Smart home has become such a trend that, it is often not that easy to keep an overview of all the various smart home systems that exist.
Do you want a smart home lighting system, a smart home alarm system or a smart home control system or everything? That is the first question most people are asked when they are deciding what to purchase. Unless you are a tech geek most people are not aware of the amount of Smart home systems that are available on todays market.
In this article we will provide you with an overview of the current Smart Home Systems available and what is the most sought after and recommended. Hopefully after reading this you will be clearer about what to purchase and what will work best for you.
The most popular categories for Smart Home appear to be security, lighting, audio and heating. But not all Smart homes are the same. Some of the systems are closed and only work off certain apps whilst other are open and can be used by any phone app or smart gadget. A good example of this is Philips HUE, this can be controlled via Apple Homekit, Amazon Echo, IFTTT as well as its own HUE app.
There are also systems that cover several fields. For example, Philips only offers lamps, while HomeMaticIP offers security, heating and general home automation.
You should also consider how you want to control your Smart Home, maybe you have an Amazon Echo, if so then you should choose a system that will work with the Echo. The same applies to Apple HomeKit. The Apple HomeKit support is always a bit more "problematic", since Apple, unlike Google and Amazon, charges license fees from the manufacturers for the use of HomeKit. Therefore, the selection is a bit smaller here.
A good Smart Home system will have a modular structure, that can have additional devices added to it as you become more involved and up to date on the system and learn how to use it. It is especially important when buying your control centre, eg, Hub or Bridge that these systems are compatible with all the devices around your property. If they are not then you could fall into complications with the Networking, where your devices will fall off the Network and not talk to each other.
What Smart Home systems are there?
For the technologically advanced among you there are two main types of Smart Home systems that you can choose from:
- Closed: This system referred to as Closed, offers an exceedingly high level of security. This system only works with the same manufacturer, so you would be unable to use other devices from different systems as they would not be compatible. The bonus of this system is because you rely on only one manufacturer all the devices are made to match and work with each other, so you very rarely have any problems.
- Open: An open system allows you to chose and use different devices and systems. So, you can mix and match different brands. For example, Philips Hue can be used together with Alexa or Netatmo room thermostats or even Nest. This does not offer a high level of security as you can use so many different devices, the system is not as secure and often has a lot of problems.
Smart Home system for controlling household appliances: Bosch Smart Home System
The Bosch system is very impressive as it contains many security features. For example, all private data and all system data are saved locally on the Bosch Smart Home Controller. Information that must be communicated for smart home use is transmitted with a secure encryption system and only if the user has expressly approved it. In order to meet the different needs of different customers, Bosch also offers various starter sets with different focuses, from heating control to the room climate starter set. The Bosch Smart Home System has its own, particularly secure encryption system and offers the option of local data storage. Bosch recommends both the household appliances that can be networked via the Home Connect app and the security components.
Innogy SmartHome System
The greatest advantage of the Innogy system is its compatibility with Amazon Echo (or Alexa) and numerous other popular smart home components such as Philips Hue or Netatmo. However, sometimes there are false reports from the system or app crashes. Even if the provider is an energy supplier, the systems can be used independently of an electricity contract and are therefore extremely attractive for setting up a smart home in your own four walls despite the small defects.
As a kind of adapter, the Homee Brain Cube connects vastly different devices from the FRITZ! Socket to the Philips Hue lamp. Different radio standards such as Z-Wave and EnOcean no longer play a role, because the standard cube can be supplemented with additional radio modules and, for example, make both ZigBee and Z-Wave components centrally controllable via smartphone and soon even integrate Homekit devices. Thus, Homee is currently the most flexible system. With Homee, intelligent devices can not only be networked particularly easily, but also inexpensively. After all, users have more options to choose between cheap and high-priced smart home products than owners of a closed system.
Homematic IP Smart Home System
This entry-level system is open to third-party developers and still guarantees a high level of data security in private use through encryption. There is also an extraordinary number of components to choose from. Homematic IP offers the option of adding complex flush-mounted solutions to retrofit components and is therefore suitable for everyone who wants to network their entire home professionally over the long term. Another plus point: In the event of problems, there is the option of extensive support from the community.
Magenta Smart Home System
The Magenta SmartHome is also based on the QIVICON platform, which is why products from popular manufacturers such as Philips, SONOS or Logitech can be integrated particularly easily. The individual components of the system are connected via Home Base 2. They can then be controlled via an app or voice assistant. The smart home systems from QIVICON providers, such as the Telekom Magenta Smart Home, are particularly recommended for those who do not want to commit to a specific provider straight away. Because they are not only compatible with each other but can also be managed as desired using an app from a smartphone, PC or tablet. Due to the wide range of possibilities, the smart home from Telekom is a good option.
Smart Home System advantages and disadvantages
Every smart home system has its advantages and disadvantages, strengths and weaknesses. The same applies to the costs. (Almost) all manufacturers offer starter sets, but whether their content is sufficient for your own needs or whether it must be supplemented with expensive additional components cannot be said in general terms. Sometimes it can be worthwhile to invest in high-quality equipment initially in order to save a lot of electricity and money later.
We therefore recommend that you first find out your own needs and then develop a modular solution step by step.
Alternatives to complete smart home systems
Those who only want to automate individual household areas have many alternatives to the complete systems to choose from. For example, these ones below are some of the best options available:
- Voice control: Alexa, Homekit, Google Assistant
- Hygiene: vacuum robots, window cleaning robots, mould control
- Fitness / Health: Aids for Seniors
- Garden: robotic lawnmowers, garden tools overview
- Security: burglary protection, presence simulation
- Indoor climate: room air conditioner overview
- Heating control: save heating costs, identify power guzzlers
- Light control: Philips Hue, IKEA TRÅDFRI, OSRAM Smart +
So now you know what is available and, on the market, which Smart Home System will you choose, or will you go for the alternatives? Whichever you choose, make sure it works for you and remember you can always build on your Smart Home over time. That’s the best thing about these devices, new ones are being released constantly, so you can spend as much or as little as you want and still end up with a fully functional working Smart Home that makes your life that little bit easier. After all who would not want that.