Home Automation and Security Systems Part 1
Over the next few weeks I intend to go through the considerations, technology, installation an usage of this type of technology.
09:00 22 May 2017
Before anyone undertakes to install their very own home automation system a few considerations need to be understood
•Why do you want it?
•What are you trying to achieve?
•Will it reimburse me financially?
•Will it be worth it?
•What do I need to make it happen?
Why do you want it?
Simplest answer because I do, well that was my excuse. In reality unless you can justify the expenditure or have a purpose then don’t bother. Deciding you have purpose like CCTV, Environmental control, monitoring the home, without being intrusive, etc is the first obstacle.
If you can give a positive response to one of the above or similar then continue
What are you trying to achieve?
It is so simple to say watch my home with CCTV, control my heating, monitor people, control appliances but will you still be using it in six month time, most probably not!
My personal favourites are CCTV and Heating as I believe this is where you will find most value.
Will it reimburse me financially?
My experience is that no definitely not. I have a large home with all the nice toys, nothing is coming close to paying for itself. However, taking the monetary values away from the considerations my home is now more secure, heating is more comfortable and am able to have my diner ready when I get home. I call that a result.
At the moment we’re not talking about which system we’re trying to purchase, but how this system is going to operate.
Camera’s, these systems run using several technologies, ranging from traditional low definition analogue, high definition analogue ip or ip-poe. When looking at the budget consider the most expensive component is not going to be the cameras or DVR, but actually the cabling (unless you install yourself).
If you wish to future proof your investment think of implementing Network CAT5/6 cable even if it’s an analogue coax system, the network cable will is suitable and will perform better. Will talk more about cabling and camera types later.
Home automation devices can talk using multiple technologies from IP, wireless, z-wave, light wave, z-wave, etc. Before selecting the correct technology you need to understand the advantages of each IP Cabled, reliable can carry power, 100M distances
Wireless no power, can be unreliable if in heavily populated area or in a home were the signal passes through multiple solid walls. 2.4GHz is more forgiving than 5GHz wrt walls. Power will be battery or wired
z-wave – brilliant technology 868MHz wireless technology, ultralow power consumption great when wiring isn’t an option. The 868Mhz is also very good even when passing through solid objects. Expect battery life to be in excess of 12 months. Note, z-wave in Europe and USA operate on a different frequency. Don’t by USA devices cheap on ebay and expect them to work.
zigbee this is a 2.4GHz version similar to z-wave devices. The beauty about z-wave devices is they create a wireless mesh to provide a greater area of coverage and can operate at a higher bandwidth.
Light-wave I’m going to ignore this as it doesn’t really contribute a lot of value.
Will it be worth it?
If it provides you with the desired outcome then in my opinion that’s all that matters. I personally believe these devices and technologies are still infant and you should be tolerant of there short comings, for now.
What do I need to make it happen
•Plenty of research to find other people doing what your trying to achieve you wont be the first.
•Go with brands that are well community supported
•Don’t mix too many brands within the same project, bad things start to happen
•Don’t under estimate the bandwidth required to run solutions such as CCTV
•Employ a company who specialises in these technologies, companies who install aerials and satelites doing this on the side will invariably try and rip you off and have no technical understanding of what they’re dealing with.
Next posts will deal with greater detail of the most common home automation issues and some of the solutions .