Z-Wave Smart Home Blog

Smart Home and Home Automation: What's The Difference?

Smart Home and Home Automation: What's The Difference?

Oftentimes you'll see the terms "smart home" and "home automation" used interchangeably, which may lead you to wonder why there are so many terms for the same concept (see also: "A Z-Wave hub, a gateway, a controller - what's the difference?"). In this case, though, there is actually a difference - although it may be pretty confusing if you're new to the tech game.

In simple terms: home automation is just one of the many things that smart homes do. If that doesn't make it any clearer, think of it like this: smart home technology is comprised of connected devices—which means that they rely on networking technology like Wi-Fi or specialized technologies like Z-Wave to connect and communicate with other devices in and outside of the home.

Examples of such devices include: light switches and dimmers that can be operated remotely; surveillance cameras that can be monitored from another room or another continent altogether; thermostats that can be programmed to follow a set schedule or adjusted on the fly from your smartphone; even energy meters that allow you to keep tabs on your total electricity consumption in real time. That's merely scratching the surface, though; really, any device in your home that you can operate, monitor, or receive information from without physically interacting with it could be considered part of the smart home.

So, what about home automation?

It's simple – all of your smart devices know how to talk to one another. And you can customize what they're saying & doing in a way that takes the stress, effort, and unpredictability out of your day-to-day routine.

Let's look at some examples.

  1. Using your smartphone to turn on the turn on the foyer light before you unlock the front door? That's the smart home at work. Programming your smart home hub so that it automatically turns on the foyer light if you unlock the front door after sunset? That's home automation!
  2. If you have a morning routine that involves both starting your favorite "wake up" station on Pandora and firing up the coffee pot, why not combine both actions into one simple button press? Or better yet, you can program your system in such a way that performing one of those actions automatically triggers the other.

Of course, for all home automation of this sort to actually work, you need to make sure that all of your smart home devices can communicate with one another and work together. And the easiest way to do that is to make sure that your new smart locks, smart lights, smart plugs, and smart home hub all carry the Z-Wave logo.

For more information on how you can get started with your smart home—or automate the smart home system you already have—check out the Z-Wave Resources Center.

Tags

home automation, smart home, Z-Wave, smart hubs, smart plugs, smart locks, smart home scenes, how-to





Preparing for Summer Vacation: Keep Your Home Safe While You're Away

Preparing for Summer Vacation: Keep Your Home Safe While You're Away

Are you ready for summer travel season? With Memorial Day on the horizon, and school almost finished for the year, many people already have vacation plans for the summer planned out. But have you thought about accommodations for your home while you’re away? Don’t let the threat of intruders take away from enjoying your time off. Utilize some smart home gear from Z-Wave and make your home look lived in – even if it’s not.

Z-Wave Smart Homes Help Keep Kids Safe

Z-Wave Smart Homes Help Keep Kids Safe

For most parents, the prospect of leaving their children at home alone can inspire fears ranging from minor mishaps to major disaster. There is always concern about what the kids are up to and who may be invited in when mom and dad are not home to supervise, or even the possibility of an accident occurring when the child is alone.

GE Z-Wave - On/Off Switch

Linear - Z-Wave Wall Mount Dimmer Switch




How the Integration of Smart Home Devices can Save Homeowners Money

How the Integration of Smart Home Devices can Save Homeowners Money

Looking to save money? Before you think about cutting back on dinners out or skimping on your next family vacation, you may want to look right inside your own home to discover where you may be wasting resources—and consequently, money. For instance, electricity powers dozens of machines in our homes

Tips for Staying Safe by Getting Smart for Hurricane Season

Tips for Staying Safe by Getting Smart for Hurricane Season

Though the North Atlantic hurricane season officially kicks off on June 1 every year, the threat of tropical weather really starts to kick into high gear in August and September. So if you live anywhere near the coastal regions likely to be struck by a severe weather, it pays to be extra prepared this time of year.

Piece of Cake - AT&T Digital Life

IFA 2015 LG - Smart Home




Smarten Up Your Home for Home Safety Month

Smarten Up Your Home for Home Safety Month

For many, home safety and security are intertwined. Seeking peace of mind, homeowners often look for smart home solutions that protect not only their most cherished valuables, but also the home itself and everyone in it.

Deck the Halls with a Z-Wave Smart Home!

Deck the Halls with a Z-Wave Smart Home!

Holiday decorating – whether you have a small set up or a full blown light show in your front yard – is part of getting in the holiday spirit. But it doesn't have to be hard – some quick smart home gear can be you started!

Get Smart With Stacey: How Do I Set Up Automatic Blinds?

PC Mag

I have Somfy motorized blinds, and I ended up buying a Z-wave controller that translates Somfy's proprietary protocol to Z-wave so I could control it with the Echo, $179.99 at Amazon using a hub like SmartThings or Wink, $60.28 at Amazon for voice control.

7 Ways to Save Energy (and Money)

Techlicious

One of the best reasons for upgrading your home with smart devices is to conserve energy (and money spent on energy bills). And there's no better time than now

Build first, automate later: how to approach a smart home retrofit

Connected Lifestyle

A home automation system that runs across a whole house will benefit from a central processing unit that can act as a gateway for – and converse with – each of the sensors, devices and interfaces in the property.

Half of Homeowners Incorporate Smart Home Tech in Renovations, Houzz Survey Finds

ElectronicHouse

The most popular area for new smart systems or devices to appear is home security or safety upgrades, the study found. One-fourth of renovating homeowners install smart products for this area.

What's New

Three Smart Security Features for Your Front Porch

Alarm.com

The traditional American front porch isn't just a timeless scene. It's also a functional part of your home, where safety, security and convenience are paramount. A few subtle 21st century additions can really enhance your porch, making it an even more enjoyable area to use.

Security for Smart Homes: Important Things to Consider

Tech.Co

And while home security systems were once complicated and a bit vexing, newer technologies have made them simple and even smarter.

Three of the Best Uses for Smart Home Technology

House O Matic

Smart home technology is still shiny and new, and people are adapting to it more and more every day.

Two Things to Look For When Buying a Smart Switch or Outlet: Smart Home

C|Net

Z-Wave and ZigBee are both radio protocols that require a hub of some sort to translate the language of the device to a language your phone can understand. These plugs are often more affordable if you already use a platform like SmartThings or Wink.