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SMKA’s Alphabet of Home Automation: A to J

Sometimes, between industry jargon and the rapid rate of progress, understanding technology can feel like learning a whole new language. To make life simpler, we have put together our ABCs of Home Automation.

Below is Part One of SMKA’s glossary of technical terms, designed to support you in making smarter choices about your smart homes. Let’s get started…


As they often require user input, not all smart devices are truly automatic. By ‘automation’ we refer to those systems and devices which can, after the initial setup, function independently of a user. Lights that you can control from a wireless remote are not necessarily automatic, but lighting systems which utilise sensors to turn on when you enter a room – that is automation.

Bluetooth LE (low energy)

A low-energy technology specifically designed for use in smart homes (but widely used in sports devices), Bluetooth LE allows devices to communicate with each other, and your mobile device, without relying on Wi-Fi. It’s so efficient that devices are able to run for years on a single battery.


It’s very doubtful that the first person ever to put up curtains imagined that one day you’d sync a mobile device to your drapes, but this is now part of the process we face when designing our smart homes. The benefits? Being able to control your setting with the flick of a switch or the tap of a screen. Or, better yet, set your electric curtains to a timer or sensor and you need never lift a finger!


Setting the mood? Use a dimmer, the wireless device that controls the brightness of your local light. Adding a dimmer module means you can control more than the light’s On/Off state; with a dimmer connected to a lamp you can control the brightness too, either remotely or manually.


Events are sets of commands that get instigated following a trigger from a device or sensor. For example, when a sensor detects that the sun has set, an event may be triggered which activates your security lights and alarm system. Events are perfect for creating an automated home to suit your individual needs.


Ever wanted your garage doors to open automatically when you pull onto your driveway? Virtual fences can make that a reality. Fences recognise (using GPS, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi technology) when a device crosses a pre-defined geographical boundary. This is called Geo-fencing.


In home automation, a ‘group’ refers to a collection of connected devices that can be controlled as one. There’s no longer a need to activate each device individually. For example, SMKA recommends creating a group for your security systems – lock the doors, turn on your alarm and activate your floodlight sensors in one simple action.


The hub is the central panel for communications, computer networking and the distribution of signals. It acts as the brain of your automated system and is the most efficient way to connect and control all the devices on your premises.


If This Then That is a free service to create chains of simple conditional statements, often referred to as recipes. Use recipes to programme your devices to respond to certain circumstances, such as dimming your lights to 40% brightness when you switch on the TV.


Admittedly, our Home Automation glossary of terms runs quite dry at ‘J’, but picture this: After a long day you are relaxing in the bath, on the couch or perhaps in the Jacuzzi. The last thing you want to do is get up to adjust the lights or activate your security system. With a network of wireless devices you can remotely control your home from a mobile device or wireless remote. Enjoy your relaxation the smart way.

What’s next?

Come back soon to discover the remainder of SMKA’s Alphabet of Home Automation. If you need any support in the meantime then visit one of our showrooms where our experts are waiting for you.


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