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Articles tagged with: Control4

IoT vs. Home Automation

Is There a Difference, and Why Should You Care?

IoT vs. Home Automation

To cut to the chase on our premise, yes, there is a difference, and you should care. Even though the economy here in the San Francisco Bay Area is largely based in technology companies and residents are more than familiar with these terms, it’s still useful to start with some definitions.

Much is written about IoT, which is an acronym for the Internet of Things. The “things” refer to smart devices that have internet connectivity and enough intelligence within them - chips and software - to do “smart things.” Think of your smartphone as one of those smart things, and for that matter, your tablet or laptop. We all know what they do for us every day.

The other side of IoT is how the intelligence being built into devices is changing industries and the way we live. IoT is an all-encompassing term about how smart devices can communicate with each other and take advantage of information over the internet to do things like never before. For example, IoT will make a significant impact on healthcare. Devices that monitor physical data like blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar will be able to use that data and the power of cloud computing to warn of a stroke in a diabetes patient - before it happens. Another example is the self-driving automobile. The automobile was once not a particularly smart device needing a human driver. With the power of advanced computing, sensors, sophisticated software, and internet connectivity, cars can drive themselves and navigate to a destination without your input. We may not be to that level yet - but we’ve seen that future and know it’s coming.

So where does home automation fit into this equation? Home automation is but one part of IoT. Smart devices like Nest thermostats, smart lights, video doorbells, and Samsung's smart refrigerators are all part of the Internet of Things. Why? Because they can all share information and offer control of their operation over the internet to other applications. And as IoT devices, that means you can do smart things with them, like adjust your thermostat and lights when you leave the house, automatically. More than that, as part of IoT, these devices can do even smarter things. In some cities, intelligent thermostats can participate in demand-response programs to help curb peak electricity loads and keep the energy grid stable. This is another example of what IoT can do in the future, beyond simple remote control and automation.

Getting closer to home, let's take a more in-depth look at how true home automation is more than a collection of smart IoT devices, and why that's important.

Planning for Home Automation in a New House

What You Need to Consider

Planning for Home Automation in a New House

Here in the Bay Area, a hub of technology development, we have no shortage of tech-savvy people. Most are quite familiar with home automation technology or already use some form of it; indeed, a lot of it is developed right here. Given our high level of tech awareness, it should surprise no one that smart home technology would be high on the list of features when people are looking to either remodel a home or build a new one.

We also know that there is an ever-growing array of smart consumer devices available for intelligent home control and management. Smart cameras, lights, thermostats, speakers, refrigerators, and more are readily available at local electronics retailers and online. Some of these are designed to work well together, while some will only work within a given ecosystem. Choosing a home automation system might be an exercise in frustration depending upon what you want to do, involving choices in wireless technologies that may or may not work well in a given environment as well as different control mechanisms.

The best home automation installations are a seamless experience. In the tech world, “seamless experience” is a buzzword often bandied about but a goal that's rarely achieved. From our perspective, it means that disparate functions in your home can be made to work as a well-orchestrated whole that fits your lifestyle. To accomplish that seamless experience, the right planning in a new home build or remodel will go a long way to set it up for today's smart home technology as well as tomorrow's. Keep reading to learn more.

Want A Green Home?

A Home Automation System Puts You in [Green] Control

Want A Green Home?

In the Bay Area, we’ve always been at the forefront of green technology. Our location in the heart of Silicon Valley certainly has something to do with it. With California now aiming to require all new homes to have solar power, and changes coming to electric rates based on time of day, you may be wondering if it makes sense to invest in solar panels for your home. 

With a solar system and a battery, your home could store solar energy and potentially garner significant savings in energy usage by drawing from the electric grid when rates are lower.

How do you do that?  A home automation system, like that of our partner Control4, could monitor energy generation, usage, and storage, and can help manage systems in your home for the most efficient consumption.

Intrigued?  Read on to learn more.