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A-Z Home Automation Glossary: 116 Smart Home Terms Everyone Should Know

The release date:2020/10/23 0:00:00



A smart home is like your smartphone. You think you know it well until you read about its specs. Then you suddenly feel like you’re reading a product manual in Arabic. While home automation is increasingly popular, many of us still haven’t grasped most of its terminology.


Think, for example, of actuator, protocols, IFTTT, and such. Despite the technical nature of these terms, we promise that it will be pretty easy for you to understand their meaning if they are put into the perspective of your home automation system.


That’s why we have decided to list in this guide all the most common terms you should know to get started with home automation.


Get your pens and paper ready to take notes, and let’s get started in alphabetical order.



A

Actuator = (also known as “module”) a mechanism that performs a physical task when triggered by a sensor sharing input from a connected system;

An example: A few examples of actuators can be a smart camera triggered by a motion detector or light switches set off by your voice;

In other words: actuators are the elements that make your products or fixtures do tasks in response to an input sent from a sensor. Actuators can be programmed to respond automatically or via command;


AirPlay = a wireless protocol launched by Apple in 2020 that enables data streaming (audio and video) between two compatible devices over a Wi-Fi network;

An example: you can connect your iPhone or iPad’s AirPlay to a compatible wireless sound system and then control the playback from the device itself;

In other words: this technology is more stable than regular DLNA, but it only works on kits that are equipped with AirPlay;


Alexa (Alexa Voice Service - AVS) = Amazon’s suite of services built around its voice controlled artificial intelligence assistant for the home and other enviroments.

An example: Alexa is also the “wake word” for these voice-controlled devices. Your voice saying “Alexa,” followed by a question or a command, will activate this device. Image you say “Alexa, what is the temperature today” or “Alexa, turn on the kitchen lights”;

In other words: Alexa is a voice-controlled device where your voice can trigger the system to begin listening for the next command or question you have for the system. It’s also Amazon’s AI technology, which is used for voice control devices like Echo, Dot, and Show;


Amazon Echo (often shortened and referred to as Echo; also referred to as Alexa) = a brand of smart speakers developed by Amazon that can be controlled with a user’s voice;

An example: once integrated into a home security system, Echo allows the user to use voice control for activating certain functions, such as dimming lamps 50%, locking the front door, or setting the thermostat to 72 degrees;

In other words: this device connects to the cloud-based product Alexa Voice Services (AVS), which is more commonly known as “Alexa.” The wake word of this device can be changed by the user to “Amazon,” “Echo,” or “Computer”;


Applet (IFTTT Applet) = the latest successor to the traditional “Recipe” for triggering an action or a response using the IFTTT web service whenever an event occurred;

An example: when your smart lights turn on, and the thermostat turns up heating if the weather forecast says it will be cold tomorrow;

In other words: recipes consist of single-stage affairs (if this happens, do that), while applets include multiple actions which are triggered after the first action took place (if this happens, do this, then this, then this…);


Application Programming Interface (API) = an interface containing all the functionalities needed for the development of applications;


Association = the process of adding a device to a group so that the device can be controlled as part of the same group;

An example: imagine that you have four smart switches and bulbs in your living room. Instead of turning on and off each one of them, they can be added to the group “Living room lights.” You can then turn them off or on with a simple voice command sent to your smart home assistant, like Alexa or Google Home;


Architectural = loudspeakers that are seamlessly integrated within the wall or the ceiling of a building without interfering with the overall room design;


Artificial Intelligence = the ability of a computer system or robot to perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence (including recognizing a speech and making decisions);


Automation = the full automation of an inter-connected home where electronic devices are used for different tasks with minimal human interaction;

An example: a system of devices that react to each other, factors (like the time of the day or geofencing triggers), or external stimuli (sound, motion, light levels, and temperature), when these signals are detected by built-in sensors placed within each device;

