Now most homeowners can live like the Jetsons with “smart homes,” the latest house trend that allows the homeowner to control everything from lighting, security, temperature and more with a touch on their iphone. It’s being referred to as the “internet of things” with technology that is surprisingly user friendly. While it was fun to watch George’s family use their gadgets, there were a few things they had to iron out before everything worked as seamlessly as it did on television.
For most people, installing automated devices will take place after the house is built and should be done a little at a time. The simplest smart device is an extraordinary light bulb that can be controlled with any online device. No tools required, just screw the bulb in, load the app and turn the light on from across the room or across town. For more complicated devices, like a Nest Thermostat, you’ll need some basic skills, but the manufacturer says it can be installed by most people in under 30 minutes.
If you are building your home, you might want to talk to your builder about incorporating the devices into your home right from the start. Make sure that your technician has a CEA-CompTIA certification which means he or she has experience working with any vendor’s networking system.
There are a few different systems and it is important to make sure any device you purchase is compatible with the system you choose if you want to integrate at some point. The ZigBee system is a global standard based on the standard set by the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for wireless personal networks. Any manufacturer can use the ZigBee system without paying a licensing fee, which may give them an advantage in the long run over other systems.
The up and coming system, Insteon, used by the Nest Thermostat, accesses both electrical and wireless networks. All devices that receive the message will broadcast it throughout the network until the command is carried out. The more Insteon devices in your home, the stronger the signal.
There are many companies that provide protocols for electronics manufacturers to use in their devices, which may include thermostats, garage door openers, security cameras, and even smart appliances. Purchase a smart trash can and it will record your garbage and make a shopping list for you. Refrigerators create recipes based on the contents of your fridge and washers and dryers text you when your laundry is done. For more information on the home of the future, click here.
With all of these smart appliances in your home, you would soon need some sort of control center. There is a product called Revolv that allows all your appliances to work through one app in order to create a truly automated home. Revolv currently works only with the I-phone and can direct Z-Wave, Insteon, and WiFi products.
And therein lies the next frontier in automated homes: settling on a standard automating system in order to make sure consumers aren’t buying systems that will soon go the way of Betamax or the VCR. It would be a shame to teach your home to behave just the way you want it to, and then need to train it all over again.