As mentioned in my previous article, we live in exciting times when it comes to Home Automation. Sci-Fi fans the world over are living the dream of being able to speak to a computer and have it reply, even performing simple tasks such as turning the lights on and off, cranking up the heating or changing the channel on the TV. Homeowners are able to keep an eye on their property and simulate occupancy while they're out and about, giving the invaluable gift of peace of mind.
This is achieved through the use of a smart device such as Amazon's "Echo" smart speakers, which connects to the AI known as Alexa, Google's "Home" speakers (powered by Google Assistant), or Apple's HomePod (Siri).
Our smart home offerings come in the form of the latest range of ZigBee controllers. Zigbee is a protocol used to wirelessly connect devices within a smart home network. This will allow you to connect our strips to an existing smart home system and use one of the above devices to bark orders at them. Want to dim the lights for movie night? Just ask. Want to turn the room pink or blue or red to help with telling the kids a bedtime story? Speak up!
ZigBee comes with many advantages, such as providing stronger ranges, with less interference. However, it doesn't connect directly to your WiFi router, leaving the question "Well, how do I connect it, then?" The answer is this: you'll need a ZigBee hub.
The Amazon Echo Plus (V1 and V2) have the added bonus of containing their own smart hub. With these, you can simply power on the ZigBee controller, locate it using the Alexa app and synchronise everything that way.
If you're using one of the smaller Echo devices, or another alternative, you'll need a bit of extra hardware. There are a number of these available on the market, the biggest names being Phillips Hue, which is a system dedicated to and designed entirely around lighting, while Samsung SmartThings is a more all-round system which can integrate all manner of switches and sensors, even alarms. There are other systems available on the market, so we encourage you to do your own research and find one which matches your requirements. Whichever one you end up choosing could shape the future of your entire smart home setup. The choice is entirely up to you!