In other words: most smart home devices are fully automated (set and forget), semi-automated (with minimal input needed), or a mixture of both;


B

Backup Battery = a secondary power source that is often made available to provide power to a home security system in the event in which the main power source fails;


Bluetooth = a wireless protocol (defined way of communicating) that allows electronic products to communicate with each other without the need to connect to the Internet or Wi-Fi;

In other words: Bluetooth is a popular protocol used for connecting smart home and consumer electronic devices located in the same room. It is most often used to connect speakers and earphones when you want to play music wirelessly;


Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) = the fourth generation of Bluetooth technology that is designed to require very little power to function while maintaining a similar range as previous Bluetooth versions;

In other words: as the name suggests, devices using Bluetooth LE technologies need little power to function. Devices using Bluetooth LE will be able to run for years on a single battery;

What to know: unlike regular Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE is a low-energy technology designed precisely to be used in the smart home, sports, and health sectors. So if your devices don’t use Wi-Fi to connect, they might use Bluetooth LE to communicate with your mobile device or with each other;


Bridge = a type of connection that works between smart home devices and the Internet;

In other words: a bridge allows you to control your devices remotely from anywhere in the world;


Burglar Alarm = a home security system designed to detect unauthorized intruders from entering a building or a specific area;


Buspro/Buspro Wireless = an intelligent control system independently developed by HDL, which can be connected to several common smart devices;

An example: the Buspro technology can allow you to control your home appliances, fixtures, and smart devices through wall panels, your smartphone, tablets, computers, and other terminals. It can also be integrated with other intelligent control systems through protocol docking;

Click here to learn more about all the functions of these smart home systems!




Bypass = the action of going around an existing system to gain access to access, which event is mostly seen for home alarm systems in terms of preventing break-ins, intrusions, and burglary;


C

CAT5/CAT6 = a type of cable often used in the home automation industry for network wiring;

In other words: this type of cable connects to the router, establishing a connection between the router and other wired home automation devices;


CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association) = the leading association that supports the implementation of standards in the home automation industry;

In other words: CEDIA has over 3700 member companies and home automation specialists located all over the world. It’s the right place to find brands, smart home experts, and downloadable resources;


CFL Bulb (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) = an energy-saving light bulb that has replaced traditional incandescent light bulbs;


CFR Bulb (Compact Fluorescent Radio Lamp) = a bulb that has a built-in radio receiver that allows them to be controlled by a wireless home automation network using communication protocols, like for ZigBee;


Cloud = cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, data storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and more — over the Internet (“the cloud”);


Connected Device = this synonym of the smart device applies to any device that can communicate with other objects and devices over an Internet connection;


Connected Home = this synonym of smart home refers to any use of smart objects or devices within the home;


Connectivity Session = the procedure used to enable the connection of a device to a network;


Controller = a device that can control other devices on the wireless network;

An example: a few examples of controllers include keypads, remote controls, switches, tablets, smartphones, and watches;

In other words: a controller is the brain of the home automation operations, connecting smart devices between each other and allowing you to control your network from anywhere in the world;


Control Panel = a home security system’s command center that connects and provides access to all the connected devices;


Communication Protocol = a series of established rules used for a type of communication;


Cortana = an intelligent personal assistant developed by Microsoft for Windows 10 Mobile, Windows 10, Microsoft Band, Windows Phone 8.1, Xbox One, Android, iOS, and Windows Mixed Reality;

In other words: Cortana is a smart assistant, just like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Google Assistant. It can support the user in completing a whole plethora of tasks and has a multilingual interface depending on the software platform and the user’s region;


D

Dashboard = a user interface on a mobile device that displays all the statistics and live data gathered from all or some smart devices in a smart home;

In other words: a dashboard allows you to monitor all the information collected by a smart device and often even to control some of its features, including lights, music, and heating;


Digital Assistants = the personal given to a voice activation system which enables the user to communicate in a human-style with a voice activator;

