Over the last two weeks, this blog has focused on some of the amazing new technologies that are revolutionizing homes to be safer, more comfortable, and ultimately, “smarter”. The last two blog posts focused on six of the newest technologies that are available on the market now. Despite the fact that six may seem like a relatively large number, it’s actually only the tip of the iceberg. There are countless new types of technologies being developed for home improvement, with more and more being thought of and created by the second.
Regardless of the number of new technologies created, and regardless of how quickly they are created, there is one singular aspect of Smart Home technology that will remain essential to the development of new products. Smart Home automation is an incredibly important aspect of Smart Home technology, and anyone thinking about investing in these technologies needs to be aware of the options available regarding Smart Home automation, and the complexity that those options represent.
Smart Home automation is essentially run by the central hub that controls and automates all the various technologies in your home into one seamless system that behaves in response to your daily habits and preferences. To simplify the topic of Smart Home automation, this article breaks the concept into two categories. Whichever path you choose when it comes to implementing Smart Home automation in your house, it’s essential that you understand the differences, and the implications that those differences have.
Smart Home automation can basically be broken down into two different avenues regarding the compatibility of your various Smart Home technologies with the automation of the home as a whole. The fact of the matter is that various Smart Home technologies are offered by a large variety of different brands, and not all of these brands have made their products compatible with other products produced by other brands. The two categories that Smart Home automation can be looked at through are represented by technologies run by Proprietary Software, and those run by Open Source Software.
Proprietary Software is a term that refers to computer software that has been published by an author who retains the copyright to that software. In regards to Smart Home technologies, many companies have developed products that operates on software that the company owns the copyright to.
If you purchase Smart Home devices from companies that run the technology on Proprietary Software, there is a chance that, if your devices come from different companies, that they will not be compatible with one another through a central hub that controls automation. If this occurs, it will damage the efficiency of your home automation, as you will have to have separate systems automating separate devices. This in turn will make it much more difficult to have your entire Smart Home operating as seamlessly as it would if all of the Smart Home devices were automated by a central hub.
Thankfully, many companies have realized that this represents a potential issue for their customers, and have created their own automation central hub technologies that are compatible with all of the other Smart Home products that each given company provides. However, even this strategy is not a perfect solution to the problems represented by incompatibility amongst various Smart Home devices.
For example, there used to be a company called Revolv Hub that sold home automation systems. In 2011, Revolv Hub was bought out by Google. In 2016, Google shut down all of the servers that Revolv Hub’s home automation system needed in order to perform its various operations. Google shut down these servers because they had decided to make their various Smart Home technologies compatible with a different company that sold home automation systems called Nest Labs. By shutting down the servers that Revolv Hub automation system depended on, the automation systems they had produced were rendered completely obsolete, and anyone who had built their home automation system using Revolv Hub ended up losing out big time.
That is the main consideration to take into account if you are considering purchasing Smart Home technology from companies that utilize Proprietary Software. The best advice regarding taking this avenue is to purchase only from companies that have an extremely low chance of being bought out by a bigger company. Think Google, think Apple. However, this is a difficult thing to be able to predict, and even if your predictions turn out to be correct, they inevitably will represent the formation of a Smart Home technology monopoly, which is never a good thing.
Open Source Software
Thankfully, many companies that are developing Smart Home technologies have realized that an altruistic approach to Smart Home technology development might be more beneficial in the long run. These altruistic companies are the ones who are utilizing Open Source Software for their Smart Home technologies.
With Open Source Software, a product’s software is designed in a way that stimulates open collaboration, operating under a free license that promotes unfettered access to the product’s overall blueprint. What this means, essentially, is that products designed with Open Source Software are all intercompatible. This means one central hub in control of the automation of all of the Smart Home products in your house.
When you buy Smart Home products with Open Source Software in mind, you are essentially investing in the long term trends of Smart Home technologies. As companies rise and fall, and as technology inevitably continues to improve, your home’s automation system will be safe from the economic uncertainty regarding the copyright of various software used in Smart Home systems.
The only downside to the technologies that utilize Open Source Software is that, if your system depends on an Open Source Software design, you will basically be excluded from utilizing other Smart Home technologies that operate under Proprietary Software. This could be a setback if one of these companies makes a product that is so good that you just have to have it. If you are immune to these kinds of things and don’t care about having any particular brand name in your home, then automation systems utilizing Open Source Software are the way to go.
As you can tell, the automation system that you choose to run all the operations of your various Smart Home products will have many long-term implications regarding intercompatibility. This is something you should definitely take into account if you are thinking about acquiring the cutting edge technology that promises to make your home smarter. It’s worth mentioning that all of the various products that fall under the umbrella of Smart Home technology don’t necessarily have to depend on automation. Manual control is always an option, and many of these technologies still offer vast improvement compared to their older counterparts even if they are operated manually. Before you make a decision, however, you should definitely get in touch with our professionals to discuss how we can provide the absolute best outcomes possible when it comes to remodeling your home to be a Smart Home.