. 

Nelson Cheruiyot, an energy and environmental technology student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has joined many renowned inventors in the world after together with a colleague, they developed a home automation system, which was his final year project. However, the project  ended up drawing the attention of many people.  

“I came up with the project after I noted the challenges of climate change world over. I discussed my concerns with a colleague on how to cushion ourselves from the worrying matter and that’s when the Home Automation System using Internet of Things (IoT) was born,” Cheruiyot says.

The system, he says, works in such a manner that when it is installed, the energy consumption is reduced. It reduces phantom load — the amount of power drawn by an electronic device when it’s not in use, but is still plugged in.

How it works

“Conserving energy is just one way we can help the environment and minimise the use of our energy resources. Reduction of energy consumption in each household in Kenya by a certain percentage equates to reduction of burning of fossil fuels for energy consumption,” he points out adding that the project also aims to address United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals Seven (SDG 7), which ensures access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Cheruiyot explains that for the system to work, one must have a Wi-Fi or reliable internet. With the help of a mobile app, Blynk, one can be able to check the status for each appliance and one can control and monitor it in any part of the country as long as one is connected to a reliable internet. It lets you control your appliances from your phone. You can be at home or away —it works as long as you have data connection. You can also see what’s switched on or set schedules for appliances individually.

In case of slow internet connection, the system is integrated with some devices that allows you to connect to it with a Sim card. This will allows you to send an Short Message/Messaging Service (SMS) to the system and it will respond according to the command you have issued.

The youthful student told Eureka that he is indebted to the New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC), which accorded him a chance to hone his skills when it offered him an attachment as an energy management trainee, where he learned many crucial lessons to help him stay afloat in the industry. 

“During the attachment period, I was taken through a couple of training, which helped me a lot during the process of building the home automation system,” he reiterated.

Increased efficiency

Cheruiyot says he learned rigorous lessons, which included energy management as policy and commitment, roles of energy manager, which included energy planning, monitoring energy consumption, planning energy conservation, implementing energy conservation measures and measurement and verification.

Other skills gained during the attachment period were formulation of energy strategy and energy conservation plan, steps to effective energy management, renewable energy that included among others solar energy and biomass boilers even as they were encouraged the importance of teamwork in the challenging industry. 

He shares how the system has a lot of benefits in the modern world as it enables people to manage their connected home devices by using smart mobile phones in any part of the world. It also increases energy efficiency and by interconnecting their devices with home Wi-Fi using smart home automation system, homes become more efficient at heating, cooling, lighting and among others reducing energy bills incurred from using many electronics in the house. The system also helps in saving energy as one can be able to turn off lights even from a far place if one forgets to turn them off while leaving the house. This further translates to saving money.

“I am a future engineering technologist with dreams of working in technical and managerial areas in my field and willing to work with anyone to build my skills,” Cheruiyot says in ending.

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