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What Is A Smart Home and How Does It Work

A smart home provides many conveniences that are more than conveniences: It offers efficiency, security and comfort whether you are home or not. Smart homes may have some or all electronics, including lighting and security, that communicate with each other or may be controlled remotely. Heating, entertainment, televisions, air conditioning, security systems, camera system and computers are also included as “smart” technology.  So, what is a smart home and how does it work?

How Does a Smart Home Work?

The homeowner must install electronics with smart capabilities, such as a smart TV, smart refrigerator and smart security systems. Four different protocols power the communications: X10, UPB, Z-wave and EnOcean. If you choose products with the same protocol, not only will they be able to communicate with your cell phone and the internet, but they’ll be able to communicate with each other. Various manufacturers carry all of these products, so you don’t have to worry about non-competitive pricing.

For example, all products that have the X10 protocol are able to communicate with each other over your home’s existing electrical wires. They may have remote controls or keypads for transmitters. The transmitter sends an alert to the system that is going to issue a command. The device’s ID unit number receives the command. The code for the command, such as “turn on” or “turn off” is received by the device. The X10 protocol for smart homes systems is an older protocol that was created in 1975 in Scotland and is still used today.

Since using existing wiring has its limitations such as noise in the line that may prevent a command from going through, the newer technology uses a combination of several means of communication, including the wiring in your house or uses one other type of communication. Most of the newer systems use radio waves to communicate – just like WiFi and Bluetooth. However, WiFi and Bluetooth also have limitations with communication due to interference.

Insteon uses a dual-mesh network for its smart homes technology. If one method of communication doesn’t work, it will try another. The message is broadcast so that all appliances using this protocol pick up the message. Those appliances then send the message to the proper device. Thus, the more devices you have with Insteon, the stronger the signal.

Benefits of Smart Homes

The smart home definition means that you have at least one electronic device that uses smart technology. Preferably, you have several smart devices that make life safer and more convenient for you. Smart home automation allows you to:

  • Control devices remotely.
  • Save energy.
  • Ensure that your home is safe. For example, if you forgot to lock the door, a smart home, with the proper equipment, is able to lock the door with a command from your smartphone.
  • Increase the security of your home.
  • Enjoy the conveniences of turning lights on and off without having to get up, see what’s in a refrigerator without opening it, knowing when maintenance is due on certain electronics and saving on water if you have a smart washer and smart dishwasher.
  • Feed pets on schedule.
  • Create mood lighting.
  • Unlock the doors as you approach with an armload of groceries.
  • Warm up the bedroom before you get up.
  • Program televisions and computers to monitor children’s usage.

Of course there are advantages and disadvantages of smart homes. Since the system needs electricity to work, if the power goes out, you may not be able to use your smart devices unless you are hooked up to a generator. Just like with cell phones, signals may be interrupted or may be nonexistent due to noise in the lines or other technical difficulties.

Smart Home Systems Reviews

Before investing in smart technology, read smart home reviews on various equipment to determine which is the best technology for you. Alexa, the Amazon Cloud Cam, LifX Color 1000, Philips Hue White LED starter kit and many other technologies are available and have reviews from users so that you are more informed before you purchase smart appliances.

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About The Author
Gus Testa

Gus Testa, Top Realtor with On Point Carolinas Realty, LLC, has been in real estate sales and management since 1977. In 1993, after leaving family, friends and his owned real estate franchise firm behind, he and his wife Beth made the decision to “head South” with their 2 sons. Since that time there has been no looking back. Gus immediately began working for a local and well respected new home builder, building beautiful neighborhoods in and around the Charlotte area. In his first year of new home sales he was awarded “Rookie of the Year” for the highest volume of sales for the company. Then in 2002, it was time to move on and Gus joined major developer Crescent Resources as one of their Residential Sales Associates. From 2002 through 2012, Gus along with his business partner Kim McBee, continually sold several million dollars in volume and became very familiar with the movers and shakers in the Real Estate industry in and around the Lake Norman area, the Charlotte area and the Northern most portions of South Carolina. In 2013 Gus and Kim partnered with a local developer to open On Point Carolinas Realty, LLC; a full service real estate company, listing and selling new and re-sale homes and home sites. Gus holds licenses in both North and South Carolina.

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