Connected Homes, Smart Homes, Home Automation are the new buzz words we hear and see these days in every part of the world. The U.S. has the highest smart home penetration rate, followed by Japan and Germany. The global smart home market is forecast to reach a value of more than 40 billion U.S. dollars by 2020. No wonder that all major players such as Apple, Google and Amazon besides other smaller players are scurrying for their share of the Home Automation pie. Within the last few years there has been a phenomenal growth in the number and range of smart home devices introduced in the market.
As the choice of devices gets wider the customers are to contend with terms like Bluetooth, WiFi, Zigbee, Z-wave and Thread; they are confronted with questions like “Where to start? and How do I get there?”. ATKNSN’s recommendation and short answer to that question would be, if you are a casual player with a limited plan say one or two devices then you could opt for the WiFi and Bluetooth category. But if you are serious about moving forward, shifting to a Smart Home and tap on to any or all of its beneficial features viz., enhanced ambience, comfort, health, safety, security, energy saving, assisted living & elderly care then it would be best for you to opt for a system with a Zigbee or Z-wave or Thread communication protocol.
The reasoning behind this recommendation – two serious issues one has to contend with if Wireless and Bluetooth devices are used – poor communication range and poor battery life. These devices have to be in close proximity and maintain line of sight to be able to communicate with each other. Frequent battery replacements and the associated costs is another aspect users of these devices have to contend with. Besides users of these type of devices have to install and mess around with separate Apps to control each of these devices taking up space in the phone.
The advantages with Z-wave, Zigbee and Thread protocol systems are two fold. Firstly, the scalability; one can start with a few devices and scale it up to a full fledged solution in one or several stages any time later by adding more devices; the Hub remains the same. Secondly, this type of a Home Automation system can be controlled through one single App; in essence you have a dashboard view of what is going on in your home or office in one screen. The Z-wave, Zigbee and Thread devices need a Home Automation Hub or Controller which is central to the entire system and therefore the Hub should be the first thing the buyer should decide. (Thread is a very recent addition and not many devices are available in the market yet). Based on choice of Hub the lamps, sensors and other devices that match the protocol should be chosen. To the advantage of the consumers many manufacturers have introduced Hubs that are compatible with both Z-wave and Zigbee protocols. Therefore one could have a combination of devices installed in the same Home Automation network.
One other piece of information that consumers should be aware of is with reference to the frequency of communication. Zigbee protocol uses one single frequency of communication for Home Automation irrespective of the region of the world. But the Z-wave protocol has adopted different frequencies for different regions of the world. Therefore the Hub and the devices should be of the same frequency in order to be able to communicate with each other. As an example, a Hub bought in the USA will not communicate with devices bought in EU because they come under different frequency zones. This aspect should be confirmed while purchase is made; but ATKNSN online store is designed to offer you Hubs and devices with the right frequency depending on your geographical location.
To summarise, our recommendation would be to go for a full fledged Home Automation system with a Hub and compatible devices; try out a few DIY packages and expand as you get comfortable. It is a lot of fun and very fulfilling experience you will never regret. Do visit ATKNSN online store and make your choice. If you need any additional information feel free to contact us through the support link on our online store.
We at ATKNSN will be happy to assist you enhance your lifestyle, comfort and make your home safe to you and your family by converting your home to a Smart Home.