Home automation can seem a little confusing to some. Many times you will hear smart home and home automation used interchangeably, and while they are very similar, there is a big difference. I like to use the DVR reference for this one. You can program your DVR to record a single movie and you can also use it to record a whole season. That is a direct comparison to our topic today.
To begin, you must have a smart home to be capable of using home automation. In essence, they both need some type of Control System for the home. This home control system gives you the ability to turn off your lights from anywhere, or even turn on/off your HVAC. You also need control to lock/unlock doors or be able to look in on your security system. These are all examples of Control over your home. This Control System gives you the ability to have a smart home or run your automation. Now let's look at the general meaning of smart home vs. home control.
A Smart Home is normally defined as a certain class of devices and sensors that can be controlled by the user via an app on the phone or using your internet connection to connect to these devices. They could be smart or dimmable bulbs, a smart thermostat for controlling the HVAC, or even a smart microwave. These devices are normally connected to an app by the manufacturer that will allow you to control their specific devices. You can even use voice commands through Google Home or Amazon Alexa to complete basic tasks in your smart home.
Home Automation, on the other hand, is a methodology that allows your Smart Home to run automated services you have set up. They will be pre programmed by the user for certain events. The theory behind this is that certain things you do all the time on a routine basis should be automated so you has less preparation before your event begins. When you have a Google Home or Alexa, it may seem easy enough to control the home, but automation makes it even more convenient.
For example, let’s say you may have Lutron Smart Lighting, and when you watch movies you like to have them all set up in a certain ‘scene’ (scene is general purpose term that refers to the a bunch of smart home devices set to a specific state). General smart home use would be opening up the app on your phone and then pressing the button for the corresponding scene and then starting your movie– and then when you stop (or press pause) opening up the app again and pressing the button for the scene that you want to go back to. If you are into home automation, you would set up an automation that detected when a movie started playing and then automatically adjusted your lights to your ‘movie scene’ and then turned them back to normal when you pause or stop.
To confuse matters more, often some smart home devices will have some home automation features built right into their core functionality– like the Nest thermostat, for example, automatically adjusts your temperature depending on whether it thinks you are home or away.
But built-in home automation features are not the only (and often not even the best) way to accomplish this functionality.
Most home automation enthusiasts will use some sort of hub software, such as Control 4 or Elan, that serves as a middle-man to allow various devices and ecosystems to talk to each other and to use various small pieces of information from one another and combine this information to assemble the context it needs in order to better respond to more complex scenarios than any single set of devices can on their own. Hub software like this also has the added benefit of being a single point of control so that you can control all of the smart devices in your house without having to use a bunch of different apps for each device.
Some users do not mind having 15 different apps to control 30 different devices in their home because they may like knowing each device has its own app and they can find them in their phone easier this way. That's ok for a DIY person, but Connected Home is in the business of delivering professional grade solutions to make the process as easy as possible for our users and clients. There is nothing like having your entire house inside of one app. You open one app and have your entire home right there; security, lighting, all of your televisions, music, surround sound, HVAC, dvd, cable, satellite, refrigerator, and so many more in one single app!
Smart Homes and Home Automation are very practical in today's world and are getting more increasingly popular and cheaper the more people use them. Connected Home believes we can correctly identify your lifestyle and create a dream home that works for you. If you still have questions or want a free consultation about your and your homes needs, please feel free to call and schedule a time to make your home, a Connected Home!