The use of 12v actuators in home automation has led to technological advancement and has reduced labor. Linear actuators operate in a straight line which makes it possible to operate robotic equipments that are useful in homes. Sensors fitted into the equipment usually inform the actuators when to initiate or stop motion. Power is transmitted in actuators mainly through hydraulic fluids and electrical motors.
Actuators have made it easy to automate homes and allow the occupants to exercise control remotely over appliances. Initially, home automation was reserved for the wealthy, but this has changed over the years with the emergence of some companies that offer the systems both hardware and software. However, the increase in the number of businesses offering automation products in the market has led to the emergence of different brands and devices which are based on various protocols. Additionally, these devices are based on different apps, and some may require a professional installer.
The availability of one app which can control all these devices is a breakthrough in home automation. Staples Connect and Home Depot have pioneered this development by engaging the stakeholders for collaboration. Currently, the many devices operate on different apps which make it difficult for users to acquire a variety of the devices. A user is forced to have all these applications on their phones which is impossible. One of the advantages of bringing all these devices under one app is eliminating unnecessary apps. Instead of having dozens of apps for the different devices, the user needs only a single app. The other advantage of a single app is that it allows the user to exercise group control over all the systems in the house much more efficiently. The application is optimized to allow the user press certain buttons open the doors, reduce the temperature and lower the shades.
The ecosystem requires a hub which is connected to the home network. The hub then allows the app controller and the devices to connect via Wi-Fi or any other wireless protocol. The hub is also critical in case the home broadband is lost since the devices remain interconnected and enable wireless control. The devices are specified to work with their hubs except for some devices in Home Depot which do not necessarily need a hub and pair with any device running their app.
Although both Staples and Home Depot offer similar products, there are significant differences in their systems. For example, Home Depot Wink app allows a user to create multiple user profiles such that a parent can determine what the children can access. On the contrary, Staples Connect app has only a single all-access profile. The user can not create other profiles as in the case with the Wink app. Home Depot have included the geofencing feature in the Wink app. The feature allows the system and the devices to detect where the user is and begins performing automatic operations. The feature is currently not included in Staples Connect.
Staples is expected to lower its hub from $99.99 to $49.99 while Home Depot will mark down its hub from $79.99 to $49.99. The prices are dropping while the companies strive to make automation easy. Home automation is no longer for few individuals, but now it is within reach of most people who wish to enjoy more control with a single app.