Smart Home Market Overview – Home Automation from A to Z
There is a lot that is unclear in the field of Home Automation. Are you supposed to write Smarthome or Smart Home? Which Standard is zappy enough and will really break through? And what is even available in Germany? After all, with time and mass, having to import devices is getting idle and expensive. It follows a hopefully helpful short overview from A to Z.
Two more things in advance: Smart Home Gadgets, that are more an “Appcessorie” than a linkable Smart Home (Total-) Portfolio, are missing in this list. In case we forgot a system, feel free to tell us – in the comments below!
From the house of securifi comes a router called Almond with a 2,4 inch touchscreen, which is with only 90 Euros pretty cheap. For that, it only comes along with two Ethernet LAN-ports, which you can say is rather small featured. Gigabyte is a dead loss. The operation over the touchscreen works without any trouble, a computer is not necessary for the set up. We tested it on here (link). With the Almond 2015 (Zigbee; 149 Euros) and the Almond + (Zigbee and ZWave, 269 Euros) two new routers are supposed to be on the market soon, this time with Gigabit Ports also.
You can get the Almond Touchscreen Router over here on Amazon.
The French from Archos became popular with their tablets, meanwhile they also have a Smart Home-Set, which is available for 199 Euros. The central device is – of course – an Android Tablet, that controls over the diverse sensors (in the Starter kit: two outdoor-sensors for temperature and humidity, two motion sensors, two mini-cameras). Archos works with low-energy-Bluetooth and transmits above 433 and 800 Mhz – for instance to outlets.
You can get the Archos Smart Home Starterkit on Amazon starting at 200 Euros (RRP)
The FRITZ!Box, the gate to internet, has all kinds of potential to be the Smart Home-Center. Though, this is only used very marginal by the Business AVM, which is stationed in Berlin. Right now there is a DECT outlet, which is available for about 45 Euros that can be controlled with an app or time controlling. A heating thermostat is being planned, but not yet on the market. Though, AVM has the crucial advantage, that many people already have a FRITZ!Box at home and therefore could be predestined future Smart Home-Customers.
The AVM DECT! Outlet is available on Amazon and the DECT Thermostat is already listed and will soon be available as well. All posts about AVM on siio can be found on here.
The Smart Home-Portfolio from Belkin bears the euphonious name WeMo and is set up pretty wide: Outlet, Motion Sensor, LEDs, all of them are active components that always have to be involved in the power supply system. All that is due to the fact that Belkin is concentrated on Wi-Fi, a double-edged sword – almost every household already has its own router, though Wi-Fi is yet energy-efficient. Philip took a look at the WeMo Switch and Motion Sensor and we let the WeMo LED Lights and Philip’s Hue compete against each other on here. Might rather be something for the hobbyists, but not less fascinating, the WeMo Maker by Belkin – which Daniel took a look at on here.
You can find the whole WeMO Portfolio on here. More about Belkin’s WeMo Portfolio can be read on here.
The German PowerLAN-specialists from Devolo introduced the Z-Wave-based HomeControl at the IFA 2014. Due to the fact that Z-Wave-components are compatible among themselves, they are a wise decision for the Smart Home-Center. Shortly before Christmas though, Devolo announced that they would not yet be satisfied with the software. It is supposed to start at the end of the first quarter of 2015 now.
You can read more about Devolo and Home Control on here.
With smart luster terminals, digital power makes use of consisting power lines, in order to link up Smart Home-Devices. Similar to a Bus-System, doing this, the intelligence is not central either, but is spread over all terminals. The digital power server, which allows the access to Smart Home while on the go, is placed in the distribution box. On this, so called apps that perform automation and scenes, can be installed. To not lose the overview, the terminals have different colors depending on its use. Next to lamps, blinds and multimedia devices can be integrated and turned into scenes as well.
You can even find those colored terminals on amazon. Though, the installation should only be done by an electrician!
The first Wi-Fi-based components from D-Link were radio controlled outlets, a motion sensor, and a camera, all of them can be controlled via app. Soon, there is supposed to be a Connected-Home-Hub, which speaks Z-Wave, as well.
Fibaro has two systems on the market, one of them for 600 Euros, and the other, which is the Light-Version, for 279 Euros. Both of them communicate with Z-Wave and are – typical for Fibaro – beautiful to look at. The 600-Euro-System, called Home Center 2 can do, in consideration of its price, a lot: Z-Wafe, integration from IP-Devices, link to scenes, voice control through “Lili”, and programmability via LUA. Die small version, Home Center Lite, is conceived as entry-level model, does not have audio gateway, and copes without LUA. You can find a direct comparison of both centrals on here.
You can find the whole portfolio of Fibaro on here. You can read all our articles about Fibaro on here.
Gigaset Elements functions with DECT ULE (ultra-low energy, high reach and own radio band without interference) and builds upon a central with Cloud. Though, Gigaset concentrates on a safety-component and is not compatible to other DECT-applications, such as those from AVM. The Gigaset-Package is available for 150 Euros.
You can find all posts about Gigaset Elements under the tag “Gigaset”.
Homee builds upon tetris optics. The white base cube called “Braincube” functions via Wi-Fi, latches onto the home network and can also be controlled from on the go. “Braincube” can do Airplay and DLNA. Colored enhancement cubes can even bring Z-Wave and EnoCean radio into the house, Zigbee is still pending. With Homee all kinds of devices can be controlled and turned into scenes. The white cube including an extension costs 199 Euros, any separate stone 99 Euros. We tested Home extensively on here. You can buy Homee on here.
