Z-Wave technology is a form of wireless communication specifically designed to monitor and report statuses in residential and small business environments. If you have some form of smart home controller, chances are that it uses Z-Wave. As the market leader with over 70 million products in use, this technology is what keeps your connected home running efficiently.
What is Z-Wave Plus?
Z-Wave Plus is a certification given to products that utilize the extended features of the next generation of Z-Wave technology. While Z-Wave and Z-Wave Plus have a lot of things in common, there’s also some big differences in functionality as the “Plus” products take advantage of expanded features. The devices are “smarter”, easier to install, and generally a big improvement over the last generation Z-Wave.
Chances you’ve probably heard someone talking about the Internet of Things, but what exactly is it? Different people have different ideas when it comes to defining what it is, what it does, and what it means for us. So to keep you informed, we’ll try to answer all those questions in this article.
What is IoT?
The Internet of Things, or “IoT”, is a system of uniquely identified devices, objects, mechanical and digital machines that can transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human, or human-to-computer, interaction.
We use IoT devices in our everyday life: things like smartphones, Apple Watches, Fitbits, smart thermostats, locks, cameras — the list can go on and on. And in the near future, almost anything you can think of will be able to be transformed into an IoT device. Seriously. All you’ll need is to assign a unique IP address to a new device and provide it with the ability to transfer data over a network. That’s of course a simplified version of the actual process. And it probably requires more work and knowledge than your standard weekend project, but basically, any natural or man-made object can be turned into an IoT thing.
In 2017, our homes deal with more data than ever before. Whether through a cord connection or WiFi, a regular home has a constant stream of information. This is doubly true for the smart home.
There are a wide variety of different data formats and protocols that are used to keep your smart home online and functioning properly. Many of these protocols interface well together, working together to provide the ultimate in convenience and home security.
In this article we’ll discuss the basics of smart home technology, and get into more detail about how your connected home stays online and communicative.
Smart Home Protocols
As our homes become more and more connected, smart products need the capability to exchange information with multiple devices. To exchange this information, these products need to transmit data in the same way, i.e. communication protocols.
A protocol varies in technology and function, but generally accomplishes the same goal: sending a signal from one device to another in order to trigger an action. These actions can range from turning lights on or off to controlling a smart security system. Having a thorough understanding of the difference between protocols is a big benefit when you’re shopping around for devices for an automated home ecosystem. Each protocol has its pros and cons, which we’ll get into below.
As smart home technology becomes more and more affordable, many people are starting to experience the convenience and utility that a connected home has to offer. Despite the easier access, however, smart technology can still be pretty pricey.
Fortunately, in an effort to get their products in the hands of more consumers, many smart technology companies are offering rebates for adopters of this new technology. While you may suffer from a case of analysis paralysis while researching devices like smart thermostats or smart lighting, it’s important to realize that — in many cases — you could be eligible for a rebate.
We’ve listed some information below about rebates for eligible smart home products.
Smart Thermostat Rebates
One area of smart technology that’s seen major growth is home thermostats. Many providers of this technology offer rebates to make their products a little more affordable.
To put it simply, power over ethernet (PoE) allows you to both power and connect your devices using an ethernet cable. With PoE, the cable that connects your device to the internet also serves as the device’s power source, eliminating the need for an extra cord and consolidating the two functions for increased convenience.
Power over Ethernet devices can either be power sourcing equipment (PSE) or powered devices (PD) or — in some cases — both! Power sourcing equipment is usually something like a network switch that transmits power, while powered devices cover a wide range of technology from VOIP phones to IP cameras.
What are the Benefits of Power Over Ethernet?
The main benefit of PoE, as mentioned above, is the fact that your ethernet cord plays double duty in both data transmission and power supply. Having these two functions consolidated into one cord reduces cable clutter, which can be a life-saver in cramped apartments. Not to mention the fact that an Ethernet connection is way more reliable than WiFi, meaning you won’t need to worry about flaky WiFi connection problems whatsoever.