An example: the three most common digital assistants are Google’s Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s Siri;


Dimmer = a wireless device that controls the light brightness as well as the on/off stages of light in a room or house;

What’s more: it’s usually connected to the local light via standard wiring;


DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) = a standard set up by Intel and Sony to ensure that compatible wireless products can recognize each other and share data streams over Wi-Fi;


Domotics = another name for home automation;

In other words: this word comes from the contraction of the Latin word for home “domus” combined with “robotics”;


Driver = a program that translates software commands to allow the computer to communicate with a device;


DVR (Digital Video Recorder) = a DVR system records digital footage from surveillance cameras when motion is detected;


E

Elgato Eve = a family of smart home sensors and actuators designed by the German peripherals specialist Elgato to work with Apple’s HomeKit;

An example: the Elgato Eve products include components such as a weather sensor, smart door lock, and plug;

In other words: this series of sensors and actuators use Bluetooth LE as opposed to standard Wi-Fi. For this reason, they can be used without a standalone smart home hub;


Ethernet = a system to create a computer network using cables (wired network);

In other words: this system is less used in homes, where the more convenient Wi-Fi system is preferred. The wireless router usually comes equipped with Ethernet sockets, so that a PC or other devices can be connected directly to it;


Event = a series of commands following a trigger from a device or sensor;

An example: an event can be activated when light or a bathroom fan turns on;


Exclude = the action of removing a device from a wireless network;

In other words: once the device is excluded, it can’t be controlled by the network, and it should be added to the network again;


F

Freeze Sensor = a sensor designed to detect and send notifications in case of extreme shifts in-home temperature;


G

Gang = the number of switches on a switch faceplate;

An example: imagine you have one switch with two switches in the kitchen - one for the overhead lights and one for the sink - and they control different light circuits; this can be called a “2-gang switch”;


Gateway = a device that communicates or sends commands to other smart devices via a phone, tablet, or computer by connecting a local network (home network) to the global network (Internet);

In other words: the gateway allows you to control the network and all the devices connected to it from anywhere through a computer or smartphone. It basically enables your network to send and retrieve information, which will be sent from specific remote servers back to your network;


Geofencing = an invisible perimeter around a home or other environment which allows for a true home automation detection system setup;

An example: when your garage opens automatically, the lights are turned, the thermostat changes the temperature once all the connected devices detect that you have arrived home; this also works in reverse, so that when you leave the house or exit the geofence boundary, the lights are automatically turned off, the heating turned down, and the doors locked behind you;

In other words: a geofencing is a digital territory where you can enable trigger actions from other connected devices places within the same physical environment and which are triggered by Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, or other portable devices once you enter the geofenced boundary;


Geolocation = a series of techniques making it possible for satellites to determine the geographical position of a mobile device from the radio waves it emits;


Groups = a collection of devices that are linked and connected into one controllable zone and therefore sharing the same controller;

An example: a group of smart shades can be controlled from the same remote button;

In other words: a controller can switch on all the devices belonging to the same group with one action instead of having to turn on each device individually. Users can set up groups using a home automation app rather than activating each device individually;


G.U.I (Graphic User Interface) = another term which refers to the user interface from a mobile app, touch panel, TV, or other appliances that are designed to control smart electronic devices;


H

HAN (Home Area Network, also called a Home Network) = the network used to communicate all the digital devices together within the area of the user’s home;

An example: a home network can include Wi-Fi (802.11), Bluetooth (802.15), Zigbee, and Zwave (802.15.4). It can also be composed of several devices like modems, wireless routers, gateways, smart devices, switches, or hubs.


