Have questions about getting started with smart home technology and feeling a little overwhelmed? You came to the right place, because we have answers. We recently spent a few days asking wanna-be smart home owners what they wanted to know. Here are answers to a few of the most common questions they had for us.
The answer to this could be an article in itself, but the short version is this: home control and home automation are the things that smart homes do. Home control means being able to operate your lights and locks and thermostats and so forth remotely, from a single device like your smartphone. Home automation is the process of programming those devices so that they operate automatically, in ways that best suit your lifestyle.
Absolutely! Technologies like Z-Wave work wirelessly, so while you may need to tap into the existing wiring in your home to replace your existing lights and thermostat with smart equivalents, you won't need to add any additional wiring.
The easiest way is to look for products with the Z-Wave logo. Z-Wave products are built to be interoperable. That doesn't mean that you're limited to only Z-Wave products, though. Some hubs, like SmartThings and Wink, support several different standards. So your best bet is to check the website for your hub's manufacturer and see which products it supports.
Most likely, no. Baby monitors in North America operate on frequencies around 49 MHz, 902 MHz, or 2.4 GHz, and those in the middle could potentially overlap with Z-Wave's operating frequency of 908.42 MHz. Your best bet, if you have concerns, is to opt for a baby monitor that has selectable channels, or buy one that operates at much lower or higher frequencies.
Not at all. While most smart home systems rely on your home network for some functions (like remote access and communications between your smartphone and smart hub), the bulk of the home control action takes place on a separate wireless network that doesn't interfere with Wi-Fi at all.
Any technology that uses the internet to communicate can be susceptible to intrusion. However, with Z-Wave, it’s very unlikely. With its 128-bit encryption and advanced security framework, a Z-Wave smart home system is likely more secure than your Wi-Fi network.
Not a chance. While we talk a lot about "smart" home technology, a Z-Wave system isn't really intelligent. The smarts come from the very simple programming you do: for example, "If I unlock the front door, turn on the foyer light." Beyond that, the system can't make its own decisions. You can use it to freak out your friends, though.
Still have questions? We have more answers. Be sure to check out the Z-Wave FAQ to learn more about getting started with your own smart home.
Z-Wave, smart home, smart hubs, how-to, learn about, one touch living, home automation
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