Before selecting a home automation system, you should consider the following:
Compatibility among the devices in your house. You need to be sure that the product you select can control as many devices in you house as possible. Even if you don’t want more than lights and shades control today, you may want to expand the system later on. There is no unified standard right now. So you should look for a controller that supports common home control technologies (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ZigBee , Z-wave) or is a big enough company with multiple uses (Crestron, Lutron, Insteon, etc.).
Most of the systems on today’s market can control lighting, thermostats, door locks, security cameras and have environmental sensors and management tools to improve system efficiency. Not all smart home systems support window coverings, garage door openers, entry sensors or home theatre systems. You have to enquire the possibility to connect those via third parties devices (or “bridges”).
A good system is easy to use, promotes energy efficiency and improves the safety of your home. You might be able to create scenes or scenarios that cover the diverse needs of your home life ( more about scenarios – go to solutions – scenarios). Look for ITTT (“ If This Than That “) technology at “How It Works” page.
Controlling the system over your phone or tablet is commonly available for most of the systems. So the system that can only be used with its own interface is probably outdated.
Voice and gesture control capabilities are definitely the future of home automation. Nowadays it is still new, and most advanced systems are working on adding on this cool feature.
Installation and set-up
Find out what it takes to install the system, whether it is a wired or wireless, whether it is a DIY system or requires custom professional installation and programming.
DIY systems are usually less expensive, have simple installation and wireless connection. However watch for reliability and stability of such system, read reviews and comparisons, check what people say about customer support and review the return policies.
If you are not extremely tech-savvy or can afford a custom design and installation, go with professionals. It will guarantee your system will be working from the beginning. However watch and discuss possibility of updates, changes in scenarios and service calls, which may be costly. Make sure you have a good understanding of how to use your system, so that you require less technical assistance down the road.