Why does a robot vacuum cleaner need the Internet?

 Fifteen years ago, robotic vacuum cleaners looked like aliens from the future, but today they do not stand out much from the rest of home appliances and help to keep the apartment clean with minimal effort. But this is not all that they are capable of: modern models of robotic vacuum cleaners offer many interesting functions, including support for Internet access. Let's figure out why this is needed.


Robot vacuum cleaners have become a new stage in the development of household appliances. It looks like a miracle that they easily move along the floor, collect garbage and skillfully bypass light obstacles such as a height difference of a couple of centimeters or table legs. The equipment is perfectly oriented in space and works autonomously - you can leave it to clean the apartment in your absence. And over the past few years, robotic vacuum cleaners have "grown wiser", and this is largely due to the support of wireless data transmission via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. What does this innovation give?


The first commercial robot vacuum cleaner appeared in 2002

from iRobot, although a little earlier similar test models were demonstrated by LG and Electrolux.


Smartphone control

This is one of the most useful features for robot vacuum cleaner owners. By downloading the proprietary application to your smartphone, you will easily manage and control the operation of the vacuum cleaner from another room, from the office, and even from another city. All popular modern models support control from a mobile device: iRobot Roomba i7 +, Xiaomi RoboRock Sweep One, Ecovacs Deeboot OZMO 900, Mamibot PreVac650, Karcher R3 and others.


We will consider the possibilities of control from a smartphone using the example of iRobot robotic vacuum cleaners:


at any time, you can start or pause cleaning the room, as well as track the movement of the robot vacuum cleaner in real time;

depending on the region, robotic vacuum cleaners work with selected voice assistants (for example, Alexa, Google Assistant, in Russia - Yandex.Alisa). The robot can be sent commands not only through the application, but also by voice;

The robot vacuum cleaner transmits information about the state of the battery to the cloud (for how long the charge will last), and in case of a critically low charge, it goes to the charging station itself. This information can also be obtained through the application in the smartphone;

the home assistant stores statistics about the cleaned rooms in memory, which the user of the branded application can access at any time: view the report or select rooms for the next cleaning;

the robot vacuum cleaner becomes part of the smart home ecosystem, that is, it can be controlled jointly by other devices and included in complex scenarios. For example, launch at a specified time on a specific day of the week or when the sensors detect changes in the composition / temperature of the air;

The robot vacuum cleaner sends important notifications to the owner's smartphone. The reason for the push message may be a low battery charge when the device is not able to complete the cleaning program, or a large obstacle that prevents you from moving on;

the device updates the firmware by itself when a new version is released. It automatically connects to the developer's portal and, if the Internet is available, downloads the current firmware version.


Robot vacuum cleaner mobile apps are usually available for the two most popular platforms: Android and iOS. IRobot brand appliances are controlled by the iRobot Home app. Samsung did not develop separate software for robotic vacuum cleaners and suggests limiting itself to the universal Samsung Smart Home, which allows you to control any devices in the smart home ecosystem. LG calls the application SmartThinQ, and it supports several interesting features, which we will discuss below.


Some robot vacuum cleaners can only be controlled remotely if you are connected to the same Wi-Fi network with them. This is not very convenient, because in modern models the cleaner can be at home, and you are many kilometers away with a smartphone connected to a mobile or office network.


Augmented reality and security

The considered functions can be safely called basic, and every year more and more devices appear on the market that support them. But some manufacturers, trying to separate themselves from competitors, are developing something new, revolutionary. For example, LG has implemented augmented reality support in the LG HOM-BOT Turbo + robot vacuum cleaner. Now, using a smartphone or tablet camera, the owner of the house can show the robot which zone in the apartment needs to be cleaned.


LG robotic vacuum cleaners additionally provide security by sending alerts that intruders have entered the house. When the device detects someone bystander (for this LG HOM-BOT Turbo + has two front cameras), it instantly takes a picture and sends it over the Internet. And the owner of the house is already deciding what to do with this information - to rush in himself or call the police. False alarms in such a situation are excluded: thanks to detailed images, in a couple of seconds you can find out if the person in the photo is really an outsider or if it is someone from your family who returned ahead of time.


Video cameras in robotic vacuum cleaners have not yet become a mass phenomenon due to the safety of the owners themselves. Like other devices with cameras and Internet access, robotic cleaners can be a source of serious problems. Attackers can get access to the pictures from the camera and then use them in criminal schemes - for example, after penetration, they can orient themselves well in space and know where valuable things are. But in practice, no one has yet implemented such a scenario. A couple of years ago, iRobot even announced a competition with a prize pool of several hundred thousand dollars. She promised to pay them to the hacker who breaks the security and takes over the control of the camera. As far as we know, no one has received the prize so far.


If you are seriously concerned about the safety of your home, we recommend that you consider the smart home system from OnLim. With it, you will always be aware of what is happening in the house or apartment, even when you are hundreds and thousands of kilometers away. And you can also control household electrical appliances remotely: for example, boil water in an electric kettle for return or turn off an accidentally forgotten iron. With the help of a video surveillance system, you will see that everything is fine with your pet, and the children returned from school on time. Here you can learn more about smart home from OnlineLime, as well as choose a set of equipment that best suits your needs.


Controlling the movement of the robot vacuum cleaner

Xiaomi robotic vacuum cleaners support two cleaning scenarios: automatic and manual. Users are usually limited to the first option: it is convenient, takes a minimum of time and the vacuum cleaner does not need to be controlled separately. The home assistant will build a map of the room himself, divide it into zones and start cleaning: first he will walk along the walls, and then will move


Manual cleaning is like rooting a smartphone: it opens up new possibilities, but takes more time. In manual mode, the robot vacuum cleaner turns into an analogue of a radio-controlled car. Only she not only moves around the room, but along the way collects dust and debris from the floor. In the Xiaomi application, the movement of the vacuum cleaner can be controlled by both buttons (forward and backward, left and right) and a virtual joystick. Choose whichever option suits you best, and spend your time using public transport or eating breakfast in your kitchen, for example.


Comprehensive office cleaning planning

Several years ago, Fraunhofer IAO developed an intelligent office cleaning concept using robotic technology. In the smart office ecosystem, iRobot robot vacuum cleaners automatically take care of upcoming cleaning sessions scheduled through Outlook, a task manager with email client functionality from Microsoft. Since there are usually a lot of office premises, several pieces of equipment will be required at once. So that they do not conflict with each other and all rooms are clean, managers manually prioritize cleaning (make so-called "booking"), and robotic vacuum cleaners, depending on priorities, form and adjust their schedule, synchronizing with tasks in Outlook in the mode real time.


How to make your robot vacuum cleaner a stable internet connection

Place the Wi-Fi router in the center of the house or apartment so that the robot vacuum cleaner can receive a reliable Internet signal from anywhere.

Do not install the router near powerful electrical appliances that emit high radiation and may cause radio frequency interference.

In one-story houses, the router should be as high as possible - this will help it to better scatter the signal. In two-story buildings, the router (if there is one) is recommended to be fixed high on the first floor or closer to the floor on the second.

Make sure there are no “blind spots” in the room where the router signal cannot reach.

To always have a stable Internet at home, choose a suitable tariff from OnlineLime. You also have access to favorable conditions for the purchase of related equipment and a large list of additional services. With OnlineLime, you can use proven antiviruses on preferential terms for comprehensive protection of all network devices, connect a burglar alarm to your home or apartment, order a fixed IP address, get professional help from technical specialists (for connecting a network, setting up and repairing computers) and other services.

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