Home automation is accomplished by a network of devices connected to the Internet via various communication protocols such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, and others. The devices can be controlled remotely using electronic interfaces, such as a voice assistant like Alexa or Google Assistant or an application. Many of these IoT devices feature sensors that track motion, temperature, and light to provide information about the device’s surroundings to the user. The user activates actuators, which are physical mechanisms such as smart light switches, motorised valves, or motors that allow devices to be controlled remotely, to make physical changes to the device.
There are three levels of home automation:
- Monitoring refers to the ability for consumers to check in on their gadgets remotely via an app. Someone may, for example, see their live stream from an intelligent security camera.
- Control is the ability to move a security camera around to see more of the living room through a remote control.
- Finally, automation entails programming devices to communicate with one another, such as having a smart siren sound when an armed security camera senses activity.
Home Automation System Components
Certain mobile applications link directly to a router, that connects directly to an IoT device, although some home automation systems need hubs. Of course, it’s ideal when there’s no hub, as that’s an additional expense on top of the IoT device’s price.
Typically, home automation is controlled via a mobile app or through a voice assistant.
- Mobile Application: Whether it’s turning off the outdoor lights or opening the smart garage door for a neighbour, the mobile application allows users to control their gadgets in real time. Users may also use the app to create schedules, scenes, groups of IoT devices, and change device settings, such as changing the colour of your living room lighting. The bulk of the IoT devices we’ve looked at include Android and iOS apps, making them compatible with a wide range of smartphones and tablets.
- Voice Assistants: Consider voice assistants the icing on top of your home automation sundae. You can use your voice to manage devices with speech assistants, whether it’s disarming a security system as you go through the front door, viewing video doorbell footage on your Echo Show device, or setting a timer on a smart speaker while your hands are full of kitchen tools. Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri are the three most popular speech assistants for IoT devices.
- Alexa: Alexa is Amazon’s speech assistant, which comes pre-installed on the Echo Show and Echo Dot. Alexa is the voice assistant we see most often in smart home products from businesses such as SimpliSafe, Ring Alarm, and Cove.
- Google Assistant: As you might expect, Google Assistant is Google’s speech assistant. Despite having fewer “skills” or “actions” than Alexa, Google Assistant has been demonstrated to be the most accurate voice assistant in terms of understanding and responding to requests accurately. To use Google Assistant, you’ll need a smart speaker or a smart display; for more information, see our Nest Mini or Nest Hub reviews.
- Siri: Siri is the iPhone’s built-in voice assistant. While Siri has 35% of the global voice assistant market share, compared to 9% and 4% for Google Assistant and Alexa3, respectively, there aren’t many IoT devices that function with Siri. In comparison to home automation devices, where Alexa and Google Assistant reign supreme, the voice assistant is mostly used on iPhones and iPads.