HDL = one of the key players in the home automation industry offering  comprehensive intelligent control systems and integrated whole home/building automation solutions for residential, hospitality, and commercial environments;

What’s more: HDL Automation is an international technology company headquartered in Guangzhou (South-East China) with two proprietary intelligent control systems called “Buspro” and “Buspro Wireless”;




Home Automation = the combination of hardware and software solutions to control and manage peripherals, devices, and electronic components in a home environment to maximize comfort and efficiency;

In other words: home automation can be as simple as adding remote control to a few lights. It can also refer to the creation of more complex systems that include automatic sensors and security systems;


Hub (also called “gateway”) = a device that can communicate and send commands to smart devices using a phone, tablet, or computer;

An example: a smart home hub allows you to control your devices from your smartphone, an app, or with your voice so that you can control everything and harmonize how all devices work together. It often looks like a small white or black box that connects to the router;

In other words: a wireless hub is used to orchestrate a series of smart devices located in the same environment. This way, all devices communicate wirelessly with a central device, which combines all the data and harmonize how each device works together to maintain a coherent smart home ecosystem;


Hue = a family of smart bulbs and other lighting products created by Philips that can be connected to the home network and controlled by the Hue app;

An example: with a Hue smart bulbs, you can control the color or intensity of the lights in a room directly from your phone;


HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) = the system technology in charge of the environmental comfort of a smart home;


K

KNX = an international standard for residential and building control;

An example: intelligent control system products based on the KNX standard can be used mainly in office buildings, large venues, urban complexes, and residential buildings;


I

IFTTT (If This Then That) = a simple interface that can be used to create scenes and perform functions on smart devices using Applets;

An example: you can use an IFTTT recipe to let smart devices do more intelligent tasks, like turning a bulb to blue when it’s raining;

In other words: with this software platform, you can create your own recipes or download pre-made recipes;


Include = the process of adding a device to a wireless network so that when it is included, it can be controlled by the network;


Interoperability = the ability for different smart home services and devices to work together seamlessly;


Insteon = a smart home technology that allows a host of devices controlling light, heat, visual, and motion sensors to communicate through mains power sockets and radio frequencies;

In other words: this smart home protocol was first introduced in 2005 and can operate through the power lines in a home or wirelessly, leading to very reliable home automation systems;


Integrator (also known as a system integrator) = a person or company specialized in building a smart home system, connecting smart devices, building the wiring, enabling connections, configuring the system, and more similar tasks;


IoT (Internet of Things) = a series of interconnected devices which can communicate with each other and with other devices through the Web;

An example: IoT devices can include smart doorbells, smart refrigerators, smart TVs, security cameras, and the list goes on.

In other words: the Internet of Things is a popular term referring to everyday smart devices that connect to the Internet and each other wirelessly. IoT technology has had an explosive growth in recent years, where more people can connect to their smart devices wherever they are in the world;


IP (Internet Protocol) = a standard set of rules used between Ethernet and Wi-Fi which allows devices to communicate with each other over a network using their IP address;

An example: an IP address looks something like this: IPv4: 192.168.0.1 - IPv6: 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334;


IR (Infrared) = a wavelength of light that can’t be seen with the human eye but is frequently used in TV remotes, cable boxes, and other common electronic devices;


L

LED (Light Emitting Diode) = a modern type of light bulb that consumes only 10% of the power used by traditional incandescent bulbs;


LightwaveRF = a wireless technology first launched in 2011 that is used to control home electronics from a single wireless network;

In other words: LightwaveRF is a more affordable alternative to Z-Wave. It’s also perfect for setting up a simple home network where you can control lights and home appliances;


Locks (Smart) = devices that connect to the door and are controlled with a wireless signal emitted by a smartphone, watch, tablet, or with voice command;

An example: smart locks usually can offer a whole list of features, including keyless entry upon approach, timed guest passes, and voice-controlled activation with smart devices like Alexa;

In other words: smart locks allow you to control the entrance of your home wherever you are in the world;


M

Management Platform = a user interface which is used for controlling smart devices;

In other words: this user interface usually takes the form of an Android/iOS application or of a website;


