Mar 10, 2016
What Is Home Automation & How Do I Get Started?
If you follow media companies like TechCrunch, CNet, PC Mag, Gigaom & more, then you’ve probably heard of the term ‘home automation’ by now. While you may have heard of it from a products perspective, you might still be confused as to what home automation is from an independent standpoint.
Well, What Is Home Automation?
Simply put, home automation is the use of computers to control various aspects of your home (this can be anything from lights, to sprinklers, ovens, thermostats, and more). Home automation typically involves scheduling products to do specific actions at specific times, setting various appliances up to complete actions based off the reactions of other devices, and so on.
The world of home automation typically refers to its products as smart home products and the homes that carry them as smart homes. It’s also expected of smart home products to be able to work remotely so that users are able to communicate with their homes regardless of where they are. Think of it as the globalization of the home.
What Home Automation Protocols Exist?
Protocols are the different languages that home automation platforms use to allow devices to communicate with one another. There are quite a few home automation protocols out there, with the most prominent ones being Z-Wave, Zigbee & Insteon.
When choosing the right one for you, make sure to choose the strongest platform you can find and also keep in mind the amount of devices that have signed up to be part of their network. You wouldn’t want to settle on a platform with a super limited product selection, would you?
via z-wave alliance
Though a few protocol hubs are able to communicate with each other, it’s not yet common for home automation hubs to be multilingual. This means that, for now, if you’ve got a ZigBee hub and are seriously eyeing a Z-wave or Insteon accessory, you can keep on dreaming because it’s not very likely that it will communicate with either of the latter two. That isn’t a definite, though. It really depends the smart home hub.
How Do I Pick A Good Hub?
This is where things get pretty funny. Some companies sell you hubs that don’t do much of anything besides centrally control the various accessories you choose to add to your smart home network.
Being a massive cheapskate, I can’t personally justify buying a hub that doesn’t have other features built into it. I would also like to maintain a clean, minimalist look to my space, so I don’t want to buy a whole bunch of accessories, either.
Think about it. Why buy a hub, siren accessory, camera, etc. etc. when the core of your home automation should have those features built in?
To me, picking a good hub means picking a device that does a good chunk of what you’d like, and growing your ecosystem from there.
I think that’s why Piper is so popular. It takes care of your home security (which is the #1 thing people look for when joining the smart home space) needs first and foremost while allowing you to slowly build up your dream (smart) home.
Right out of the box, Piper gives you a full 180-degree view of any room you’re monitoring, comes equipped with an insanely loud siren, actual motion sensor, two-way voice communication, and a complete vitals chart that lets you know about interior temperature, motion and sound patterns, humidity and more – all with no required monthly fees. You’d be surprised at how useful monitoring your temperature can be to the health of your home. Just ask Bob, a user whose Piper saved his Pipes from freezing while he was away on vacation!
You can easily add various home automation and security smart home accessories to your Piper network straight from the app’s Marketplace or our online store as well. This means smart LED bulbs, indoor & outdoor smart switches, and security products like water sensors, and door/window sensors and more. Pretty soon you’ll also be able to connect your Piper with smoke detectors, external motion sensors, and smart door locks. You’ll also be able to receive your notifications via your LG TV, and the possibilities are virtually endless upon the release of our IFTTT channel!
The whole point of home automation is being able to control as many aspects of your home as possible. That’s why it’s so important to choose the sort of central system that allows you to do just that.
If you need help choosing the right smart home hub for your lifestyle, there’s a pretty comprehensive comparison chart over at PC Magazine.
Do you have any other questions about the world of home automation? Feel free to post them in the comments section below!