Top 5 Home Automation Technologies




Aura is an IoT Platform that allows you to control and connect to any ‘Smart’ device using any other Device (mobile, tablet, voice). Its backend architecture allows the platform to interconnect more than 3500+ brands and devices that may or may not operate using the same technology. For example - A wireless device operating on Z-wave and a wired device operating on KNX can talk to each other and exchange commands via Aura.


Aura uses various Home Automation technologies.


The primary technologies Aura operates on are as follows -


  • Z-Wave (Wireless)

  • KNX (Wired)

  • Wi-Fi (Wireless)

  • BLE (Wireless)

  • IR (Wireless)

  • RSTP (Wired)

  • SIP (Wired)


Each technology and its utility as part of the Aura technology ecosystem has been discussed in further detail below.


Z-Wave (Wireless Installations)


Amongst others, Aura utilizes Z-Wave home automation technology for wireless implementations due to the flexibility on offer in terms of interoperability and robustness. Z-Wave is a wireless technology that lets you connect small sensors and smart home devices to an Internet gateway for remote control and access. It is based on a mesh network topology, which allows remote control and monitoring of devices and systems over the internet long range. This means if one "hop" in the network fails or is down, Z-Wave can communicate with other devices on the same network allowing the operation to continue without interruption without needing to add more repeaters to extend the range. Having a Z-wave network in your home can allow control of lights, switches, thermostat controls, etc from anywhere in the world. While Z-Wave signals can readily pass through most walls, floors, and ceilings, the devices can also intelligently navigate around barriers to provide seamless, comprehensive whole-home coverage.


While Z-Wave has a range of 100 meters or 328 feet in the open air, building materials reduce that range, it is recommended to have a Z-Wave device roughly every 30 feet, or closer for maximum efficiency. The Z-Wave signal can hop roughly 600 feet, and networks can be linked together for even larger deployments. Each Z-Wave network can support up to 232 Z-Wave devices allowing you the flexibility to add as many smart home devices as you’d like to make sure your Smart Home is optimum. The emergence of the Z-Wave Long Range has taken the range to greater heights. The theoretical limit of the Z-Wave Long Range enabled by the Z-Wave 700 Series chipset is up to a mile!


Z-Wave offers low communication latency, utilizes extremely low power, and eliminates dependence on wi-fi entirely as it operates in a different bandwidth compared to wi-fi thereby reducing chances of any external noise interference. Z-wave also has the largest home control community.


KNX (Wired Installations)


Aura primarily uses KNX for its wired installations. KNX is the home automation technology that controls the automation of integral functions of any residential, commercial, or industrial building such as HVAC, lighting systems, multimedia, security, energy management, and more.


A system that avoids the problem of isolated devices speaking "different languages" is necessary to convey control data to all building management components (or smart home devices/functions). Lighting, blinds and shutters, HVAC, security systems, energy management, audio-video, white goods, displays, and remote control are all managed by KNX devices. KNX is the only open standard for home and building control in the world, and it complies with EN 50090, EN 13321-1, and ISO/ IEC 14543.


Unlike proprietary protocols (which are solely supported by the vendor), KNX is an open global standard with over 300 different manufacturers providing products that smoothly interoperate. KNX ensures that all components, devices, features, and operations of any building (or outdoor space) interact instantaneously and remotely using a common language.


The key central nervous system for all home automation is the KNX bus line. During a new construction or remodeling project, a green cable is added in addition to the regular mains supply. In accordance with the KNX standard for building automation, all of the various building home automation technology devices are then connected to one another via the primary KNX bus line. Sensors, detectors, parameters, and so on are then used to manage the cable system, which can subsequently be readily handled by end-users using a laptop, smartphone, or tablet device.


The KNX bus is routed in parallel to the electrical power supply to all devices and home automation systems on the network linking -


  • Sensors (e.g. push buttons, thermostats, anemometers, movement) gather information & send it on the bus as a data packet.

  • Actuators (dimming units, heating valves, displays) receive data which are converted as actions; Controllers & other logic functions (room temperature controllers, shutter controllers & others)



  • System devices and components (e.g. line couplers, backbone couplers).

Some of the key features of the architecture for KNX systems are -


  • Interworking and distributed application models for the building automation various tasks.

  • Schemes for configuration and management of resources on the network, and to permit the binding of parts of a distributed application in different nodes.

  • A communication system with a message protocol and models for the communication stack in each node (capable of hosting distributed applications (KNX Common Kernel).

  • Models for the realization of these elements when developing actual devices to be mounted and linked in an installation.


KNX solutions simplify home automation by controlling and managing services such as lighting, blinds, HVAC, security systems, entertainment, smart home devices, and more with dependable, intelligent, and user-friendly home automation.


The KNX system is a flexible smart home (or smart-building) alternative that may be converted or implemented very easily in existing building constructions. The KNX system is also an extendable system with a standard that is future-proof. This implies that any KNX system may be easily extended or reprogrammed when system updates are required or desired.


