Connected homes vs. smart homes. What are the differences?
An emerging trend in our industry is the idea of connecting all the devices in your home to an app. It affords you the ability to control it with a touch or a swipe on your smart phone and, in many cases, allows you to automate certain functions. Having the ability to control many components within your home with the touch of a button is extremely convenient, so what are your options?
Most people love the idea of being able to look at an app and control their thermostat, open their garage door or see who’s at the door. These individual connected items and their respective apps comprise what is commonly referred to as a “connected home”. Connected homes typically have two or more connected devices that are controlled within their own apps.
What a connected home does well, a smart home does even better. Instead of having a multitude of individual apps controlling a variety of different devices, it’s all pulled into one app and controlled in conjunction with other devices. A perfect example of a smart home system is Control4. To give a small idea of what a smart home system can do, within the Control4 app, you’re able to turn on your TV, dim your lights, open your garage door, and check your cameras. No need to hop back and forth between apps, log into each one independently and await responses.
Another added benefit of a smart home system like Control4 is that it’s able to fully automate a series of functions. A common sample of automation that we program into our client’s system are the ability to have lights turn on, temperatures set, TV/audio to tune correctly to the client’s favorite station and shades draw all automatically when it detects the garage door or smart door lock opening. Traditionally, we also set up a specific button on an in-wall keypad to be programmed with a “Good Bye” function, where it turns off all lights, TVs, audio, draws the shades and sets the thermostat to an unoccupied temperature range. The possibilities are quite simply limitless.
One main thing to consider when deciding between a connected and smart home solution is hardware homogenization. Connected home devices will typically work with each other if they exist under the same “brand umbrella”. For example, the Nest app will control a Nest thermostat and a Nest cam, but will not control a Samsung TV or a DirecTV box. A smart home system like Control4 will have the ability to control them all together. In this example, the smart home solution won’t force you to be married to one specific brand of hardware. If you like your Nest thermostat, Kwikset smart door lock, Lutron fan speed controller and Lift Master garage door opener, a smart home system can make them all work together in one app.
With the “internet of things”, more and more devices are becoming connected. With each new device, a new app and a separate login comes with it. Connected devices certainly do make things easier to control; however, there is a point of critical mass. If you’re in a situation where you’re only working with a few connected apps, it’s entirely manageable. In many homes, the number of apps is in the dozens. A smart home solution makes the process of controlling your connected devices simple, it reduces the number of apps that you must work within, and it marries them together enabling you to fully automate functions with or without your intervention.
The second main variable when deciding between a connected home and a smart home solution is price. Since connected home solutions are based off of individual devices, the cost of entry is lower than the cost of a smart home solution. Once you add together 2-3 connected home devices, you’re typically at the entry point of a smart home system. The cost to get started on either platform is very reasonable. The main thing to consider is what solution works best for you and your home?
At Infinite Home Theater, we can provide to you, and install a wide variety of connected devices and, if you so choose, place them under the umbrella of a smart home system. Our goal is to make your time at home as simple and personalized to you and your needs as possible. Our team is well versed in system design, implementation, programming and support of these systems to make them work invisibly in your home. Give us a call today to set up a complementary onsite to discuss how a connected or smart home can make your home-time even more enjoyable!
October’s special: Free Amazon Echo Dot with purchase of connected home or smart home package. Call for details!