Turn your home into a smart home: A guide to home automation
Home automation has grown rapidly over the past few years, and it shows no sign of stopping – recent reports estimate that over half a billion wireless smart home devices will be installed worldwide by 2018. Home automation is what it sounds like: automating the ability to control items around the house — from window shades to garage doors — with a simple push of a button. Thanks to Z-Wave technology, automated products can communicate with you (with and each other) easily and in seconds.
With over 1000 “connected” products on the market and more hitting the marketplace each day, homeowners can do everything from unlock their front door for a houseguest – check in on their pets and adjust the thermostat – from anywhere in the world with an internet-connected device. While some technophobes may think creating a connected home is a daunting task, most systems are completely DIY and go a long way in making a homeowner’s life easier.
- understand Z-Wave technology and don’t be scared
- start small… or big
- buy products that can work together
- get the most out of your home automation
- be on the lookout for new connected devices
- buy unnecessary products
- forget to keep up to date
- be worried about high costs to set up your system
- be worried about not being tech savvy
- sleep on the chance to create a smart home
Do understand Z-Wave technology and don’t be scared
Home automation is not an overly complicated technology, and anyone can get a handle on what it entails. Z-Wave is a next-generation wireless ecosystem that lets all your home automation electronics and other home hardware talk to each other through a compatible bridge, which simply plugs into your router and connects to the internet. Once connected, devices do the work for you – they use the power of the internet to communicate with each other, and then send any information you’d like to your Internet-connected device via a home intelligence system. From there, you can dictate how they function and what they do, from anywhere with an internet connected desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet.
Do start small… or big
There are thousands of home automation products on the market today, all of which cater to different needs. The great thing is that home automation systems are completely scalable which means that you can begin with just one device at a time or as many as you want. Before choosing specific products, decide what areas of your home you are most interested in having automated.
People who live in a high traffic area may be more concerned about security. They can add an automated deadbolt, motion sensors, and outdoor security cameras to their system, while customers who are interested in reducing their utility usage might want an automated thermostat, wireless water valve, and light dimmer to monitor these features closely.
Do buy products that can work together
Home automation systems and products can utilize several types of communication protocol, such as Z-Wave which is the predominant protocol in the market, as well as ZigBee, Wi-Fi, and Insteon. Installing products in your home that communicate through different protocols can make your home automation journey complex – not only does it mean stationing multiple bridges or hubs in your house, but it also means that your smart home devices cannot communicate with each other. Purchasing items that all communicate through the same protocol will guarantee that all of your devices can work together and that you can control them all simultaneously, making your life a lot easier.
Do get the most out of your home automation
Make sure you’re getting the most out of your smart devices by utilizing a DIY home automation system. The company’s offering is designed for every lifestyle, offering users flexibility to manage their homes via their smart phone, tablet or computer, no matter where they are in the world.
Many systems on the market give you the option to do things such as customize pre-set rules for when you’re home or not at home, reducing unnecessary energy use. Or, users can check in on things at home from their smart phone, giving them the ultimate peace of mind while they’re away.
Do be on the lookout for new connected devices
Some of the world’s largest brands produce devices that are compatible with home automation systems, and are constantly updating their product lines to stay on the cutting edge of technology. Well-known tech companies, such as GE, Trane, LG, and Samsung, take their devices to the next level by making them Z-Wave compatible. Keep an eye on your favorite brands to see what smart home-ready devices they might be bringing to the market.
Do not buy unnecessary products
With so many home automation products and options, it’s easy for first-time users to get overwhelmed. When first building your smart home, don’t worry about having every inch of your home automated – first focus on the areas where you know you’d like automation capabilities. Start out with a few products and work your way up so you don’t feel overwhelmed by too much too fast.
Do not forget to keep up to date
Technology is constantly advancing to make your life easier than ever. Don’t sit on the sidelines waiting for what’s next or for something bigger and better to come along. Technology, like Z-Wave, is designed to adapt to new innovations to ensure compatibility with the next big thing. You can also stay up-to-date on the latest products and innovations for your smart home by checking the Z-Wave Alliance website – it’s a great resource for all things smart home.
Do not be worried about high costs to set up your system
Some customers may let the thought of purchasing and maintaining a smart home deter them from making the leap. While upgrading your home does entail switching out current devices to their automated counterparts, the cost does not have to be excessive. By tailoring your connected devices to your own needs and preferences based on your lifestyle, you’re not only saving yourself time and peace of mind throughout the day, but you’re also allowing yourself to monitor and control how much energy your home uses, saving you money in the long run. Plus, many systems give users an affordable way to test home automation without tying them down with contracts.
Do not be worried about not being tech savvy
Some home automation systems do not require a trained professional to install – they’re designed for any user to set up and operate right out of the box! Your smart home is supposed to make your life easier, so don’t worry about having trouble setting it up.
Do not sleep on the chance to create a smart home
Home automation technology is designed to make your life easier and more efficient, and by incorporating a few key products in your property, you can revolutionize the way you interact with your home and the people and things you hold dear.
With the “Internet of Things” becoming a key tenant to home automation, there is no better time than now to upgrade to a smart home. By choosing compatible products and incorporating them with an easy-to-use home automation, you will not only increase your personal efficiency and peace of mind, but can even reduce your monthly energy bills, helping your wallet and the planet.