Home automation is becoming more and more accessible and even easier to use. So much of this technology out there, products like Amazon’s Alexa are becoming more common by the day. With a huge variety of products, there are also many different types of communication protocols that are used to talk to each other and their controllers. Each one is, essentially, its own language. Each language speaks to the various connected devices and instructs them to perform a function. Some are wired, some are wireless, and some are a combination. Before you buy a bunch of home automation products, you should understand the technologies and protocol involved in setting up and using them.
This is where the professionals at SoundVision can help. We have broken down the home automation options on the market and researched the tools so we can find the home automation foundation that is the perfect fit for you. Listed below is a basic breakdown of the technology protocols for you.
- 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. One of the key elements in IEEE 802.15.4 is that it makes a mesh network so that most of the devices communicate equally. The network requires relatively infrequent data exchanges at low data rates over a restricted area so It’s also a very low power option for home automation.
- 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. Z-Wave is a low-power RF communications technology.
On a normal day, you come home from work, fumble around with your keys to get in the door, then you have to rush to your alarm pad to put in the code flailing out into the dark trying to reach it before the alarm goes off, rushed and hectic.
Now picture this; you walk up to your home beautifully lit, open the door and your favorite song is already playing throughout the house. But more importantly, you did all of this without pulling out your key, rushing to your alarm or even flicking a switch.
You have a nice night in and are watching TV, 9:30 pm hits and it is time for bed. You turn the TV off and automatically your security system arms, the thermostat lowers the temperature and the lights fade up just enough to illuminate a pathway to your master bedroom.
After a good night’s rest, you wake up and the phone immediately starts ringing. Distracted you grab your coffee and run out the door, not even realizing you didn’t arm the alarm. No worries, the security system recognizes no motion from your motion detectors over a period of time and automatically does it for you. It even lowers the thermostat, something that is even easier to forget.
This is not an excerpt from the next blockbuster science fiction movie or something that you can only dream up. This is the “Internet of Things” (IoT), and this isn’t in the distant future, this is available to you now.
Home automation is what it sounds like: automating the ability to control items around the house—from window shades to pet feeders—with a push of a button (or a voice command) simplifying your life with technology.