Smart Homes and How They Work

How Smart Homes Work

It sounds unreal. Smart homes are just that; smart.

You can use your smartphone or tablet to perform any function within the house without getting out of your settee. According to Ranger Roofing of Oklahoma, the top residential roofing contractor in Tulsa, OK, it operates on the strength of all electronic devices in your house linked such that they literally talk to each other and respond to your command.

Smart home software and technology

The origin of a smart home was in Scotland when Pico Electronics developed X10, enabling electronic appliances to talk t o each other over the already existing electrical wires of a home. It means all devices transform into receivers, and the ways of controlling the system, such as remote controls or keypads, are transmitters. Therefore, through a series of codes, you can order a lamp in another room to turn off in less than a second.


Electrical lines communication is prone to interruption by “noise” from powering other devices. A device may interpret the electronic interference as a command and react, or it might not receive the command at all.

Radio waves

Advances in this field have brought forth new ways of linking appliances. Rather than utilizing the power lines, devices can use radio waves to communicate. For instance, the BlueTooth, WiFi and cell phone signals.

Two of the most prominent radio networks in home automation are ZigBee and Z-Wave. Both of these technologies are mesh networks, meaning there’s more than one way for the message to get to its destination.


While wireless network offers a flexibility way of routing devices, however, just like electrical lines, they are susceptible to “noise.”  Insteon creates a new way for your home network to communicate over both electrical wires and radio waves, making it a dual-mesh network.

When a message fails to pass through one platform, it opts for another. The Insteon will broadcast the message rather than route, enabling all the devices to pick up the message and broadcast it until it relays a command.

The devices behave like peers as opposed to one serving as an instigator and another as a receptor. This means that the more Insteon devices that are installed on a network, the stronger the message will be.

Establishing a smart home

X10, Insteon, ZigBee and Z-Wave provide only the fundamental technology, called protocols, for smart home communication. They have created alliances with electronics manufacturers who build the end-user devices.

You can install cameras to monitor your home even at night. You can control a thermostat from your bed, the airport, anywhere your smartphone has a signal. You can manipulate the LED lights color and brightness using your smartphone.


Many devices also come with built-in web servers that allow you to access their information online. They are available at home improvement stores, electronics stores, from installation technicians or online.

Before buying, check the product’s technology is. Products using the same technology should work together despite different manufacturers. Connecting an X10 and a Z-Wave product requires a bridging device, and often, extreme patience and some technical skills.

Start small

You have freedom on how to automate your home. You may start with routine tasks and try to automate them.

For example, begin with a lighting starter kit and add on security devices later.

For an extensive system with many features, carefully design how the home will work, particularly if rewiring or renovation will be required. Strategically place the nodes of the wireless networks within an excellent routing range.

Building a smart home gradually, starting with a primary lighting system, will cost you less. A more sophisticated system will cost you more.

Smart home benefits

Smart homes make life easier and convenient. In the case of a fire outbreak, the alarm will wake up the resident, the smart home unlock the doors, dial the fire department and light the path to safety.

Smart homes provide some energy efficiency savings thereby reduce power bills. Systems like Z-Wave and ZigBee put some devices at a reduced level of functionality, and they can go to sleep and wake up when commanded.

Smart home technology will alert seniors living alone when to take medicine, inform the hospital if he/she falls and track how much he/she is eating.

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