Everyone is talking about Home Automation

 In Blog

Home automation is a wonderful way to Simplify Life Through Technology by having your home do things you do every day for you, without you having to do them. Let me give you some examples.

  • Lights dimming or turning off, with just the touch of one button; or, without touching a button at all!
  • Arming your security system triggers doors to lock and outdoor lighting to turn on
  • Turning the TV off after 9pm at night arms the security system, turns back the temperature and lights a pathway to your Owner’s Suite, while also turning on the children’s night lights.
  • Forget to arm the alarm and turn back the thermostat when you leave; no problem, the system recognizes no motion from your motion detectors over a period of time and automatically does it for you.

Home automation is what it sounds like: automating the ability to control items around the house—from window shades to pet feeders—with a simple push of a button (or a voice command).

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Still, imagine monitoring your home using an interface on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, or even panels mounted around the house.

It’s going seriously mainstream. Google made a big investment in it, spending $3.2 billion dollars buying Nest Labs, the company behind one of the cool thermostats and smoke detectors out there.

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Before you buy a bunch of home automation products, you should understand the technologies involved in setting up and using them. There are many different types of communication protocols that products use to talk to each other and their controllers. Some are wired, some are wireless, and some are a combination. Try to stick with one protocol when buying products; you’ll be better off.

Z-Wave: Another wireless home automation protocol, Z-Wave is owned by one company, Sigma Designs, which makes all the chips for other vendors to make Z-Wave-capable products.

Wi-Fi: This is the networking protocol we’re all used to for sharing an Internet connection among laptops, game consoles, and so much more. It’s super fast and ubiquitous. So, of course, it’s inevitable that some vendors would make home automation products to take advantage of that. The other protocols use less power and bandwidth but Wi-Fi’s reach can’t be understated, even if it is overkill to use it to turn a lamp on and off.

ZigBee: That’s a name for a wireless 802 standard from the IEEE, which is to say, a bunch of gear heads came up with it before an outside group (the ZigBee Alliance) made up of vendors made products to work with it. One of the key elements in IEEE 802.15.4 (its real name) is that it makes a mesh network so that most of the devices communicate equally. It’s also very low power.

Insteon: This may be the best of all protocols because it combines wired power line-based protocol with wireless. Both work as a mesh; all nodes on an Insteon home automation network are peers that can communicate when in proximity. If one fails, the other mesh can take over.

At SoundVision, we research ALL of these products and use them in OUR homes before we recommend them in YOURS! We are proud to offer our services for Davidson, Lake Norman, NC and more. Give us a call today!

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