Smart homes are not dreams anymore, neither are they only reserved for the eminently rich. Home Automation solutions are increasingly becoming affordable and practical for tech enthusiasts around the world who are looking to save on time and optimize their lives.
They are a practical and sustainable investment with great returns in the way of cost savings as well as convenience. So what do you need to get started? First things first, you’ll have to decide on your smart home ecosystem. Choosing the right smart home ecosystem is a serious decision because all your hardware will you unified by it.
Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit and Samsung SmartThings are the major ecosystem players in the connected home arena.
Alexa, Amazon’s Virtual Assistant is currently the best-selling and most affordable voice assistant in the market. Alexa works through its brand of Echo products and host of other smart speakers with Alexa enabled. Apart from playing your favourite music, reading news it also can switch on/off your lights and appliances (this will need smart switches). Alexa is one of the most prevalent ecosystems on the market with a wide range of compatible devices such as thermostats (Ecobee4), lights, TVs (Fire TV Cube and Fire TV Editions) and more.
While some are smart speakers and devices with Alexa built-in, the others are compatible devices that work with Alexa. The second type of devices works when controlled using voice from another Alexa device. Alexa can identify and control connected compatible devices once you enable skill of the smart device.
Much like Alexa, Google Assistant that works through the Google Home and other speakers powered by Google Assistant delivers an unmatchable experience of a smart home being controlled by your voice alone. All Android smartphones come with a built-in Google Assistant, that can pretty much do everything you want it to do, play music, get news updates, take calls, sends messages, control smart home gadgets.
Much like Alexa, Google has devices built-in with the Assistant and devices that can be controlled by it. The major driving factor behind the success of the Google Home is that it is the default assistant of Android users who comprise 80% of the smartphone market. With Google Assistant being the default voice assistant in all android devices and people’s familiarity with the app gives it an edge over alexa. The Assistant works in tandem with the Google Home app on Android or iOs device. To add new device you just need to simply tap add device button and follow instructions.
Apple Home Kit
HomeKit is Apple technology platform that provides an easy, secure way to control your home’s lights, doors, thermostats, and more from your iPhone, iPad, iPod, Airpods and other Apple devices. HomeKit brings together all compatible smart home devices in single interface “Home” and they sync with each other and work in a combination. This makes HomeKit one of the best ecosystems on the market. What’s even better is that everything is all connected devices can be controlled from the Home app on iOS, iPadOS or macOS devices and it also works with Siri. For something to work with Siri, the Home app, and Homekit, it needs to have a ‘Works with HomeKit’ badge on the packaging (or on the online listing).
The Home app has three sections to it: Home lists all your smart home devices, with your selected favourites up top; Rooms groups devices in locations around your house; and Automation allows you to automate smart home behaviours.
The selection of devices that works with HomeKit isn’t as comprehensive as Alexa or Google Assistant but quality products are being added to the list all the time. HomeKit itself is a protocol which all the devices need to comply to get access to it and make them work with all Apple products. Apple has now partnered with Samsung, LG, Sony and Vizio to bring HomeKit support to their TVs, for example, while the AirPlay streaming standard now supports more non-Apple devices.
Bixby isn’t quite yet on the level of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, or even Siri, but it works well for controlling devices around the home, and it’s getting smarter all the time. The SmartThings app for both Android and iOS devices comes with a clean interface and layout that makes it easy to control individual devices as well as group them together in rooms.
If you already own Samsung devices – like a TV or a phone – then SmartThings is worth considering as a home platform. It’s all very simple to set up and use.
Interoperability is the key when buying smart home devices
Choosing the right smart home ecosystem is your decision to make. However, no matter which ecosystem you choose, you’ll need a home automation solution to make your dreams of a smart home come true. With so many options available, you have to pick a system that best suits your existing setup and the devices that you use in your house. The key term here is interoperability, the ability to support smart devices across all the major smart device brands. To put it simply, any voice assistant from any ecosystem (be it Apple, Google, Amazon or Samsung) should be able to control your lights and other appliances.
Wozart’s Aura is the only Indian smart switch officially licensed and compatible with the Apple HomeKit. Aura also works with other major smart home ecosystems Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Samsung SmartThings.
With Aura, you can choose to mix and match your smart appliances, from lights, curtains, speakers, ACs, and more. You can rest easy knowing that Aura can support all your appliances with ease. Aura fits into your existing switchboards seamlessly without needing any wiring changes or hassle. Aura provides an array of smart features such as mood-setting, voice control, automation of appliances based on time, geo-location and much more.
Wozart Aura helps you get the best out of whichever ecosystem you choose.