Smart Home is one of the buzzwords in the last decade, but what exactly does it mean? A Smart Home refers to a home where certain electrical & electronic appliances are connected to the Internet, otherwise known as the Internet of Things (IoT) devices. These could be everything from light bulbs that turn on to your voice command to smart security cameras that give you live feed of your home on a mobile application.
Possibilities with a smart home are many; voice control through Artificial intelligence-powered voice assistants such as Apple Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Samsung Bixby, automating actions, such as having your window shades open to the morning sun & turning on the water heater to prepare your bath while playing your favourite music. With geo-based automation, your home can know when you are away or coming back home and change your thermostat reading to save energy. A smart home makes your life effortless & convenient and helps you focus on doing things that you love such as reading a book to your little daughter, learning a new language, working on a passion project.
What is a Smart Home?
In short, a smart home is any home with electrical or electronic devices that can be controlled remotely using smart devices or respond to the pre-set conditions like time-based schedules, geo-based triggers, or sensors output.
IoT or smart devices can also be controlled using voice commands. With wireless smart home devices, getting your home automated is not an expensive affair. A single room or a complete condo; you can customize the system to your requirements with wireless devices.
With a diverse array of devices ranging from smart lights to security systems; from motion sensors to video doorbells, there are very few appliances without a connected device counterpart.
Smart Home Connectivity
IoT devices can connect to the Internet in a few different ways, with Wi-Fi being the most common and Z-Wave, ZigBee, Bluetooth being the others. While all of them produce and enable wireless connections, the difference lies in how they connect to the Internet. They differ in the types of radio waves, range, speed, frequency, data rate, and cost.
Wi-Fi is the most popular connectivity protocol inside a home with nearly every home already having it. While Wi-Fi offers good data throughput and relatively good range, it consumes a lot of power compared to other protocols. It provides long-distance and wide-area coverage.
It is as popular as Wi-Fi. Most consumers are familiar with Bluetooth as it is built-in almost all smartphones in the market. Bluetooth makes secure connections to nearby devices. Its most common application is wireless connectivity to speakers, headsets. It is also used in car stereo systems, keyboards, and gaming consoles, and in smart home security.
Z-Wave is a proprietary wireless communications protocol that lets IoT devices connect over a mesh network using low-energy radio waves. It uses the unlicensed radio band near 900 MHz frequency. The band varies from region to region, so a Z-wave device that works in the USA will not work in India.
Zigbee is primarily designed to create personal area networks for home automation devices. It is low -power, low data rate, and close-proximity protocol. It operates at 2.4 GHz radio frequency of the ISM radio bands.
The problem with Zigbee and Z-Wave is that their signals aren’t directly compatible with a mainstream computing device, like a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. So bulbs and other smart devices need to communicate with a hub that is connected to your home Wi-Fi network via an Ethernet cable plugged into the Wi-Fi router.