There is a difference between “smart home technology” and integration.

“smart home” usually just means App accessibility in the home, or maybe remote accessibility outside the home. Generally, such devices are also referred to as being part of the Internet of Things (IoT). Examples include Nest thermostat and MyQ garage door openers.

Integration means that smart home devices can communicate with one another and cause actions to happen automatically. Examples of manufacturers who specialize in creating these kinds of platforms are Crestron, Control4, and Savant. Examples of how integrated automation can manifest in a home are: 1) when the alarm system is triggered, all the lights come on, 2) when you press the goodnight button, all the audio systems turn off and the motorized window shades close, 3) when your teen’s door unlock code is entered between the hours of 2pm and 4pm, you get a text saying “Little Suzy is Home”.

People assume integration is new it is not. It’s only since the iPhone that costs have come down to allow it into a greater number of homes.

See article history of smart home:

The old way was for a manufacturer to make as many system components as possible in house to ensure communication, quality, and user experience. AN example of this is Crestron electronics.

The future of integration is manufacturer partnerships where communications are defined as part of product design. There are many examples of these today at varying levels of intricacy. For example, the partnerships of Sonos and Lutron, Alexa and Nest, etc.

Integration also has growing ties with modern streaming music services such as Pandora, Tidal, Deezer, Spotify, etc. The music services have control platforms that include a lot of metadata (like cover art, playlists, and song information) that needs software integration to work properly in a modern audio system. This is usually another form of manufacturer level integration.

Internet of Things/Smart home devices have varying levels of online security. Some have none. One of the important reasons for selecting products that are capable of integrating with one another through an overall control system is it adds another layer of security, either by taking over the remote access of a given item through an encrypted remote access service (for example Control4’s 4sight remote access subscription service) or by the manufacturers boycott of integration with certain products due to security concerns.

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