Whether you’re Bill Gates automating a mansion, or Bob Smith automating a light switch, your smart home requires two categories of automation appliance. A controller is used to manage all automated items, and the items you wish to automate require an interface in order to communicate with the controller. In both cases, communication between the appliances and the controller is key – don’t get stuck with incompatible devices.
Planning ahead in home automation
The number of home automation products available on the market today is huge, but they’re not all compatible, and they may not be available in stores. Before you buy any smart home product, make sure that it is compatible with the controller that you already use, since the controller is typically the most expensive portion of your home automation setup.
If you haven’t chosen a controller yet, here are a few things to bear in mind:
- Cost – This applies not only to the cost of the controller, but also the cost of related products. If you find a great deal on a high-end controller, bear in mind that the compatible automation interface devices are likely to be more expensive as you continue to upgrade your home.
- Availability – How easy is it to find compatible products in your price range, that are easily integrated into your home?
- Compatibility – Is the controller compatible with any devices you already have, or want to install in your home?
- Simplicity – How hard is the controller to install and integrate into your home? Does it require professional installation, or is it ‘Plug-n-Play’?
- Scalability – If you start small, will it be easy to expand the automation to the rest of your house?
Home Automation: Compatibility is Key
According to Mary Miller, Marketing Director of the Z-Wave Alliance, compatibility is key. Offering a wide range of home automation products that integrate together was the “founding principle for this technology.” The Z-Wave Alliance will be announcing the 500th product with 100% interoperability next week – this means that if you choose a Z-wave controller, you have quite a large range of products to choose from. Any product, from any manufacturer, that has been tested and certified as part of the Z-wave alliance, is compatible with any other product that is part of the Z-wave alliance.
A large selection of compatible components, with a wide range of features and prices, from many different manufacturers, available in stores and online? Now that’s a smart home.