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How to Get Started With Home Automation

Home automation is everything you can set up in your residence to make it smart. It automates things that you usually do yourself: climate, lighting, entertainment systems, and appliances. It may also include home security, such as alarm systems and access control. Home automation is not a new phenomenon. In fact, it has been around since the 1960s. But today, it’s more affordable and reliable. Also, DIY home security systems are easy to install and use. Why make your home smarter? What products are necessary for this? Read on to find out. 

1. Choose technology you will add to your home to make it more automated. 

Think of what is important for you to have in your home automation system. It is better to write down A full-fledged technical task. It should include the desired number of light points and switches, their type, relative load level, the number of devices regulated by automation (heating, underfloor heating), and the number of sensors.
 
According to Amazon Echo, 17% of customers chose thermostat, 15% selected Google Home, 9% went for a home security system, and 8% automated their lightning. 45% of respondents owned from 2 to 5 smart devices. 

2. Choose the home automation system.

You can either talk to your friends who already have a home automation system, use it for years, or look for the Internet surveys. 
According to Reviews.com, the best home automation system for Apple integration is Savant. Best for DIY automation is Wink Hub 2, best for cameras is Logitech Harmony Home Control, and best for compatibility is Control4. 

3. Consider your budget.

The price of home automation systems usually varies. It depends on the technologies, functions, and equipment used in the installation of the system. 
 
Talking about best www.Reviews.com automation systems, a price for Savant starts at $5,000. It is an average smart home theater with no contracts or monthly fees and no trial period. There is a 30-day return policy if you buy Wink Hub 2, which costs $99. Logitech Harmony Companion costs $149.99 and has a 1-year hardware warranty. A price for Control4 also varied. An average smart home theater starts at $1,500. Additionally, you should pay $100 a year for remote access to the app or have contract-free access. There is a 90-day free trial of the remote access to the app.

4. Choose compatible components based on the same smart home standards.

Today, Z-Wave, Zigbee, Thread, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), and Wi-Fi compete in the market. In fact, there are even more of them, but five of these technologies today, according to analysts, are the most common. 
 
The main rule for beginners: buy controllers, sensors, and actuators of a smart home of the same standard. Choose a technology that guarantees at least:
 
● the largest selection of smart home components;
● full compatibility of devices from different manufacturers.
 
If both of these criteria are met, then you will be able to choose devices from the widest possible range, and you will know for sure that products of different brands can work together. 
 
Today, the best technology for both of these points is Z-Wave. It is used by over 700 international manufacturers offering over 2400 models of interoperable smart home devices. The Z-Wave Alliance consortium is responsible for Z-Wave products' ability to "communicate" with each other, which, after numerous checks, issues compatibility certificates to manufacturing companies.

5. Choose components not only of the same standard but also compatible with radiofrequency.

An important nuance is the radio frequency range in which the devices operate. Even within the same standard, operating frequencies may vary. It all depends on the country for which this or that component was created. For example, in the USA, the frequency 908.42 MHz is allocated for the Z-Wave standard, in China - 868.42 MHz, and in Russian - 869 MHz. The Zigbee protocol in most countries operates in the 2.4 GHz frequency range. But some Zigbee devices in China use 784 MHz, in the EU countries - 868 MHz, and the USA and Australia - 915 MHz. However, most Zigbee devices in these countries also operate in the 2.4 GHz band.
 
Due to regional differences in frequencies, for example, a sensor purchased in a different online store may not be compatible with your smart home controller. Therefore, the easiest way not to be mistaken with radio frequencies is to purchase devices in your country's proven stores that offer smart home devices operating on your country's frequency.

6. Do not buy only a part of the necessary smart home components. 

Even in simple home automation scenarios, multiple devices are involved. For example, for automatic lighting in the room, you will need motion and light sensors, as well as a dimmer / smart lamp. Remove the light sensor from this list, and the light in the room will light up even during the day when it is not needed.
 
Therefore, when planning a smart home system, try to decide on the main options for its use, and immediately buy all the components they need. Then you do not have to spend time adding missing devices to the system and the associated reconfiguration of the wireless network and editing scripts.

7. Do not buy necessary devices.

At first, a controller and several sensors/actuators included in one of the starter kits are enough to automate the apartment. They make it possible to create several simple automation scenarios. 
 
Errors with the acquisition of other devices most often occur at the stage of system expansion. For example, if your house has central heating and you do not use electric heaters, then buying a smart thermostat to control them is clearly superfluous. 
 
But it happens that other devices are bought at the very first stage. For example, if you rent an apartment for a short period and want to automate it, then it's hardly worth buying relays and dimmers built into sockets and switches for this. For such cases, overhead devices that are easy to dismantle and take with you when moving are better suited.

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