With the smart home comes terms, phrases or descriptions that you might not be familiar with. So, we wanted to define, in easy-to-understand terms, the most common smart home terms you might encounter.
The Hub is a device that connects to all the smart devices in your home, and allows you to control them from one central place. Allowing your smart devices to communicate (wired or wireless) with a central device allows the hub to collate all of the data and for you to then control the devices directly from your smartphone, tablet, remote, and even with your voice.
The best smart home hubs are designed to balance everything in your smart home, harmonizing every bulb, alarm, camera, and speaker into a single coherent smart home ecosystem.
A smart home platform is like the foundation of your house or apartment building. It’s the underlying technology layer upon which different products from different brands are integrated together (usually with the help of a hub) and then controlled through a single app.
A device or module is a hardware which will be connected to the controller or cloud for performing any action. All switches, touch panels, insert modules and accessories can be called as devices or modules. Number of devices define how big is the smart home network.
This is a device (or component of other devices) in the smart home network that detects change in the environment and sends this information to the controller. This information allows the controller to react with actions on other devices or to send alerts.
Sensors can detect temperature, motion, Carbon Monoxide (CO), Cooking Gas (LPG), vibration, sound etc.
5. Electrical Switch
An electrical switch is any device used to control the flow of electricity in a circuit. Switches are essentially binary devices; they are either ON or OFF.
6. Gang Box
An enclosure for electricians to mount switches. Different regions have different standards. Gang-boxes are generally made with PVC or metal.
To increase or decrease the light intensity of connected lights. Dimmable lights are different; all incandescent bulbs dimmable, however modern LEDs need a special driver to make them dimmable. An Electrical circuit in which dimmable lights are connected is referred as Dimming Circuit.
8. Fan Speed Control (Step Dimming)
Increase or decrease the speed of Fan. Fan speed is controlled in multiple steps – Off, Low, Medium, High
A router connects devices within a network by forwarding data packets between them. This data can be sent between devices, or from devices to the internet. The router does this by assigning a local IP address to each of the devices on the network. This ensures that the data packets end up in the right place, rather than getting lost in the network. Router with wireless connectivity is called a WiFi Router.
A protocols is a set of standards and rules, and can be called as the languages smart devices use to communicate with one another. Among the more popular protocols are Z-Wave, ZigBee, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), and Wi-Fi.
11. Radio Frequency (RF)
Radio Frequency is being used in a lot of fields, but in the context of information and communications technology, it refers to the frequency band at which wireless communication signals are transmitted and broadcast. For e.g. FM Radio, Walkie Talkie, 2G/3G/4G, Bluetooth, WiFi
12. Infra Red (IR)
Infra Red signals are used in remotely controlling any home appliance like TV, AC. Typically, a small LED is present on the remote, which will work only in directional line of sight.
Geo-fencing uses the GPS, WiFi or Bluetooth in your smartphone to create a virtual boundary around a real world location. It can then be used to trigger something in your smart home to happen – like your lights or air conditioner turning on – as soon as you (and your phone) enter or exit that boundary.
Synonymous to ‘provisioning’ or ‘learning mode,’ this is the process through which your smart devices establish a line of communication with your hub, so that you can monitor and control them through mobile applications.
Hope this helps! We’ll be adding to this list over time. If there are smart home terms you’d like to better understand, let us know in the comments section!