Smart home solutions are a fast-growing and innovative area in the technological world. Smart homes with interconnected devices and household appliances are becoming part of people’s daily lives. It allows users to save time, money, and energy.
With advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, the domestic hardware and software market is full of new opportunities.
It was predicted that 15% of households in the world would have smart home devices implemented by 2023. In this article, we would like to describe smart home technologies, how they work, the types of smart homes, and the advantages and disadvantages of using them.
What Is Home Automation?
Home automation, also known as smart home technology, is a fast-growing and popular industry around the world. It allows homeowners to control electronic devices remotely, for instance, with the help of a mobile phone.
The devices are connected to the internet, and they can trigger one another; therefore, there is no need to control them manually. You may put your lights on a schedule so they turn off when you go to bed, or you can also have your thermostat turn on the air conditioner at any convenient time.
Smart house technology makes people’s lives comfortable. Another benefit is that it allows you to cut your utility costs thanks to saving energy and using it carefully. Home automation technology brings security to homeowners. With the help of Internet of Things devices like cameras, motion detection trackers make people feel 100% safe in their homes. However, what is smart home technology? To answer this question, first we need to understand the definition of IoT devices.
What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things, known as IoT, refers to any device linked to the Internet (e.g. a smart bulb turns on or off via an app). Home automation devices are IoT devices that can be automated to activate each another. As a result, IoT refers to the devices themselves, while home automation is what you can do with the IoT devices to make your quality of life better.
How Smart Homes Work
To answer the question of how smart homes work, we have to start with home automation protocols. There are multiple protocols that allow home automation technologies to work. They differ from country to country or from company to company.
Home automation setups include different IoT devices as part of the Internet of Things.
A number of wireless protocols have been developed for home automation usage, including:
Electronic interface controllers (Alexa or Google Assistant) manage the devices remotely. Many of these IoT devices have sensors that monitor changes in motion, temperature, and light so the user can access data about the device’s surroundings.
WiFi is not an alien technology for many users. We have experience with WiFi connecting our laptops, tablets, or smartphones to the Internet. WiFi demands more power because this protocol is often used to sustain high-bandwidth connections. A smart home automation setup might need WiFi for some higher-data applications.
Bluetooth is a widely used technology that usually connects devices such as external speakers or wireless headphones to the smartphone. In terms of smart home technology, Bluetooth is a great choice, and since developers continue to improve it with a data rate increase from 1 Mbit/s to 2 Mbit/s between Bluetooth versions 4 and 5.
ZigBee is one of the most prominent radio networks in smart home technologies. The ZigBee protocol, with its low-power specification based on the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) 802.15.4 standard for personal area networks, provides media access control. In the United States, it works in the 915 MHz band. It is suitable for mesh networking.
With the help of mesh networking, your devices have multiple channels to communicate over, letting each piece of equipment connect with one another. A prominent benefit of using ZigBee is that it uses less power to get better coverage in the home. In practice, however, ZigBee is more versatile for short-range connections.
Like ZigBee, Z-Wave is a radio network. It uses a Source Routing Algorithm to define the fastest route for messages. Each Z-Wave device is embedded with a code, and when the device is plugged into the system, the network controller recognizes the code, determines its location, and adds it to the network.
As soon as the command comes through, the controller uses the algorithm to decide how the message should be sent. The routing usually takes up a lot of memory on a network; Z-Wave has a hierarchy between devices.
The ANT network usually works in the 2.4 GHz band and is an ultra-low-power protocol for wireless connections. It is quite similar to Bluetooth, but it uses a proprietary protocol that is commonly used in smart home technology.
Advantages of Smart Home
Smart home technology systems provide users with convenience and a comfortable life. It allows homeowners not to use many devices separately but with the help of a smartphone or tablet. Since the devices are connected to a portable device, users can get notifications and updates. For the cost of setting up the smart system, homeowners can benefit from significant cost savings. Appliances and electronics can be used more efficiently, lowering energy costs.