The East Frisians from Homematic showed how to do it and were some of the first german Smart Home-Producers. The portfolio is pretty big, they have electronics-, safety-, and heating-components, as well as several weather sensors. Homematic unfortunately only accepts own brand components and does not have an app on the market. But on the other hand, their community is pretty big and offers all kinds of help and reading material online.
You can find the whole Homematic portfolio on here. You can find all our posts about Homematic on here.
Due to the fact that Homewizard transmits more than 433 and 868 Mhz band, even devices from other producers, such as Coco, Smartwares, or ITK can be connected to the Gateway. But also IP based components, such as, Foscam cameras, the Thinking Cleaner (we tested it), or the Philips Hue, can be connected. The systems is constantly being developed, so that new components are constantly joining in. Matching heating thermostats and a door lock actuator, for example, are already available. Starting at 250 Euros, the Homewizard-beginner set is available with various components. With its intuitive modular principle, the Homewizard is – especially for beginners – qualified for the set-up of automatisms.
We tested the Homwizard Central, as well as the Smartwares heating thermostat for the Homewizard central. You can find all posts about Homewizard on siio on here.
Evohome by Honeywell is a system, developed for the controlling of heaters, consisting of a keypad with touch display for 229 Euros and thermostats with “Open Window” recognition, each for 85 Euros. The communication happens via 868 MHz radio. The evohome-algorithm is teachable and optimizes its heating cycle independently. To control the heater from on the go, a gateway has to be bought for 100 Euros.
Throughout the winter, Hamashi heated himself with this system and reported about it in his post.
At the IFA2014, Hauppauge, usually provider of TV- and Video products, introduced the system “mySmartHome”, with which the New Yorkers want to start into the Smart Home-Market. “MySmartHome” builds upon Z-Wave and is supposed to come out in two starter kit-versions: one for safety and the other one for control. Further details are not yet known.
Loxone builds upon cable, but is not a bus-system in the proper sense, because there is a center in the distribution box. A KNX-Bus is compatible as well as an own radio system, which comes via an extension called Air Base Extension. Therefore adapter plugs, smoke detectors, and other devices can be controlled as well. For builders, Lexon is a cheap alternative to the conventional KNX. For the DiY Retrofitters, Lexone introduced their mini server Go. We tested it on here.
The system Max! by eQ-3, also known as Xavax by Hama, is also sold by mobilcom Debitel. One thing, several names. Max! exclusively functions for heaters. There is a central station (Cube), as well as heating- and wall-thermostats, contacts for windows, and a switch. It can be controlled via App, though via a Cloud, eQ-3 safes the data on an own server.
Marcel took a look at the MAX! system on here.
The German Telekom is involved in the market as well, in fact it is involved with the Smart Home-Platform Qivicon, which the company lined up along with various manufacturers, such as D-Link, Miele, or Philips. The Home Base is also compatible with Homematic and ZigBee (via an extension). Chargeable plugins or apps are necessary for the creation of automatisms. The usage of Qivicon actually costs a monthly basic charge. Vattenfall offers an electricity rate, that concludes Qivicon, and meanwhile a Two-Year-Package directly by Telekom is available for 200 Euros, including the central station, as well.
Meanwhile the Qivicon starter-packages are available on amazon as well.
Rademacher, known for awning- and blind- motors, links up their own components in the Homepilot system. Homepilot 2 comes with a Media player and brings the possibility, to connect the TV, so that Smart Home can even be controlled from the couch via TV (modified XBMC-surface on screen). All that works via an own radio system called DuoFem. Through USB-Stick for 100 Euros, it can be expanded on Z-Wave. The Homepilot 1 is available starting at 250 Euros, its replacement, the Homepilot 2 costs 35o Euros.
In this post we took a closer look at the Homepilot 1.
RWE Smart Home
Also from eQ-3, originates the hardware that RWE uses for their SmartHome. Slightly better looking than Homematic, but according to user reports, SmartHome seems to suffer under a “viscous” WebUI. The whole thing is not compatible to Homematic either. You can get it starting at 300 Euros, even if you are not an electricity customer of RWE.
You can find the whole RWE SmartHome portfolio on here.
The artificial word RaZberry describes the combination of Raspberry Pi and a Z-Wave-Module, especially suitable for hobbyists. The module that is available for 60 Euros has to be put on the Raspberry Pi and there you go. The accompanying software is available for download free of charge.
Not yet on the market are the three announced centrals by Schwaiger. The smallest one is supposed to speak Z-Wave, the one in the middle in addition to that also ZigBee and the biggest is, besides Z-Wave and ZigBee, supposed to integrate Powerline as well. Furthermore, all models have Wi-Fi and a RJ45 Port, as well as an HDMI-Stick for the TV.
The Zipato-central basically works with Z-Wave and is expendable to ZigBee, 433Mhz, UPNP, DLNA, KNX, and EnOcean – a real wide range. Automations are via “Rule Creator” manageable without any programming skills. The access from on the go is implemented via app. The whole thing is indeed located in the upper price range, but is assured of a good future.
You can find the Zipabox and the modular extensions on here.
Should there be any systems missing, you can feel free to write it in the comments. Perhaps also a remark, which advantages and disadvantages the systems have.
We collected a compilation between smart heating controllers over here: heating thermostats – this are the heating controllers in the Smart Home Market.
Find the original german article here – Translation by Linda Radtke