Doesn’t it seem that everyone you speak to about upgrading your home has a different bunch of buzzwords for you to get your head around? Some talk of connected homes and the Internet of things, other of home automation and others yet of smart homes and smart tech.
Let’s be honest:
That only raises more questions than it answers:
Aren’t they all just the same thing?
If not, what’s the difference?
And, of course, the million-dollar question:
How do these differences determine the kind of technology you should be integrating into your home?
It’s confusing, right?
But it doesn’t have to be.
Today, we dive into the differences between a smart home, a connected home, and home automation and explain what these differences mean for you as a homeowner.
A brief history of home automation
Home automation has been relatively an vogue over the last couple of years. Yet despite its recent run of popularity, the term is hardly a new one.
In the late 1970s, the X10 home automation system first came available, allowing for remote control of various home appliances.
The concept of home automation was developed further in the 80s and 90s, but it wasn’t until recent years that it really began to take off.
Despite that, little has changed in the core purpose of a home automation system:
Take multiple aspects of the home experience (such as climate control, entertainment, lighting, and security) and manage them from a single device.
Home automation vs. smart home
Home automation still has a reputation as being at the higher-end of the price scale.
That reputation isn’t entirely unwarranted.
Typically home automation requires a sizeable space set aside for a huge server and lots of wiring to connect the whole thing together.
The need for that kind of space, plus the price of home automation systems, make them a pretty expensive option.
There is an alternative, however.
Smart home technology can achieve much of the same results, albeit through stand-alone devices.
You could, for example, have an intelligent lighting system that automatically raises the lights as night falls, or lowers them when you fire up a movie on your home cinema installation.
In other words:
Smart home technology can automate all of the same features controlled by home automation, but has two clear advantages:
1: Devices can be set to run on autopilot.
2: Devices can be used without expensive servers.
An affordable option sure, but what happens when you want the best of both worlds?
Connected homes – An ideal middle ground
In the basic sense of the term, a connected home is exactly what it sounds like:
An infrastructure set up so that smart devices can connect to the Internet.
This could be as simple as connecting a smart TV to access online features or hooking up your home security so it can stream a live feed that you can access from anywhere in the world.
Of course, one advantage of connecting your devices is that it can create opportunities to control them remotely, meaning you get the benefit of automated processes with the option to control, manage, and fine-tune as your needs change.
Which is the best choice for my property?
A few smart home devices can go a long way in adding convenience, luxury and a certain sense of style to your home.
From there, it doesn’t take much to connect those devices to a secure internet connection, moving into a fully connected home that offers even more flexibility and functionality.
If you do have the budget and the space to go all out with a full home automation system, the benefits of living in a fully integrated home where every device can be managed at the click of a button make the long-term investment more than worth it.