We can point out six main benefits of using smart home technology.
1. Enhanced Home Security
Integrating security and surveillance features into the smart home network noticeably increases your home’s safety. Home automation systems can connect motion detectors, surveillance cameras, and automated door locks. Homeowners can activate them on one device. Furthermore, homeowners can receive security alerts on different devices and monitor activities in real-time.
2. Managing All Devices from One Place
Technology in smart homes allows for managing home devices from one place (mobile phone, tablet). In practice, users have to learn how to use one application on a smartphone or tablet, and they will be able to tap into numerous functions and devices in their homes.
Home automation technologies provide flexibility for new devices and appliances. Beyond the current condition of your devices, you will be able to add newer ones to your suite of devices as you replace older ones. Smart home systems allow you to integrate gadgets seamlessly and keep upgrading to the latest lifestyle technology.
4. Remote control
Smart technologies for the home give users the power to control their home’s functions and security from any distance. You will never need to worry whether your lights are on or your water tap is not properly closed. Besides, with the ability to control and monitor your home from any place in the world, there is no need for homeowners to be concerned about home security.
5. Improved energy efficiency
How smart homes work makes it possible to make your home more energy-efficient. The technology in smart homes gives users precise control over heating and cooling. For instance, a smart programmable thermostat learns your schedule and temperature preferences and later suggests the most energy-efficient settings.
6. Advanced appliance functionality
Smart home software helps homeowners run their appliances more effectively. To illustrate the point, a smart TV will help you find better apps to locate your favorite programs, or a smart oven will assist you with cooking. In the long run, connecting your devices with smart home automation technology will improve your devices’ effectiveness.
Disadvantages of Smart Home
Smart home technology is innovative and creates multiple opportunities for users. However, at the same time, it is exposed to certain inconveniences.
It may pose a security risk as products are connected to networks and can be hacked. Homeowners may also need extra work to track additional passwords and monitor product security.
We can define three main disadvantages of smart home technology: cost, dependency on the internet, and specialists.
Smart Home Technology Stack
The IoT technology stack refers to the multiple layers of hardware, software, and communication technologies that connect objects over the internet to monitor or control them.
The following layers make up the IoT technology stack:
While choosing the company to outsource your IoT smart home app, analyze your needs and compare them with what the company offers. Your best choice is an experienced software development company with subtle expertise in IoT software solutions.
Smart Home Types
Nearly every aspect of life where technology has come into the domestic space (entertainment centers, kitchen appliances, lightbulbs, security devices) already has a smart home alternative. According to the data, the number of smart homes is forecast to grow and surpass the 350 million mark by 2023.
Smart speakers are the most widely known market segment, of which around 320 million were in use in 2020. The size of the installed base is set to double by 2024. Video entertainment systems, such as smart TVs, home monitoring and security systems, and smart appliances are other major segments of the smart home market.
Is Home Automation Safe?
Since home automation often requires a live network connection, it can be hacked if the security protocol of the smart home product has inadequate security protocols. It is very important to find a company that provides high-quality security services. According to the data, 40.8% of smart homes own one or more vulnerable devices connected to their system. If just one of these devices suffers a cyberattack, the entire household could be at risk for several security problems.
With the help of the internet and Bluetooth, we can control smart home elements such as cameras, security systems, or appliances. Developers have upgraded the smart home elements’ authentication layer and security algorithms. Most of them are protected by passwords or biometrics. As a result, the chances of the smart home being hacked are very low. However, a few precautions are still necessary.
Wrapping Up: The trend toward smart home technologies will only continue to increase. We can expect more IoT devices in people’s daily lives. Smart home technologies can be installed with the help of a wireless network or using hardwired systems.
Smart home control technologies improve the quality of life. As well as guaranteeing the security of your home, they can boost homeowners’ health. Thus, choosing a secure and experienced software development company is important.