Home Automation, what is it?

What is home automation? It is the connection of all smart things (Iot) with the use, usually, of a hub or gateway. There is a user interface that allows you to be able to control the connected devices. As things have progressed, there have been many things that have changed. With the Internet of things, many home automation systems have become nothing more than just an app on your phone or tablet. 

Home automation systems or smart homes can control many things, and the list doesn’t shrink! From lighting, comfort, security systems, CCTV, audio & video systems, door lock, and many other. There have been many different companies in the beginning of home automation, but some have not survived the ever-changing field of technology. With the close of some companies others have been created in their absence. Since I have been in this industry it has changed in leaps and bounds. When the housing market crashed and the era of the DIY boomed, home automation has been opened up to the end user to create their version of home automation. With many companies out there doing Home Automation or Low Voltage wiring, it is hard to understand the differences. Alarm companies are getting into the action as well! You have some of the larger home automation companies out there like Control4, Savant, URC, and others offering a 1 app/remote solution to control most of your devices.

In the industry that I work in, a 1 app solution is what true automation is. Having a bunch of different items to control and then having multiple remotes or apps, is not the answer. When you start looking at some of the other systems out there, or the DIY options, it starts to look like having multiple apps is how it has to be. This defeats the purpose and brings me back to the original statement of needing a true home automation system.

So how do you get a 1 app solution? If you have the budget, contract a company to assist you in the search for the right solution! If you are wanting to do the DIY route, then let’s start at the basics and I will show you how to plan for the right things. First off, think of the space you are trying to automate. What would you envision to automate? Theater, audio around the space, lighting, security system, and/or locks? There are many other thing that can be automated as well, but think of what you are planning to do in the future. Next is, what kind of infrastructure do you have in place or are you planning to have. Having hardwired devices allows for more accuracy and better planned results! Wireless is a good second choice, but don’t plan for wireless if you can have the wire instead. Next is overall budget, how much are you wanting or able to spend on your project? Once you have come up with these items the next step is to choose what you want your Automation system will be. To figure that out should be easy, google search items in your list you want to automate and add control or home automation after them. You can also look into their support pages and see what systems they integrate with. Make a list and cross reference them to see what automation systems most are in common with your project. Final step before implementing them is, look at the overall cost of the Home Automation system. Be careful to make sure of the potential monthly or annual costs to have the system. Are there options you have to pay extra for? Do you have to purchase extra programming packages? Also, look at other people’s reviews of the systems. Be objective to what they have to say as everyone’s abilities to do technology DIY is different. Negative reviews are easy to come when someone cannot figure out something and they are frustrated. As a backup hiring a professional to do certain sections of the work can be a good idea as well. 

I hope this will help get you along on your Home Automation project. Please ask questions as I will respond and willing to help. I will be able to assist based on my experience in this industry. 

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2 Responses

  1. Nice.. Got lot of valuable knowledge. But there is a myth that home automation can be easily hacked. What are your thoughts about it. And the next is there is no awareness in my country (India) so how can I create it. Thank you Steve once again
    • Thank you for the comment. Any one person (hacker) dedicated on getting into a network will get in. Typically they only go after the easy targets. Changing default passwords and making them complex enough is usually a good first step. As for awareness, creating media and sharing articles like this and many many others helps. I know that Control4, for an example, is an automation system deployed in your country. There may be limited techs but there is an obvious demand. The issue, in any country, is proper training and deployment with experience. Follow up with my future posts. I am working on some basic to mid level educational bits on a bunch of categories. I hope this information helps!

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