Home Automation Need Not Be Complicated

Home Automation Need Not Be Complicated

Ben Dyer, Austin, TX: The watch pictured above is a lot more complicated than home automation. It’s a work of art, but you’ll have a steep learning curve if you add it to your collection and want to know what time it is. This article will guide you to a much simpler experience with very meaningful benefits.

We’re all enjoying the dawn of the “Internet of Things” — for example where your fitness band alerts your refrigerator that you’re hungry. The number of products and services in this arena grows by the day as more and more venture capital is being allocated to make them possible. This trend includes all the “smart home” and “home automation” products, for which you are no doubt being bombarded by advertisements. When you are ready to enjoy in your own property the benefits of this wave of technology, here are our suggestions:

Be wary of gadgets. The Nest thermostat created a big win for investors when it became part of Google, and it’s a fine, elegantly designed device. Many of my early-adopter friends have bought them just for the pleasure of looking at them. You can now buy $100 light switches with iPhone-screen-like glass controls. If you’re lonely, you can install a Honeywell thermostat you can talk to. If you’re the type of person who likes to be first in line at the Apple store when a new generation iPad is released, these will no doubt be appealing. However, you can spend a great deal of money filling up your home with such nifty appliances all standing alone and each requiring its own app and each having its own nuances for you to learn. I’m not sure such a collection makes your home smarter, even though it may be entertaining to behold.

Get connected. The highest calling of the Internet of Things is connecting devices that serve you conveniently and efficiently. When you corral all your home automation products into one app or one “dashboard” where you can see the full picture and take action accordingly, your life is a lot simpler. That’s exactly what BeHome247 does. We’re at the core a software company. We work with great partners to make it easy for you to buy intelligent locks, thermostats, cameras, and many other sensors, but the value we bring is in our software. If you’re inviting 30 friends to a party, chances are you want to send all of them the same invitation and instructions and not have to create a special message via a special channel for each one. Similarly, we let you interact with all your home automation devices as a group and not have to repeat the same actions over and over.

It’s not a technology decision. There are several standards from which to choose in connecting your home automation devices. You might think it’s easiest to hook them all up to you home WIFI network, like your printer or scanner perhaps, and be up and running. Or, perhaps the Bluetooth that connects your phone to your car is an easy way to go. Both are part of the Internet of Things, but we currently prefer a popular standard called Z-Wave. Our general view is that WIFI shifts too much power consumption and cost to individual devices, and Bluetooth has limited range and quickly runs out of steam when used as a network backbone. Z-Wave requires only that one very simple and inexpensive control box be plugged into your WIFI router, and you can scatter low-energy and low-cost devices throughout the home. In fact, the more devices you have, the better they can communicate with each other via Z-Wave. There’s a huge catalog of Z-Wave compatible devices, so you can be very smart about making your home smarter and always have access to whatever new function you might want to try. We will always support the best and most cost-effective technology available, so you can let us worry about that and give you something you can use about as easily as that refrigerator that is beckoning you. And, you will pocket some savings that you can use to buy yourself that fancy watch above.

Please explore our website, particularly the videos, for more information.

Image By Greubel Forsey.Underthedial at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons.