Basic Smart Home Technology Terms and Definitions


If you’re interested in using home automation or learning more about it, but feel intimidated because you don’t know anything about it, check out my overview of basic smart home technology terms and conditions below.

While the entire home automation market is still growing, consumers are left in a void where there aren’t really set standards that each company is abiding by. This is what has left some consumers feeling like home automation is out of their reach. So, don’t feel bad or think that you’re missing something; there are essentially currently no rules.
However, there are some words and phrases that can be defined, no matter which company or product it relates to.

To start, home automation itself is the process of setting up your home appliances, entertainment, surveillance, and more so that you can control these with functions and features on a computer, smartphone, or tablet. A smart home is a home that has installed products that can be controlled with home automation.

Here are some of the common terms you’ll come across when working with home automation:

Connected – Being connected means that your products are on your home WiFi, and that you can access them. Being connected and having access means that you can control the products in your home.

Remote Access – Remote access means that you can access and control your connected products from anywhere. This comes in handy when you want to turn your lights on before you get home from work, or check to see if a curling iron got left on in the house.

App – An app is a program that runs on smartphones and tablets that allow you to access your smart home devices. Most apps that act as companions to smart devices are free. You search the name of the app in the Apple, Amazon, or Google store, then install it onto your smartphone or tablet. From there, you can follow the directions to set up your device so you can access and control it.

Hub – A hub is a piece of hardware that helps smart home devices connect to one another. While each individual device needs to connect to your WiFi, there also needs to be a place for your devices to connect to each other. This allows you to fully use the automation available, like having your coffee pot turn on when your alarm goes off in the morning, or having your heat or air conditioning adjust when you lock or unlock your smart door.

Integration – Integration is how you get all of your devices and products to work together. As I mentioned before, there aren’t really a standard set of rules that manufacturers are following, so you might have products that aren’t built to work together; but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get them to work together. Using your hub, and apps, you can get your products to run using logic that is called If This, Then That, which connects actions that automation your home products.