ZigBee’s name illustrates the mesh networking concept because messages from the transmitter zigzag like bees, looking for the best path to the receiver. While Z-Wave uses a proprietary technology for operating its system, ZigBee’s platform is based on the standard set by the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers for wireless personal networks. This means any company can build a ZigBee-compatible product without paying licensing fees for the technology behind it, which may eventually give ZigBee an advantage in the marketplace. Like Z-Wave, ZigBee has fully functional devices and reduced function devices (or those that don’t). Many of the same smart technologies used in the smart home are deployed in smart buildings, including lighting, energy, heating and air conditioning, and security and building access systems.
If you use lamps for most of your lighting, a smart plug such as the Lutron Caséta orWemo Miniwill enable you to turn the lamp on and off—and dim its dumb light bulb—with a smartphone app and according to a schedule. Weatherproof outdoor security cameras like the Arlo Pro can secure the outside of your home without any wires or drilling, since they work on rechargeable batteries. Internet and power outages are usually more rare, but it’s important to point this out as a potential drawback for using devices connected to the Internet. They don’t look like much, but they can function as the brains behind your smart home. These hubs communicate with the devices around your home, connecting them to each other and the Internet. Since not all smart home gadgets are compatible with one another, it’s important to research and make a plan for your smart home.
Oddly, X10 and UPB devices are not compatible and require a controller that supports both protocols to make them work together. PCMag.com is a leading authority on technology, delivering Labs-based, independent reviews of the latest products and services. Our expert industry analysis and practical solutions help you make better buying decisions and get more from technology.
Smart locks can also detect when residents are near and unlock the doors for them. With smart security cameras, residents can monitor their homes when they are away or on vacation. Smart motion sensors are also able to identify the difference between residents, visitors, pets and burglars, and can notify authorities if suspicious behavior is detected. While the smart home offers convenience and cost savings, there are still challenges. Security risks and bugs continue to plague makers and users of the technology. Adept hackers, for example, can gain access to a smart home’s internet-enabled appliances.
Once linked, you can have the camera record video when a light detects motion. When you incorporate security and surveillance features in your smart home network, your home security can skyrocket. There are tons of options here — only a few dozen of which are currently being explored. You can also choose to receive security alerts on your various devices depending on the time of day an alert goes off, and monitor activities in real-time whether you’re in the house or halfway around the globe. Recently, as smart services become more common, research on the acceptance of general users has become active. Bao et al. examined the mobile smart home environment and found that compatibility and safety are key factors affecting mobile smart home acceptance.