Wireless home automation products, such as wireless light switches, dimmers, thermostats and electric meters, are making it easier for homeowners to turn their existing home into a smart home. Such products allow homeowners to gain remote control of their lighting, heating, cooling, entertainment and security systems. Using wireless home automation products, you can enable capabilities that, for instance, let you turn on and turn off all the lights in your home, adjust temperature settings and lock all doors in your home using a single remote control device.
Greater Flexibility Than X10-Based Technologies
Wireless home automation products offer greater flexibility than smart home products based on the X10 protocol, which is the most commonly used technology in current generation smart home products. One reason why X10 products have been popular for so long is because they let homeowners automate their homes using the existing wiring in their homes. Wireless automation products go one step further by eliminating the need for wires entirely. Instead, they use radio frequency (RF) technology to communicate with each other and to receive and respond to user commands.
Z-Wave and Zigbee
Many vendors these days have begun selling wireless home automation kits that you can use to quickly replace all of your existing switches, outlets dimmers, thermostats and other hardware. Most such wireless products are based either on Z-Wave technology or on Zigbee technology. Both are lightweight wireless standards that have been optimized for smart home applications. Products based on these standards communicate with each other using radio frequency technology. They can be remotely controlled using an RF remote control that is not very different from the remote used for most standard TVs.
Many vendors also allow you to control wireless systems using key fobs or your smart phone from distances of up to 150 feet away. A growing number of wireless home automation products are also IP-enabled. That means you can control and manage them over the Internet. For example, with an IP-enabled lighting or heating system, you would be able to log in via the Web from anywhere in the world and turn on the lights in your home, or adjust your thermostat settings from thousands of miles away.
Wireless home automation products are often easy to install. Typically all you would really need to do is to remove your existing manual switches, outlets and other controls and replace them with their wireless counterparts. You can then connect as many or as few of these devices together as you want, and control them all as one unit or as separate units. For example, some people connect their garage door opener to the lights inside the house, thus, when the garage door is opened, all the lights in the home come on automatically. Others might set up their system so that, when they leave for work, the lighting is automatically turned off, the thermostat is adjusted and the security alarm is turned on.
Have a Plan
Before deploying wireless automation technology it is a good idea to have a clear understanding of your objectives and a strategy for attaining those objectives. Often, people who install home automation technologies either do it on a system-by-system basis or on a room by room basis. By doing it this way, you reduce unnecessary complexity and cost. Wireless home automation systems offer a relatively inexpensive way to make your home more efficient and high-tech, but, as with any new technology, you need to take the time to understand it before you or any home alarm companies install it.