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COVID -19 & The Importance Of Home Automation And Contactless Solutions during COVID-19

How the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of automation in homes, hotels and other contactless solutions.

The COVID-19 Reality

Social distancing, online meetings and minimal contact have become the new norm and the world has only just about digested this as the new reality. Saying ‘no’ to meeting in person, pulling your hand away when someone extends to shake it as a greeting would’ve seemed extremely impolite seven months ago. The world has gone through some really rough changes and everyone’s life has changes in one way or the other. Break-ins and crimes during these troubling times have been on the rise in parts of the world where the daily wage workers have been hard-hit.

The new COVID-19 lifestyle for keeping buildings and surroundings clean

With this change in everyone’s lifestyle, people have become more aware and precautious to not contribute to the pandemic’s spread (we hope you have too!).

The Problem With Frequently Touched Surfaces

The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a guideline detailing how to clean and disinfect your households. An excerpt from the article :

Community members can practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, and electronics with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectant that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions.

The understanding is that the coronavirus and other viruses/germs can live on surfaces for a few hours or days, but the exact duration is debated and varies based on the environment and surroundings. Still, the general consensus is that keeping surfaces clean is required.

A few of the areas highlighted by the CDC’s guideline – light switches, doorknobs, electronics. We don’t realise it but these are surfaces touched ever so frequently by the members of the household, visitors, domestic help. Another key area are elevators and the plethora of buttons on them that get touched by visitors coming from all over the place – a dangerous and potential source of infections.

Interaction with these areas that can actually be avoided entirely with home automation and contactless solutions.

Home automation has varying perceptions in markets around the world. To some markets, it’s still a luxury. To other markets, it’s an essential for the adults to keep an eye on their homes while they are out earning a livelihood. Right now, both markets are noticing the importance of home automation to achieve what was just discussed earlier – social distancing, minimal contact and maintaining security.

When someone’s at the door, you need to physically go and open the mechanically operated lock. When someone rings the bell, they’re touching the surface of the switch – they have no choice. When you’re away, you need to keep an eye on your home owing to the rise in crimes.

Where Home Automation Solutions Help

Lighting Controls

Turning lights on and off is a daily and routine task that can be automated or at the bare minimum made contactless. With the help of Toyama’s Smart Lighting Controls, you can control your home in a myriad of ways.

  1. IR Remote : We have also kept in mind that there are people such as the elderly that prefer to stay away from technology. This is for them to have their own personal remote to add convenience as well as keep them from touching lighting controls.

  2. iOS, Android, Desktop, Web and Linux Apps : A convenient app on your own personal device such as a mobile phone or laptop that allows you to control the whole house. And everyone in the house gets the app too, on their own personal devices. This allows them to be able to perform routine tasks manually or via an automated schedule, and not have to touch the switches. Only you touch your phone, but keep it clean!

  3. Voice : An ultimate touch-less experience. Every action or trigger that you can do with the app, you an do with your voice. It really ensures a contactless experience while allowing you to go about your day.

  4. Touch : Don’t. Our beautiful glass touch switches have this option as a fail-safe but this can be the last resort.

Scheduling and automation

Routine tasks such as turning on certain lights ten minutes before sunset, turning on the garden sprinklers at a certain time of the day, closing the curtains at the night and many more tasks left to your imagination can be automated completely. This not only provides a degree of extremely satisfying convenience, but also keeps your hands free from touching the many surfaces that require manual operation that can otherwise be automated easily. Do all this and more with Scene Controllers.

Door Lock Controls

Tend to your guests by installing a Video Door Phone, and smart door locks to let authorised visitors in. This ensures social distancing while they sanitise their hands. You can even choose not to open the door and interact with a person through the video door phone whom you have no information about, as this is the safe thing to do. You are unsure who they are, where they’ve been, what their social distancing habits and hygiene practices are – but they might be a visitor you need to let in. Use the video door phone to solve these troubles while maintaining a distance.

Gates & Garage Doors

While driving into your home, you may need to open your gate or garage door – which naturally lies outside your house. Gates in particular are frequently touched by delivery personnel, visitors, domestic help, etc. Add smart gate openers to be able to open/close with a voice command or an app command. This allows you to stay put in your car while also keeping your hands free from touching potentially contaminated surfaces.

Multiple Remotes In App

A single TV remote is used by multiple members of the household. Most households have multiple remotes, for the TV, air conditioning, entertainment systems, etc. All those IR remotes can go into your app using IR blaster and everyone has their own WizHom app on their mobile devices to control the systems in the house with, thus decreasing contact where possible.

Motion Sensors & Door Contact Sensors

Motion sensors can be installed and armed to detect unwanted and undesired movement. You would want to keep your house safe and secure by arming these sensors automatically by scheduling them. This would give anyone complete peace of mind while asleep at night, or away from home knowing that even the slightest of unwanted movement triggers an immediate alert. Door contact sensors can be used for a lot of different purposes including energy saving purposes, but a door contact sensor also allows you to check if all the main doors of the house are closed before leaving the house or going to bed. 

Where Contactless Solutions Help

There are contactless solutions that can be (and have increasingly been) implemented to prevent contamination of surfaces. One of the most common surfaces that are interacted with by all sorts of people round the clock are elevators and elevator buttons. They’re crucial to get from one floor to the other if the building is large or for physically challenged individuals. And it’s just convenient to not take the stairs. The workarounds people have been coming up with are using toothpicks and other disposables, using the buttons as it is (yikes!) or just not using the elevator at all.

Contactless Elevators

A man using Toyama’s ELSafe Contactless Elevator Solution to operate the elevator

Here at Toyama, we’ve come up with a Contactless Elevator Solution, ELSafe that come in two variants to fit into almost any existing elevator (both serial and parallel operated elevators). The gist of it is this, a person wanting to use the elevator merely scans a QR code and presses a button on their phone. That’s it. A simple and effective solution to completely avoid touching one of the most frequently touched surfaces in a building. 

Where Hotel Solutions Help

Hotels have taken a catastrophic hit in bookings but they are primed to come back as business travel is picking up and people are aching to get out of their homes and go on vacations. Hotels are visited by people from all corners of the world who travel through airports and aircrafts with other passengers from around the world. Hotels are practicing stringent disinfecting routines to regain business.

A key component to minimise contact for hotels is contactless entry into the room and contactless control of all the lighting and heating in the room. Hotel Automation solutions allow for such control of room devices with voice control.

Hotels practicing social distancing and rigorous disinfecting procedures greeting a guest

Toyama Controls has had the pleasure of working with some of the biggest hotel groups in the world such as St. Regis, Taj Group Of Hotels, Conrad, Hyatt, and more. We provide our own factory-customised solutions for all kinds of hotels to cater to their guests.  With strong focus on energy saving and guest comfort, we keep the guest in mind and don’t want to leave the guest to figure anything out. While also saving the hotel a considerable amount in monthly electricity bills. Our more recent focus has been to provide a complete contactless experience for guests for their own safety and safety of the next guest. 

Our solutions are simple, effective and intuitive. They’ve always been safe but now, that’s more important than ever. At Toyama, we’re focused on constantly evolving, adapting and serving the customer. Our obsession for perfection and customer satisfaction has led us to build new products for the home, hotel and commercial sectors to cater to the need of the hour. We’ve always contributed to the convenience and happiness of customers’ lives. But now, we’re humbled to also be contributing to their safety.

Stay safe.



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