The Internet of Things
What Is it, and Why It is Important?
We’re sure you’ve heard about the Internet of Things (IoT). You may have a vague idea that it describes a worldwide network of smart devices. And it is about that. Your smartphone that you probably check every 10 minutes is one of those smart devices.
But IoT is about much more. And there are two sides to it; consumer devices and devices used in business and industrial applications. Since a big part of our business is in home automation, we’re going to look at IoT from the point of view of the smart home.
So let’s demystify the Internet of Things as it relates to the smart home. With the answers to these questions, you can get a better idea of what IoT is and how it can affect your home in Southlake.
What Exactly Is The Internet of Things?
While it’s a broad term, from the smart home point of view it refers to common home devices that we’re used to that now have intelligence and connectivity built into them. They can now talk to each other and connect with other devices and services over the Internet.
What Are Those Smart Devices?
There’s quite a few. Thermostats like Nest, lights and switches from a variety of vendors like Philips and Lutron, locks, electric plugs, cameras, and sensors for light, temperature, humidity, and more. Lately, appliances are getting into the IoT game, like smart refrigerators, washing machines, and coffeemakers. And of course, connected AV equipment like receivers, Apple TV, Roku, and smart speakers powered by Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home.
What Makes a Smart Home?
Making a home “smart” is more than just having a collection of intelligent devices. It’s about making them all work in concert to automate everyday tasks and functions, making your life easier.
What Are the Benefits of a Smart Home?
There are many! Convenience, energy savings, and security are three top benefits. You can also add sheer luxury when everything is coordinated to work together – like a smart thermostat, motorized shades, and lighting.
How Do the Devices Connect to Each Other?
There are a few main technologies employed, depending on the size and power requirements of the device, the amount of data it sends and receives, and the distance from it and something it needs to communicate with.
Wi-Fi is for devices that use a lot of data – like a smart security camera sending video. Bluetooth can be used in light bulbs, sensors, and variety of other devices. Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) is a form of the protocol that is gentle on battery life and great for devices that need to go a long time between charges. Zigbee is a low energy, mesh network technology that is also excellent for home control of devices since it has long range and low energy consumption.
What Are Some of the Issues with IoT and the Smart Home?
There are a few to be aware of. One is simply making everything work together seamlessly. It’s easy to buy a lot of smart devices, but making them work together as a cohesive system is more difficult. Security and privacy are also issues, as these devices collect data that can be sensitive when aggregated across all your activities with smart devices.
Should I Worry About These Issues?
You should be aware of them, but not necessarily worried. Steps can be taken to ensure your home network’s security and mitigate hacking risks. There are also ways to control how much of your data from these devices is shared, depending on the applications and services used.
That’s where we come in. As a professional integrator working with smart technologies every day, we know how to choose the right components and make them all work as one true automation solution. We also are cognizant of the inherent security and privacy issues of everything being connected and know how to deal with them.
Are you ready to make your home truly smart? Give us a call or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation with our team. We’d love to hear from you!