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61. Construction - Smart House - The Problem with Off-the-Shelf Retrofit IoT Devices

As modern residential designers in Newcastle we find the issue with this is that there is a limitation to the quantity and the intelligence of the automation. The home will always be a house with smart devices rather than an integrated home automation solution. The main issues are:

  1. Manufacturers of IoT products have differing communication networks (such as WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee and Z-wave). The most efficient solution possible is to purchase a separate device called a smart-hub which receives all of these signals and pushes the communication to a smartphone in the one app. The effectiveness of the system and the ability for different devices to communicate with each other is limited by a consumer app rather than a professionally installed and coded system.
  2. The quantity of devices connected to the home hub is limited. Adding future devices increases the risk of operating problems and programmed relationships set up between existing devices. In contrast, many professionally designed and installed systems are effortlessly updated despite the age of the infrastructure.
  3. As more demand is placed on the wifi network, reliability suffers. An installed smart-home system will have many complex automated devices wired directly to the internet through the architecture of the renovation or new home. Direct internet ports throughout the house for wired connection of devices are an important feature of the smart house. Known as smart-wiring, the infrastructure will allow maximum operating potential as wi-fi networks become more and more saturated with increased demands such as smartphone use, streaming services, and IoT.
  4. The automation is largely out of sight, with an architecturally integrated system, rather than an ad-hoc jumble of separate devices all plugged in to various power-points.
  5. There are many features unavailable as plug and play options. For example, For a shower to turn on the water to the preferred pressure and temperature of a recognised user, an electronic valve must be installed within the plumbing of the house. If a plug-and-play option for the same result ever did become available it would be a part of the showerhead, limiting your choice of shower fitting and having unsightly housing for electronics.
  6. A major proponent of an effective home automation system is the collection of environmental data. This data is sent to the main computing hub through sensors. Sensors can measure and identify things like relative humidity, sunrise, facial recognition and rainfall in order to automate the house to respond appropriately. Installation and integration of these sensors is typically a professional job.

It is up to you as the client how much, if at all, you would like to future-proof your home. The Rubix Collective team of modern residential designers in Newcastle is happy to have further discussions with you if a smart home is of interest to you.The Rubix Collective can also bring in expert consultants to provide more detailed advice and product offerings.

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