While more and more Americans are beginning to enjoy the convenience and futuristic feel of home automation systems, not many are aware of the technology behind this trend. Home automation software is the basis for how these systems operate, and there is quite a bit to get your head around at first.
Although it’s not necessary to have an in-depth understanding of every facet of home automation software, knowing the basics can protect you and your home from potential issues in the future, and give you a working knowledge of how home automation operates in your house.
The Internet of Things
You’ve likely heard the term before, especially if you’ve already done some research into home automation software, but it can be complicated and confusing to wrap your head around. Simply put, the Internet of Things covers the network of physical items that can be turned on and off with a switch to the Internet or each other.
The Internet of Things covers most of the items in a room, including the room itself and your house, light switches, sensors, computers, tablets, washing machines, coffee makers, and more. The network that all of these items connect to enable them to be connected to each other, either now or in the future.
Home automation software allows the Internet of Things to come together, by integrating all of the different functions and systems and allowing them to be controlled and managed from the one source. Basically, it’s the network in which everything that can be turned on or off operates on and what home automation companies strive to connect.
Popular Home Automation Companies
With far too many to name, the market for home automation companies continues to grow each day.
Although there are many out there offering the same thing, some deserve a mention for their popularity and innovation. These companies are poised to be the leaders in this market and offer some of the top home automation systems.
- Z-wave – Z-wave home automation is one of the most popular companies in this field, with technology that can be found inside light switches, thermostats, smoke detectors and door locks. All of these devices work together to create an integrated smart home system that is favored by many.
- Nest – Nest’s range of home automation systems includes smoke alarms, door locks, thermostats and more. Their products are all self-learning and sensor driven, giving them an edge over many others in the market.
- SmartThings – Now owned by Samsung, SmartThings provides a whole range of home automation systems. This company has innovated to bring consumers leak detecting software in your plumbing, lights which change according to the weather, and more.
Potential Problems with Home Automation Software
As with any technological revolution, there are ongoing problems that need to be addressed as they arise.
As home automation software deals with very personal information and the safety of our homes, these concerns may be more crucial than ever.
- Privacy – You may not know it, but having your home operate on a network connected to the internet this way can open it up to hackers. There have been reports recently of baby monitors and even refrigerators being accessed, giving people the easy ability to get even more of your personal information.
- Limitations – While smart home systems, for the most part, can cater to the general public, they might not suit everyone. Home automation companies design their products with the status quo in mind with little or no option to be able to personalize their systems.
- Lack of updates – As technology moves so fast, it’s near impossible for home automation companies to keep up with the latest and greatest. Whether it’s the apps used to control these systems of the actual software themselves, there’s no way that manufacturers can stay on top of constant updates to these technologies.
- Hardware functionality – Although the software is the most important factor, there are still many advancements to be made with the hardware. Even with functioning software that caters to the user’s needs, there are still issues such as too many ports, lack of range, and smartphone apps that become buggy.
Open Source Home Automation Software
In an effort to combat some of these potential problems with home automation software, open source tools have been created. Open source home automation tools allow users to work together in communities to create networks which aren’t controlled by protocols and regulations, allowing them to build creative and custom-made home automation systems for their home or business.
As security becomes an even more prevalent issue in society, particularly in the modern age of the internet, there is a desire by many to have their home appliances untouchable by outside users. Open source tools such as the Guardian Project allow you to hide your IP address and other personal information so that hackers can’t access the electronics and information in your home.
In addition to the benefits of security, these open source tools allow users to design a system that works for their home specifically. With the ability to add or create controls, you won’t be boxed in by the common home automation protocols that can inhibit flexibility.
The Best Home Automation Software
Although there are a few leading companies in the home automation market, there’s no one company that can be labelled the best. While some do focus on a general home automation system, it’s generally those which specialize in certain areas which are leaders in their field.
Depending on the needs of your home and family, the home automation software which best suits you will differ. By sticking with a reputable brand that offers security and convenience, you will generally find that these offer the latest and greatest in software.