We get a lot of questions everytime we speak with our clients. Depending on how extensive the user wants the smart home to be, the more complex the solution becomes and the more questions come into play. Soon, it will be a question of balance, what should I sacrifice/choose, to get the perfect smart home that my family needs.
Here are some questions we get very often and which exactly matters?
1. Which protocol is your system on?
It does not matter.
I am referring to mostly Zigbee, Z-Wave or Wi-Fi protocol. If you have decided on a protocol, you may have done a list of pros & cons and decided on one. However, the least number of protocol selected means that you have reduced the flexibility of the choice of devices. i.e. if you have chosen to use a Zigbee only smart home solution, you are closed up yourself to various appliances such as smart TV, smart sound system, smart washing machine which runs on Wi-Fi.
Alternatives such as IR blaster solution may work, however, do note that IR blasters are limited only with a human to confirm the status. While linking up with the TV directly via deep integration, we are looking at having the true status of the TV reported to us via the smart home application. This becomes especially important when you have a TV with huge screen, and that screen is turned on unnecessarily, causing a huge inflation in your bill.
Solution: Look for a solution that allows for multiple protocol. If not, a system that allows you to add the different protocol through seperate modules.
2. Number of Smart Appliances/Devices
Yes it matters.
It is exciting how your smart home has become a reality. However, a badly planned smart home will result in either a system with high latency, or one with high device dropouts.
Manufacturers of smart appliances/devices are tuned to produce device which allows fror easy integration. i.e. no hub needed. However, this means that such devices are tapping on what we use commonly use,specifically Wi-Fi enabled appliances.
Are these Wi-Fi enabled devices bad?
Not entirely, however too many Wi-Fi enabled devices are bad. A good smart home ecosystem should have a balance of Wi-Fi enabled devices so as to ensure that your daily streaming needs are fulfilled. One solution is to replace your Wi-Fi lights and fans with a Zigbee/Z-wave switch. Take the living room as an example. 6 Wi-Fi lights means I need 6 more connection to my router, compared to a solution of one Zigbee/Z-wave gateway connection to my rotuer, which controls 10 switches in the house, which powers on/off 28 down lights within the house.
Conclusion: A well balanced mix of smart home protocol is needed to have a stable smart home system.
3. Choice of Routers
Yes it matters. Super matters.
Simply, too many devices produced by manufacturers run on Wi-Fi. If an unstable/weak router is chosen, the smart appliance will not be able to link up with Wi-Fi and hence, the smart home will be broken in a certain way.
How do we define an unstable/weak router?
RAM matters, the number of antenna matters, most importantly, how the router was set up, matters. Other factos such as how the house is structured, the size of the house, execptation of Wi-Fi usage by the client matters as well.
Conclusion: Let the experts manage. Enegage one to ensure that you have a strong and stable Wi-Fi throughout your house. While we have a couple of "Exiled Routers", we are unable to share it online. Feel free to PM us to find out on the list of "Exiled Routers".
4. After Sales Service
Yes it matters.
Why? Simple, even a bicycle can break down so will any other system out there. However, you will need someone to explain how the system works and why it is not working/functioning even after the system is setup perfectly for you.
Also a good system will often have system updates. More often than not, users will want to use the new features implemented. This can be advanced with a system update and sometimes a short chat with the customer support team is required if there are questions on the new feature.
Conculsion: Good after sales service is required especially when purchasing a software system.