I'm an engineer who loves to tinker – but if you told me I'd have to swap out all my smart home products every couple of years the way I do my smartphone, I'd say that's not very smart at all.
Some recent articles fret that's what the future holds for smart homes as the so-called Internet of Things leads to more homes with smart devices such as locks, thermostats and switches. They raise the specter of homeowners getting stuck with pricey doorstops because either their gear becomes outdated or their service provider pulls the plug.
It doesn't have to be like that.
The best smart homes require a small amount of counter-intuitive thinking on the part of the folks (like me) who make the products. Many players in home technology focus too heavily on the technology and forgetting the home.
Smart home technology needs to be less like mobile technology – although the interaction between the two makes home automation compelling – and more like appliances. People have gotten used to getting a new phone every few years but expect their refrigerator or furnace to last a decade or more.
Smart home providers can learn from the appliance mindset. At Nexia, for example, we learned a great deal from our sister companies within Ingersoll Rand – including Trane and American Standard – and our partners at venerable manufacturers such as Schlage and General Electric. While smart home products require sophisticated engineering and industrial design, they should be simple enough to operate without instruction and reliable enough to last for years.
Door locks, thermostats and switches should work regardless of whether they are connected to the Internet. (Although internet connectivity unlocks powerful features that homeowners find appealing.) But if someone doesn't want to fumble for the phone to turn off the bedside lamp, they should be able to turn it off manually. Even if (heaven forbid) Nexia ever suffers an outage or goes out of business, locks connected to our system can still unlock with a key or the battery-powered keypad, and thermostats can be set manually.
Another key aspect to making smart home products outlast ever-shorter technology cycles is to keep most of the computing power in the cloud. At Nexia, the majority of our devices talk to each other via Z-Wave – a secure, low-power standard used by thousands of products from the best manufacturers. Most of what makes them smart happens over the internet on our servers, where we can update the software regularly and make sure everything moves forward with new technology.
When Amazon unveiled its Echo voice-controlled assistant, our engineers were able to integrate Nexia seamlessly with it. That allowed Nexia users with an Echo to add voice control without changing a single device in their home. The same is true with new geo-fencing features that allow Nexia users to have their home respond in different ways depending upon the person's physical location– such as lowering the thermostat when they leave work or automatically locking the door when they are 100 yards from the house.
In other words, an essential feature in building a long-lasting smart home is to not make it too clever for its own good – with proprietary standards or an inability to work offline. That just sets the stage for disappointment if homeowners choose a system that's obsolete in a few months or won't let them set the thermostat in the dead of winter.
Good smart home technology leverages the best aspects of the home and technology. It provides reliable, long lasting devices and cloud-based software that continuously delivers upgrades to expand devices capabilities over time. That's smart.
Nexia Home Intelligence, Smart Homes, Z-Wave, Amazon Echo, voice control
Vacation properties can provide a holiday oasis for families and friends while being used. But what happens during the rest of the year? Homes often sit unoccupied for long periods of time and until recently, it was hard to maintain and monitor without hiring someone local or spending money on an expensive security system.
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 Quick Overview by Jasco
If you're new to the world of smart home, you may have heard the term hub used frequently and wondered what it is. A hub is considered the brain of your smart home
Sometimes the smart home can feel pretty futuristic, but often new tech comes along that is aimed at making every day task much simpler. Can you imagine walking into your house, and quickly gesturing at your wall to turn your lights and music on?
Remote Home Security - ADT Pulse
FIBARO Home Automation System
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
If you've been thinking about adding some smarts to your home, you may have already researched light and dimmers, door locks and thermostats—all of the various bits and pieces that go into creating a connected home experience. But how do you get all of this stuff to talk to each other and create a completely integrated smart home system? Do you need a hub, gateway, or controller?
Smart home technology is still shiny and new, and people are adapting to it more and more every day.
If you're still manually turning your lights on and off, 2016 should be the year you finally dare to embrace home automation. Smart home solutions can help you streamline your life to be more efficient and productive. Plus, with fewer home tasks to worry about, you'll end up with more time, energy, and money for the things that really matter.
One benefit of a connected home is that it should (asuming the system is working) let you know when there's a problem, even if you're not there. It's one reason those with vacation homes are installing smart leak detectors, Wi-Fi-enabled cameras, and so on. And just because your second home is on wheels, it doesn't mean having devices that keep an eye on things is any less helpful.
The Piper NV ticks a lot of boxes and goes beyond a lot of the other offerings out there. The app also works with Z-Wave devices. That means if you have any other Z-Wave smart home devices, like plug sockets or smart lights, you can control them all through your Piper app too.
It is good to realize that a smart home is not just mere product of a person whims and caprices. Like your smart phones and watches, a smart home may also serve you beyond convenience. And here below are some of the benefits of turning your home into a smart home.
What will really set you apart from your neighbors is installing a system that comes complete with an accompanying mobile app. The GE Z-Wave Wireless Lighting Control Outdoor Module does exactly that. When guests are leaving, you can wow them with a simple tap on your smart device.
Of the key drivers of smart homes is its ability to offer money and energy saving options. This is individually rewarding, but it is also good for the planet. As more and more benefits are offered to home and business owners that find ways to reserve the limited resources of Earth, smart home technology stands out as a green solution.
The new motorized deadbolts utilize the Z-Wave wireless protocol to enable true remote locking and unlocking. This allows homeowners to remotely access and control the lock from anywhere in the world, using a smartphone, tablet or Internet connected device.