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CES 2014: More on Smart Home Automation (Part 3)

Z-Wave Alliance and Zigbee Alliance: These are the two major, new-generation "smart" networks for your home, essentially.

Z-Wave smart thermostat controls

Z-Wave had a nice sized booth with a couple dozen companies showing their wares within. Z-wave allows integration of smart products from hundreds of companies, in all areas - smart lighting, security, HVAC, irrigation, appliance control, energy management, monitoring, in-wall dimmers... We plan to use Z-Wave as a primary "hub" for a smarter home in our Dream Home Project. There are many Z-wave compatible smart thermostats, monitors, etc.  Not to mention fancy wall switches. Here are some images of a few other fun smarter home products from Z-Wave, including motorized shades, security and lighting control:  

Z-Wave motorized screens control


A few Z-Wave security and lighting controls

Home Seer is Z-Wave compatible.  You can actually integrate all your different Z-wave compatible devices….enlarge the image to get a good idea of what HomeSeer looks like in action.



Arrayment works with manufacturers of connected products, such as Whirlpool, Chamberlain, Maytag, and Pentair.


Arrayment, which can integrate many different products

Not to be outdone, Zigbee Alliance is there with a booth showing off many of their partners. Word, though, from talking to folks is that Z-wave better integrates many different brand products, their standards are, I guess, tighter. Both certainly allow you to control their respective devices.  But, it would seem, that if you want a lot of different companies tech to be controlled by other companies software, apps, etc, at this point, Z-Wave seems to have the edge in that regard!



Another player, Centralite, offers a full selection of light switches, outlets, dimmers, motion sensors, etc. Lots of product lines are showing some products, now, but their charts show building out more and more related products, smart lights, etc.

I will also note, though, that one of the things apparent at the show is that we're starting to see WiFi being used specifically in devices and, even more importantly, in a low-power consumption BlueTooth. So some of the products we've got pictures of here may be using those kinds of things as well. Similarly, Bluetooth appears as a controller format.  Even the Energizer bunny is in on the act with a wireless surge protector/rapid charger that uses blutooth to keep you informed, and to control - stay in touch with USB and other devices, and they featured wireless charger pads, among other devices.  A company I wasn't familiar with - BeeWi, showed a whole wall full of products using Blutooth.  We hope to include a number of bluetooth enabled devices in our Dream Home project. Stay tuned!

Bluetooth controller products from BeeWi

Speaking of "smart," I found The Big Bright Light at Cisco. This is important because it looks like they're OEMing these lights from Philips--that's probably good if you've got stock with Philips. But again, it's another group getting into selling colored lighting, and that gives me an alternative source for getting more lights to integrate into our Smarter Home Project. And I do believe that lighting and color will be the future of home decor.
Cisco's The Big Bright Light

Cisco's The Big Bright Light

Speaking of Cisco: You know "The Internet of Everything" is their line. Here's an image of their monitoring system showing the cost of operation of many smart devices in the home: I also wanted to mention again Philips.  They perhaps were the first to get the ball rolling with their Hue rgb smart light bulbs, and recently added rgb flood lights, and light strips.  Apple fans have probably seen their products in Apple stores for about a year. By the end of 2014, the choices in dimmable white and rgb smart lighting that will be available, is likely to be mind boggling.   I can't wait.   OK, that's it for this one, more coming in the next blog: PART THREE!  -art

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