What is Home Automation?
Home automation goes by many names. Controls, Energy Management Systems, and IoT devices of all types are components of a BAS (Building Automation System).
Magic Touch Mechanical installed our first BAS almost twenty years ago in a commercial building in Phoenix, AZ. Back then these systems were extremely complicated, proprietary, and costly to install. They required miles of wiring, and many hours of confusing programming.
Today, thanks to ever improving IoT technology and standards, what was once complicated and proprietary has become much more common. Thanks to these improvements, building automation has opened a whole new category – home automation.
Home automation is simply put, the ability to control cooling and heating systems, lighting, garage door openers, electronic door locks, and other connected devices from one place. Most commonly these devices use one centralized application that is controlled via a smartphone or computer.
The Role of Wi-Fi Thermostats in Home Automation
In recent years Wi-Fi thermostats have become all the rage thanks to manufacturers like NEST, Honeywell, Lennox, Trane, and Ecobee. These devices were a game-changer for the HVAC industry as a whole because they introduced homeowners to IoT.
Often your heating and cooling system’s thermostat is the hub of a residential home automation system. A good example of this is just how many devices advertise “Works with NEST”. Another great example is Trane’s Nexia thermostat whose App allows users to control hundreds of other IoT devices.
Many of these devices now work with vice command devices like Alexa and Google’s Home Kit, amongst others. Not too long ago, we had the ability to control our thermostats from our couch by pulling out our cell phone. Now people who own these devices can simply say “Alexa, change the temperature to 75 degrees”, and it’s done!
Are Devices Like Wi-Fi Thermostats Secure?
If you own a smart television, Alexa, or any other IoT device already you own the same technology as any of these smart thermostats. As with these devices, your security is provided by your computer router / modem settings.
Any IoT device you own connects through your home’s Wi-Fi network. That said, it’s important to keep your network secure. If your network is secure, hackers won’t be able to successfully attack you because you own IoT devices!
How Do I Setup a Residential Home Automation System?
Choosing the right home automation system depends on what you wish to control and what devices you already own. For larger homes, you can choose something like an Energy Management System. With an EMS you can control everything from your HVAC and lighting to anything that plugs into the wall!
For a grow-as-you-go system we recommend starting with choosing the right smart thermostat. This thermostat will provide the app that allows you to add compatible devices without having to have multiple applications for each device.
Call Magic Touch Mechanical for Residential Home Automation!
Choosing the right product largely depends on your end goals, what type of central air conditioning and heating system you have, home size, and budget. Luckily, you don’t need to become an IoT expert to choose the right home automation system for you. Just call us, we’re already experts in this technology!