Meshing = a wireless network architecture where each connected device acts as a signal repeater to share the information received from a terminal (the hub/gateway) to its final destination (the furthest smart device);


Mesh Network = a network type that allows each device to send, receive, and repeat messages;

In other words: a Mesh Network is a local network in which the infrastructure nodes connect directly and dynamically;


Microcontroller (MCU) = a small computer on a single integrated circuit which is designed for embedded applications and used in automatically controlled embedded systems;


Modem = a device that retrieves the signals provided by the Internet service provider and translates them into an Internet connection;


Module = a device designed to add wireless control to a lighting appliance;

An example: a dimmer module enables you to control a lamp wirelessly, changing its brightness and turning it on/off wherever you are;

In other words: modules and actuators mean the same and are interchangeable terms. They are both elements that make your home fixtures and fittings perform tasks in response to information from a sensor;


Momentary Switch (also known as Retractive, Mono-Stable or Bell-Push) = a switch that only remains in the on state while you press it and then return to the off state when the button is released;

In other words: momentary switches are often used in home automation systems;


Mood = a Lightwave RF term where one switch controls many devices at the same time and each device receives a different command;

An example: with a pre-set mood, you can send the command to turn lamp A off, raise the roller blind on Windows C, and turn the TV on, all at the same time;

In other words: the mood is a smart home technology term used to define when one switch or event can control many devices at the same time and regulate what they do;


Multi-room Audio = a system where sound can be streamed between speakers and a media player in different rooms of the house, typically using a Wi-Fi network;


N

Navigator = a device used to control other smart home devices;

In other words: this device is usually a touch panel, remote control, dashboard, or a menu screen displayed on a TV;


Natural Language Processing (NLP) = the ability of a computer or device to understand a spoken question or command given by a human;

An example: the technology behind NLP is now more prevalent than ever in many smart speakers and smart home voice controllers, like Google Home and Alexa;

In other words: as the cornerstone of AI and home automation, NLP is the ability of a system to take audio input as a voice command and transform it into an output with an action, trigger, or audio response based on the given instruction;


Network (also called “Wireless Network”) = when in an automated home, two or more devices are connected via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi;

An example: a set of thermostats or smart switches can be connected to form a network, where they can exchange, distribute, and disseminate information;

In other words: in home automation, a network is a group or system of interconnected smart devices;


NFC (Near Field Communication) = a technology that enables devices close to one another to detect each other and share data without an Internet connection or pairing code;

In other words: NFC is helpful because it forms the basis for Apple Pay and Google Wallet. In a smart home, NFC can simplify streaming between media players;


Node = a specific point or device located on a home automation network;

In other words: each device on a home network has a unique address, which is identified by the network controller to communicate and to get control over it;


Node ID = the address of a single Z-Wave Node with an address length of 1Byte (8-bits);


O

OK, Google = a voice-activation software that enables the user to send a command or question to Google’s smart digital assistant;

An example: you can adjust the temperature in your home by saying “OK, Google, turn the heating up”;


Optical Fiber = a thin, flexible fiber with a glass core through which light signals can be sent with very little loss of strength;

In other words: an optical fiberglass cable uses light to transmit current, meaning that it can fit huge amounts of data down a relatively thin pipe;


Outlets (Smart) = (also known as smart plugs) an adaptor that sits between traditional non-smart devices and a power outlet in the wall;

An example: smart outlets can help you to control when devices and lights should be activated, wherever you are;

In other words: while looking like a normal outlet, a smart outlet works as a wireless switch, which can be controlled remotely through voice or a smartphone app;


P

Pairing (similar to “Include”) = the process of adding a device to a wireless network, which can then control the paired device through a wireless protocol like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi;

In other words: once you sync up a smart device with your Wi-Fi, hub, or another device, you can then control and monitor the paired device using an assistant or app;


Protocol = a language used by various smart devices to communicate together;

An example: the most common smart home protocols include Bluetooth LE, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, and ZigBee;

