What characteristics give a house its smart home communication system designation?
The concept of a “Smart Home” has expanded to encompass more and more features as technology has progressed. What hasn’t changed, though, is the reality that a home automation system is comprised of several technologies that coordinate their efforts to make the abode automated, pleasant, and stress-free. The proliferation of IoT-enabled devices has been a major factor in the recent explosion of Smart Home technology (IoT). Among the numerous industries that have benefited from the IoT’s promise of internet connectivity for previously disconnected devices is the smart home. With the use of cloud services and computational mathematics (Artificial Intelligence), these smart home systems can now collect data, assess scenarios in real-time, and make intelligent judgments beyond the conventional pre-programmed logic. These possibilities are being exploited, and as a result, various new smart home gadgets and solutions have emerged. Communication protocols are a crucial component of smart home communication systems and their evolution toward full Internet of Things support. They lay the groundwork for home automation by providing the infrastructure and defining the standards through which devices connect. This article will serve as a primer on the interoperability standards and communication protocols that underpin the state of the art in smart homes.
Protocols for Inter-House and Inter-App Communication in Smart Homes
The foundation of every smart home application is the interoperability of its many components, such as sensors, actuators, and other devices. From the thermostat communicating with the heating system to adjust the temperature down to the motion detectors shutting off the lights when a room is unoccupied. As a result, communication protocols are crucial to the success of smart home software. However, manufacturers choose a wide range of communication protocols to cater to the wide range of features, capacities, modes of operation and needs present in the real world.
Building Intelligent Systems for the House
While superficial considerations such as the manufacturer’s choice (the desire to build a series of products that use the same protocol, etc.) may play a role in the selection, the needs of the application are what ultimately determine the communication protocol used in smart home systems. The protocols employed depend on several factors, some of which are specific to the application itself.
- Amount of Information
The volume of data being sent and received is a crucial factor in deciding which protocols are utilized in Smart Home applications. Z-wave and Zigbee, which have a lower bandwidth and data throughput, are suitable for applications in which simple sensors and actuators communicate relatively little data with one another; however, Wi-Fi is required for applications that interchange a large amount of data, such as video, images, etc.
In Smart Home setups, gadgets can be either wired or wireless, depending on the situation. As the use of battery power is restricted by the majority of protocols, the method of powering the device is always a crucial factor in determining which protocol to employ. Although manufacturers have more leeway when it comes to choosing which protocols to implement in wired gadgets, when it comes to battery-operated gadgets, protocols like WiFi that require a lot of juice are usually ruled out as unsuitable, prompting the development of more efficient alternatives like Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).
- The Recurring Process of Operations
Devices used in Smart Home applications must either be “always on” (constantly powered) or turned on at predetermined times (such as during wake periods or in response to motion sensors). While the “always-on” mode is the default for most applications, periodic modes with sleep intervals make it possible for apps to make use of communication systems that would otherwise be ill-suited. To extend the battery life of a device that relies on it for connectivity but has stringent bandwidth needs, it could use a communication protocol that consumes a lot of power, like WiFi and rely on sleep modes to do so.
- Interoperability and compatibility are four key factors to consider
In some cases, you need to be able to sync with hardware, software, and other components from a variety of vendors. For this reason, the protocol of choice is typically one that guarantees cross-platform compatibility. For this reason, several groups have banded together to ensure that devices using the same ecosystem of apps can communicate with one another.
Price is a major factor in all engineering decisions. Certain protocols tend to drive up the cost of smart home systems beyond the application’s usefulness. To link several Z-wave-based light bulbs to the internet, the expense of a Z-wave gateway may be justified in a lighting management application. To control a garage door with a Z-Wave gateway would be wasteful of resources, hence another protocol may be necessary.