Middle-aged man sits in his modern apartment and controls the smart home systems via app

Smart home systems: the right solution for your home

More and more people are taking an interest in the various smart home systems available. However, smart devices from one brand are often not compatible with other brands’ systems. Taking the time to compare smart home standards is worthwhile. We explain the differences and what we consider to be the most important criteria when choosing a smart home system.

A smart home should be simple and intuitive. It’s easy to integrate your first smart device at home. But if you want to benefit from the full potential of your home automation, you should connect several smart home devices with each other. This way, you create your own individual smart home system and discover lots of new possibilities that make your everyday life easier. We show you what we consider to be the most important comparison criteria when selecting smart home systems.

Equipping your home with smart devices has never been easier. Thanks to advances in technology, smart solutions are also becoming easier and easier to operate. They can be controlled via an app on your smartphone, voice commands or dedicated switches, or rely on full-on automations according to an individual schedule. The only question that remains is which smart home system is right for you and your home.

Which smart home system? Comparing connectivity standards

Father sits at the dining-room table with his children and controls the appliances via a smart home system

There are no limits to the diversity of options in your own smart home. The important thing is to consider the various home automation systems and their compatibility with other devices. The selection is relatively large. It’s often difficult to keep track of the offers, especially for smart home beginners.

However, the different systems can be distinguished quite effectively based on their respective connection properties. Is the system expandable or self-contained? Is it analog or digital? Should it be wired or wireless? Do you want an expensive professional system or a versatile DIY solution? As you can see, it’s worth clarifying a few points in advance to better assess the different smart home technologies. Each system has its advantages. We’ll help you figure out which one is right for you.

Wired smart home solutions

Man stands at window with tablet

On the one hand, there are wired solutions. This means that the individual smart home components are usually connected to each other with the help of an expert, by means of special bus lines, a cable network, or existing power lines. In general, wired smart home solutions are an option worth considering for new buildings or for planned general renovations, since in this case many wires have to be laid anyway. However, this in turn can quickly become complex and expensive. Compared with many wireless systems, wired professional systems are often self-contained and prioritized, meaning they can only be expanded with that brand’s own smart home devices.

Man lies on the sofa and looks at a floor plan on the tablet

As an alternative to newly installed bus systems, so-called power line technology also ensures optimum connectivity. With this method, existing electrical wires are used for smart home connectivity, replacing the Wi-Fi network. This means you don’t have to make major modifications. Such an installation would be conceivable, for example, for users who are looking for a wired solution in an old building, but who are not interested in a costly conversion.

Construction worker working on the new house

Regardless of which wired smart home system you choose, the connected smart home devices in wired systems are usually perfectly coordinated. They also offer a high level of quality and stability. This means that the probability of connection failure is very low, as these systems can more solidly resist external influences than wireless systems can. There are also advantages when it comes to the range: smart home devices can be installed wherever smart wiring has been installed. Last but not least, wired systems are also very secure, but the price is high. Users of a wired smart home hub should also expect higher follow-up costs for maintenance.

Wireless systems for the connected smart home

Woman sits at a table with smartphone in her hand and looks outside happily

A wired solution is out of the question for you? Of course, you don’t have to give up your dream of having smart home technology integrated into your home. On the contrary, there are many innovative smart solutions available today that work on a wireless basis and can be connected to each other using smart apps.

With a wireless system, you create a solid basis for a smart home arrangement that can be expanded whenever you want. The barriers to entry are also significantly lower than with wired systems, since no complex conversion is necessary. Whether in a house or in an apartment, whether owned or rented – wireless smart home technology offers a wide variety of devices from a wide range of brands. The range is thus broadly diversified across all areas of life, and you usually don’t have to dig too deep into your pockets here either.

Commissioning the devices is simple, since they can be connected easily via common wireless protocols such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, or Z-Wave. Wireless systems also offer advantages when and if you move. Here, you can pack up all your connected equipment – such as smart light bulbs, smart speakers, or energy-efficient smart heating thermostats – and take it with you.

After buying the first smart home devices for your home, the next step is to try connecting compatible devices with each other. After all, these systems are mostly more flexible than wired, prioritized systems. This flexibility opens up completely new possibilities for making your life easier. For example, you can design home automation scenarios that you activate at the touch of a button in the app or by voice command. Want a cozy start to the weekend? You can set up an automation where the lights in the living room dims, the roller blinds lower, and your favorite music starts playing right when you say “the weekend starts now”.

Smart home system: open or closed?

Architects study a construction plan

Regardless of whether you ultimately decide on a wireless or cable solution, it is important to consider whether you want to rely on a closed or expandable (open) smart home system in the long term. Devices from different brands have different languages, so to speak. Not every smart home solution understands every language.

Closed systems are designed so that only devices from one brand can be used. This means that they usually do not offer interfaces that can be used to connect other systems or external devices. On the one hand, this makes you somewhat dependent and ties you to one brand when it comes to selecting devices; on the other hand, these devices then communicate optimally with each other.

 

Open systems, on the other hand, can be freely combined with appliances from different brands, since they basically offer external interfaces – which can be used for connecting home devices. One big advantage is that users have the freedom to design the individual smart home according to their wishes, since the individual appliances can also be controlled and connected with each other via smartphone or tablet. It is important, however, to first check the compatibility of the devices to be connected.

Simple control of your smart home system

An equally important criterion when choosing a smart home technology is the question of how it is operated. Most wired systems are prioritized and operated via a central control unit. In recent years, however, brands of open wireless systems for smart homes have made great efforts to make their applications as user-friendly and intuitive as possible. A good example is the established voice control of various smart home devices. So, in many cases, you can have on-demand access to your entire smart home hub.

It is also possible today to assemble your desired smart home from many different individual solutions. The heating control from provider A, a lighting solution from provider B, plus the security equipment from provider C – in other words, small stand-alone solutions. Each solution is usually linked to an app from the respective brand and functions perfectly on its own. Until recently, there was no cross-brand connecting that combined all the devices into one large smart home system and controlled the system centrally. But now, a clever solution has been developed even for this.

Your smart home in just one app

Couple gets familiar with the tablet to control their smart home system

Wireless smart home solutions are cheap and efficient. However, with many smart home devices, manageable control often gets sacrificed, even when you start the home automation of individual areas. For technical reasons, it’s hard to completely forgo particular brands’ apps. Users inevitably switch between apps of various brands to control different aspects of their individual smart home.

But for convenient everyday use of your smart home, there’s now a simple solution – the Home Connect Plus app. It packs all your smart home devices into a single all-in-one unified and easy-to-use interface. Controlling the devices and setting up useful scenarios that simplify your everyday life become child’s play.

Various screenshots of the Bosch Home Connect app

How to choose a smart home system

Choosing a smart home system is not a simple gut decision. It’s best to make a checklist beforehand. Once you’ve answered these questions, you can orient yourself ideally in the jungle of smart home options.

  1. Wired or a wireless smart home?
  2. Closed or open system?
  3. Which areas of home life do you want to cover – for example, heating, lighting, or security?
  4. How do you want to control your smart home?

Smart insights for your intelligent home

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