In other words: relying on multiple protocols within the same environment can be a problem, as all the devices will be speaking a different language; that’s why it’s important to use smart hubs and controllers to translate different languages into a unified format controlled from a single point of contact, also known as the controller of the smart home hub;


R

Relay = a wireless-controlled device that controls the on/off state of a local appliance (load);

In other words: the relay controls the power going to the load through standard main cables. It is usually associated with inserts and modules controlling appliances of more than 600W, except for lights;


Remote Access = the ability to give the user access to smart appliances and security systems whenever the smart homeowner is away;

An example: imagine when you can control the smart lighting status for your home from a mobile app during a holiday;

In other words: remote access (also called “remote control”) is control from anywhere in the world over a part of your smart devices or each one of them;


RF (Radio Frequency) = a signal used by all wireless technology to send and receive information;

An example: smart home technologies use several RF ranges, including LightwaveRF (433.92MHz), Z-Wave (868.42MHz EU), and ZigBee (868.42MHz EU);


RGBW (Red, Green, Blue, White) = an additive color model in which red, green, and blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colors;

In other words: RGBW bulbs and controllers allow you to select any shade in the color spectrum created by the mix of red, green, and blue light;


Router = a device that is plugged into the modem to broadcast the Internet connection over the Wi-Fi network;

In other words: a router allows you to control your smart devices from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection;


S

Samsung Link = Samsung’s version of AirPlay using DLNA to enable Samsung products to share data over the Internet;


Scene (a synonym of “mood”) = a group of multiple devices which are controlled all with one command;

An example: there are endless possibilities of what scenes you can set up for your home, for example, “turn the light switch off and open window B”;


Sensor = a home automation device that can detect changes and allow a reaction to being triggered by other components or devices called “actuators.” A sensor allows the user to gauge the home environment, detect any danger, and as a result, take action if required;

An example: sensors send information across the network based on some changing conditions like temperature, movement, and even light levels. Basically, a motion sensor will send information when motion is detected, including sending messages to your phone;

In other words: sensors can detect anything from sound and temperature to motion and light changes. When using multiple sensors connected to their respective actuators, you can create a fully automated smart home environment where all the devices are combined in an integrated smart environment;


Setpoint Temperature = the temperature at which a thermostat is set;

An example: if your living room’s ambient temperature is below your home setpoint temperature, the thermostat will send a signal to turn on the heating system;


Smart Device = any device or object which can communicate with other objects over the same Internet connection;

In other words: smart devices can connect to the smart home hub and each other via a series of protocols, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE;


Smart Home (also called “connected home”) = any device or object that can communicate with other objects over an Internet connection;


Smart Lock = a keyless lock that requires the correct wireless signal from a smartwatch or phone to move the deadbolt;


Smart Meter = a new generation of electric and gas meters that can digitally transmit meter readings to a utility company;

In other words: smart meters allow for more accurate measurements of electricity and gas consumption levels at home, which can help reduce the risk of receiving overly pricey bills;


Smart Speaker = a device that can be placed around the home and activated via voice commands;

An example: a few examples of smart speakers are Google Home, Apple’s HomeKit, and Amazon Echo;


Static Controller = a network controller with a fixed physical position;

An example: a static controller can take the form of a remote controller, smart switch, or touch panel;

What’s more: we recommend having at least one static controller in your smart home hub to ensure a reliable network operation;


Stream = the data flow from a media player to an end-user;


SmartThings = a management platform for smart devices designed by Samsung;

In other words: SmartThings is a modular system of hub, sensors, and actuators that controls and secures your home;


Switch = a wireless controlled device used to control the on/off state of a local light (load) and the power going to the light via standard mains cables;


U

Unpairing = the action of removing a device from a wireless network;

In other words: unpairing a device means the same as “excluding” it from a wireless network. Once the device is unpaired, it can’t be controlled by the network and should be paired again at any time later;


