Home automation, or rather known as Smart Home or Internet of Things, is finally here. The boom of ever ending brand new devices promise to make life easier at home. With any luck, in the upcoming years, we will see wider range of options that offer on-budget convenience.
If you are interested in acquiring a home technology integrator to get you started, there are few considerations to make.
The latest additions to Smart Home systems bring much more capable technologies. You can now turn on/off your lights and shades, set up your thermometer and make sure your doors are locked and alarm set up when you are on holiday. The promises these Smart Home gadgets make is absolutely astonishing, considering the opportunities they create at home.
There is however one very crucial problem that throws a spanner in the works of getting a true smart home system.
INTERCONNECTING THE CONNECTED
Smart home represents all your electronics communicating in a coherent way to create the right ambiance. This requires individual devices to be compatible with each other. Considering the abundance of Smart Home devices from different makers, getting all your devices to work together in cohesion represents the challenge of researching device compatibilities.
Your purchase of a Smart Home product generates the expectation that it should outright work with every other product you already have or will purchase in the future. Unfortunately, however, this is mostly not the case. Consider Nest’s Protect smoke detector, which helps monitor carbon monoxide levels at your home. In case of a detection at your home, the smoke detector can automatically talk to your Nest thermostat to shut off the furnace, hence eliminate the smoke. An appropriate amount of interconnectivity is achieved among Nest products. However when a non-Nest product comes into play, it will often create incompatibility issues.
Then we have different Smart Home products such as Amazon Echo intelligent assistant, Lutron automatic shades, Philips Hue smart lighting and Sonos sound system. These devices will work perfectly by themselves. However, if you would like to use a single command to set up a dinner mood with shades down, lights dimmed and music playing; you’re out of luck as there is no direct communication between these devices. Considering the number of different manufacturer brands who all create devices with magnificent benefits at home, it dramatically decreases our chances to achieve a truly smart home.
AN OPERATING SYSTEM FOR THE SMART HOME
The good news is that there are now companies that see the value of not only offering smart home functionalities, but also systems that connect individual devices together.
The already established home automation companies offer operating systems specifically created for Smart Home devices. Home automation systems providers such as Crestron, Control4 and Savant has long-coming experiences to offer hardware solutions that bring together different smart home components and offer you streamlined control of your home electronics.
There are also tech giants who are taking a shot at integrating systems. Google’s purchase of Nest gave us the “Works with Nest” program that allows different devices to work alongside Nest thermostat. Apple’s HomeKit provides a similar function, by offering a mainstream framework Smart Home manufacturers can use to integrate their devices with iPhone. This opens the door to control your entire home just through voice commands on Siri; like “Set the upstairs thermostat to 25 degrees”. San Francisco startup IFTTT offers a DIY service, enabling you to create recipes for your home devices that trigger actions.
NEXT STEPS IN SMART HOME AUTOMATION
In the upcoming years, homes will become a focus point of the technology adoption, providing a smarter home. The developments we’ve been seeing so far are certainly an indicator of what’s to come.
However a true Smart Home solution will only be universally available with an industry standard for inter-device communications. Therefore it might be a good idea to get an experienced systems integrator involved in the process.