Updated: Mar 22, 2018
Amazon or Apple? Google or Amazon? Z-Wave or Zigbee?
The DIY home automation market has exploded in recent years with thousands of new vendors and products saturating the market. They all promise to "change your life" and make your home smarter and customized for you. While many of them can help to automate your home and make your home smarter, they also can come with many pitfalls. Here are three warnings to consider before taking a deep dive into DIY home automation.
1. Compatibility can be Confusing
Not all smart home ecosystems and devices are necessarily compatible with one another. Typically you need to know the types of smart devices (e.g. lights, door locks, security, etc.) that you wish to control. Then you need to choose whether you need a smart hub (or controller) which manages all your smart devices or not. Also, you need to consider how you wish to interact with your home automation system like if you want voice control. Do you want Amazon Alexa or Google Home or Siri voice control - this can dictate which systems you can utilize as they are not all compatible with each other.
2. Vendor Lock-In
Another major determining factor of which ecosystem you choose to build your home automation system around can be which services and features are most important to you. For example, if you are an Apple user and have a lot of iTunes content or use Apple TV or subscribe to Apple music, you may be more compelled to use Apple HomeKit with Siri in order to utilize your existing stuff. Conversely, if you are heavily invested in the Google and Android systems, you will likely be leaning more towards Google Home.
3. Complete vs Partial Smart Home
The biggest issue with DIY home automation can be the ability to get a complete, whole home automation using the devices available. What do we mean by this? Well if you truly want a whole home that is fully automated which can include things like automated window shades, lights in all the rooms, multi-room audio/video and even things like pool and spa temperature control, then a DIY solution may be impossible or very complex. Even harder will be finding a single interface, whether a remote control or mobile application, that allows you to control or set automations on all these different systems.
While the DIY home automation systems can make your life a little easier and can definitely make sense for those looking to dip their toes into the smart home waters, there are issues to consider before plunging too deep. If you're confused, have questions or looking for a solution that can provide a complete whole home solution in terms of automation, give us a call. We can discuss solutions from Savant or Control4 that can truly make your house a smart home!