X

X10 = a wireless communication standard used for carrying control signals wirelessly or over the electrical wiring in a home;

In other words: first introduced in 1975, X10 is one of the oldest smart home protocols still in use. It used to be the primary method for devices to communicate before the release of Z-Wave and ZigBee. As opposed to modern alternatives, X10 doesn’t support encryption, is much slower, and is susceptible to electrical interference;


W

Wake Word = a word that once said aloud by a user, can put a device in listening mode for voice control of smart devices where a command follows the wake word;

An example: wake words can change depending on the smart digital assistant you’re employing. It could go from “Hey Google, turn on the lights” to “Alexa, call Jim’s mobile”;


Wi-Fi = a wireless local area network (WLAN) using radio waves to provide wireless high-speed Internet and network connections;

In other words: Wi-Fi is the most common wireless protocol (language) for connecting multiple devices. A wireless network allows computers, smartphones, printers, and other compatible electronic devices to communicate with each other and the Internet when the router is connected to the Internet within a particular area or range;

What’s more: one of the main advantages of using Wi-Fi enabled devices is that they can easily communicate through a standard home network router without a dedicated smart home hub. However, when many enabled Wi-Fi devices are working together at the same time, you might experience brand width issues;


Wireless Network = a group of electronic devices linked together which are communicating through radio waves (RF) like for Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, and ZigBee;


Works with Nest = a device labeled as “Works with Nest” is designed to connect to and work alongside other Nest products;

An example: a “Works with Next” device could be connected to the Nest Learning thermostat;

In other words: the “Works with Nest” products work together with a load of other smart Nest products, spanning from fans to lights. This translates to excellent connectivity and seamless automation;


Z

Z-cloud = a cloud-based central controller for Z-Wave networks that allows users to set up, manage, and control Z-Wave devices on a network without the need for complicated central controllers or gateways;


Zigbee = a type of wireless communication standard that enables all the home electronics to be controlled from a singles wireless network;

An example: this protocol can be useful for transmitting data up to 100 meters between devices that require long battery life within the same wireless personal area networks;

In other words: this network technology is easy to install with no complicated programming and no new cables to run. At the same time, it provides sophisticated control of the other ZigBee devices in your home network. It’s known for its excellent range, low-energy usage, and fast speed when used for communicating between different devices. The side note is that ZigBee compatibility between different manufacturers’ products is limited;


Zone = a specific room or area in a building or room where there’s a set of several events that take place;

An example: a zone can refer to an area in the living room where a certain tracklist plays each time you enter the room;


Z-Wave = a wireless protocol for home automation and smart home devices that establish connectivity in the home. It is a closed mesh system that supports up to 232 nodes. Z-Wave is owned by Sigma Designs but licensed to hundreds of device manufacturers around the world;

An example: you can pick among over 1000 Z-Wave devices available on the market, making this wireless protocol a good one for starting with smart home automation. It is also useful for passing small data packets since it avoids the interference with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on the crowded 2.4GHz band;

In other words: this increasingly popular protocol uses a mesh network, where each device using this protocol acts as a signal booster for each other device in the relay. Basically, Z-Wave is a way for all your smart gadgets, sensors, activators, and appliances to talk to each other;



Other

2-Way Lighting = a lighting system where two switches control one light;

An example: a hall light can be controlled from the hall and even the upstairs landing;

2-Wire Lighting System = a lighting system that doesn’t include neutral at the light switch;

3-Wire Lighting System = a lighting system that consists of three terminals so that two different switches can control the circuit;



Sum it Up

We hope that this guide was useful in shedding some light on the most common smart home terminology. Sure, new words are created and used almost every day. But if you master the terms we described here above, you’ll be well ready to start your journey in home automation.


If you are ready to make your home a smarter home, contact us here or find the closest HDL distributor in your country. And remember, share this article with other smart home enthusiasts on social media.


Stay tuned for more such content!




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