When Aura (with KNX) is deployed, the system adjusts to individual needs whenever lifestyles, tastes, or working situations change.


Aura and KNX provide the ideal long-term solution for a wide range of residential, commercial, and industrial building projects since the entire system is easily modifiable as technology evolves and new KNX compatible items are brought to the market.


IR (Infrared)(Audio-Visual Systems)


Aura utilizes IR wireless home automation technology to control and connect to devices or systems that convey data through infrared (IR) radiation.


IR wireless is used for short and medium-range communications and control. Some systems operate in line-of-sight mode; this means that there must be a visually unobstructed straight line through space between the transmitter(source) and receiver (destination). Other systems operate in diffuse mode, also called scatter mode. This type of system can function when the source and destination are not directly visible to each other. An example is a television remote-control box. The box does not have to be pointed directly at the set, although the box must be in the same room as the set, or just outside the room with the door open.


Aura uses IR wireless technology to control intrusion detectors (motion sensors) and home-entertainment control units such as Home Theatres, TVs, and speakers. Aura comes preloaded with a vendor IR database of all the major brands in use today. While Aura maintains such a database, the platform allows users to onboard new vendors who utilize IR by leveraging the IR learning feature which enables the user to record new IR commands belonging to the new vendor and add them to the local and global database for the Aura community to take advantage of.


Bluetooth


Aura uses Bluetooth (BLE - Bluetooth Low Energy) technology to build short-distance pairings for rapid and effective control and information sharing with devices such as your smartphone, smart speaker, and a variety of other compatible devices. Bluetooth home automation technology is high-speed, low-power wireless communication used to connect phones and other portable devices.


It is a standard (IEEE 802.15.1) for using low-power radio communications to connect phones, computers, and other network devices across short distances without the need for cables. Bluetooth wireless transmissions generally reach small distances of up to 30 feet (10 meters). It is accomplished by incorporating low-cost transceivers into the devices. It operates on the 2.45GHz frequency spectrum and can accommodate up to 721 KBps as well as three voice channels.


Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is a low-power variant of Bluetooth wireless technology that is widely used in today's smartphones, particularly for headsets. The technology was created to expand on the existing Bluetooth base while reducing power and cost for wearable and battery-powered applications. BLE has the same range as Bluetooth Classic (more than 100m). The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has introduced various profiles for healthcare, sports and fitness, and proximity, with profiles for HA systems anticipated in the future. BLE technology runs in the same radio region as Classic Bluetooth technology (the congested 2.400 GHz-2.4835 GHz ISM band), but with a new set of channels.


Wi-Fi


Aura connects to and controls popular wireless devices such as smart speakers, smart plus, and other smart lighting systems using Wi-Fi technology. The emergence of Wi-Fi fundamentally altered the low-end mainstream and DIY markets. Wi-Fi has grown to the point that it is generally available in households seeking home automation systems. Wireless installations provide several advantages, particularly for individuals who want to do it themselves. Lower cost, no cables to run, no holes in walls; you just put devices, link them to your network, and you're ready to go. Wi-Fi is ubiquitous in today’s home, so it should come as no surprise that a wide range of current home automation devices is already compatible with this standard.


Wi-Fi was created by the IEEE (802.11) to allow electronic devices to exchange data or connect to the internet using 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radios. There are several advantages to utilizing Wi-Fi. The first is its pervasiveness. Most individuals have access, and many, if not all, customers interested in home automation systems already have it installed. There is no need to connect your devices with a hub or access point, and your controller (smartphone/tablet) is already linked. Wi-Fi was built to manage high volumes of data flow, so controlling your home gadgets will not be a problem. Furthermore, while joining a house, WiFi range is rarely an issue. A stock antennae can provide 35m indoors and over 100m outside which can further be enhanced using access points or repeaters.


However, Wi-Fi does have its fair share of disadvantages in terms of its reliance on the internet. In the absence of a local hub to connect to, Wi-Fi manufacturers primarily rely on the cloud to maintain control of their devices. In the absence of reliable internet, Wi-Fi devices cannot operate. Wi-Fi was designed to handle large amounts of data traffic, however, the surge of devices in a house that utilizes Wi-Fi can lead to congestion and bandwidth issues. With Wi-Fi- devices always staying connected to the internet, this creates another major issue - security and privacy. Any device on the internet can be hacked if exposed to expert hackers who have a variety of tools at their disposal these days.


Wi-Fi is ideal for low-cost or DIY use-cases, but unfortunately just does not cut it when it comes to complex or whole-home use-cases which would are usually desired by customers.


This rounds up our list of the most popular protocols currently being used by various manufacturers in the smart home world, with Aura being compatible with all of them. For more information, please feel free to check out our website https://www.aura-smart.com or drop us an email at info@aura-smart.com.


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