What is the future of Home Automation?
The ‘internet of things’ (IOT) is used to define anything connected to the internet and increasingly,
gadgets that ‘talk’ to each other. It might be a buzzword at the moment but with the use of Wi-Fi
more people are looking to incorporate these smart gadgets into their home. Your lighting, heating
and even washing machine can now be controlled from the same device. But is it a short-term fad or
a useful tool for homeowners?
Décor-friendly gadgets – can blend in with your home décor better than traditional devices.
Home automation – multiple systems using a centralised hub.
Security systems – remote surveillance and central locking.
Universality – using one remote to switch from watching TV to playing a video game.
Upgrades – technology is continuously evolving to bring a generation of new products to the
For the budding enthusiast looking to invest in smart home lighting systems we have looked at a
range of lighting control systems.
Entry level systems
Phillips Hue – uses Zigbee to create a mesh network of lights and switches. The new v2 hub brings
with it support for Apple’s HomeKit and voice control of your lights using Siri. The system also
integrates nicely with SmartThings. They have also released a software kit that means developers
can take advantage of the wireless control of the lighting system.
Light wave RF – is a relative newcomer from JSJS designs. It offers a range of attractive modern
home automation modules at reasonable prices. This wireless range currently doesn’t support status
requests, although this might be included in future hardware.
HDL Automation – has a nice range of keypads and the dimmer and is installed via certified
Higher end systems
Control 4 – is an all-encompassing high-end home automation system. A relative newcomer
(established in 2003) it is highly rated and is installed by a network of approved Certified Installers. It
aims to automate lighting, music, video, security and energy around the modern home and make it
as easy to control as possible.
Crestron – has been in business for over 40 years and is another high-end all-encompassing
professional home automation system. It is a fully featured proprietary system that has matured
over many years. It is usually installed by CI’s in large bespoke homes with big budget offering
control of everything from Creston’s touchscreen and iOS devices.
Lutron – Although going since 1961, Lutron are famous for inventing the solid-state dimmer. Now
known for their intelligent controls, Lutron is a professional grade system found in high end
domestic and commercial installations.
Rako Controls – produce a range of wired and wireless smart home lighting products that are
designed and manufactured in the UK. Lighting controlled by iPhone and iPad is available with their
hardware bridge and free Raki iOS App. The superb customer care and a local support network,
along with a good range of products, sets them apart from their competitors.
Bluetooth has already proven itself with connectivity between one to one devices. Now Bluetooth
Mesh is set to revolutionise the home automation market by allowing connectivity through devices
without the need for a centralised hub. This would mean lighting devices could communicate with
each other and then be connected to your phone or a blue tooth enabled wall switch.
Smart gadgets sound great as they claim to create a more seamless home life and could save you
money. The big problem arises when products are regularly updated and expanded and eventually
superseded by superior designs. However, the industry recognises these issues are creating barriers
to consumers and are steadily moving towards a more compatible, secure and simple, smart home
Technology that was once restricted to high end projects is now available to a much larger market.
There is no doubt there are real advantages to incorporating home automation systems into your
projects. The added convenience and energy saving potential makes them a key offering to clients.
Need inspiration? Please don’t hesitate to contact us.