We have been living in a wireless society for quite a while now. It started back in the day with remote controls, and have not stopped since. When Wi-Fi came along and became a reality, people just got fed up with cables and wires in general.
But until recently some areas have been forgotten. Because researchers were always trying to find ways of transmitting larger and larger chunks of data through airwaves, technology seemed to be catering only to larger, more sophisticated devices. The problem with these technologies is the fact that they need a lot of power to work. Consequently, small devices that never needed large data transfers had not caught the revolution.
That until a few years ago, when a Danish company called Zen-Sys came up with Z-Wave. Z-Wave is a low frequency radio wave transmitting small packets in sub gigahertz frequencies. Perfect for small, battery-operated devices that never needed intense data communication.
Z-Wave became a standard in wireless home security and automation. Until not long ago security devices had short battery life and non reliable communication, making it very unsafe for professional security systems. Today the new modern wireless devices transmit to a control panel via Z-Wave. Because of this new technology, most sensors have a battery life that extends five years, and communications are very reliable.
What started with window and door sensors, soon became motion sensors, then smoke, flood and carbon monoxide detection sensors. All wireless, battery operated, and connected to a control panel via Z-Wave. These smoke and flood detectors that were stand-alone and only good when someone was present in the house to hear the beeps became integrated with the whole system. Today, with the new technology, a user can be notified of smoke and flood right on their smartphone even when miles away.
Z-Wave made home automation possible. Today more than 250 companies make all kinds of cool gadgets, from A/C thermostats, to door locks, to garage openers, to light switches, to wall outlets, to window treatment motors, pool and spa pumps. Basically an entire home can be controlled, programmed, scheduled and configured through a smartphone or tablet.
But it still not as easy as going to a hardware store and purchasing a wall outlet and making it work. These gadgets need to be integrated into a control panel to send commands and receive instructions. This control panel needs to communicate with an application platform. This is the software that will be the bridge between the user and the system. This backbone will be the remote control of your house and also interface the monitoring of all sensors. It is much easier to purchase a package from a system integrator or a security company than trying to do everything by yourself. And it won’t necessarily cost you more.
When choosing your system, look for a company that will pre configure everything for you, so you won’t have to go crazy trying to understand how to connect everything, and also that works with a flexible and robust app backbone, like alarm.com for example. Avoid companies with proprietary hardware, since it will not give you room to grow and won’t let you integrate cool devices from these 250 companies in the market.
Welcome to the revolution!