HomeRun Electronics defines simpler systems by Amazon, Google, Apple and others as home control systems. They are designed to operate within their own ecosystem of devices, and typically operate one device per command. Each home control system has its own proprietary app which is downloaded to a smart phone or tablet. Most of them also work with Siri or Alexa, although they can be inconsistent in their responses.
A Home Automation system by contrast is a system like those offered by Crestron, Control4, and others. These systems are highly customizable and can work with nearly all brands of electronic devices. They require greater expertise to deploy them but provide a more convenient user experience. A sophisticated home automation system can issue “macro sequences” that allow a single button or voice command to execute actions across multiple devices. For example, an “away” command could lower the shades, turn off the lights, turn off the music, and arm the security system. They can be controlled from an app on smart phones and tablets but they also offer control from dedicated touch screens. These screens are always ready to respond to the needs of the user, regardless of Internet connection status.
These home automation companies have a large selection of their own products, such as amplifiers, music streaming devices, dimmers, thermostats, remote controls, touch screens, keypads, and more. They can also be programmed to interface with products from companies such as Sonos, Screen Innovations, Hunter Douglas, Denon, Marantz, and many others. They can easily handle large-scale applications and are often deployed in custom homes, though their popularity is growing in production homes as well.
For most consumers it comes down to price. Home control systems are relatively inexpensive and can do many of the functions that used to require expensive control systems. For those desiring better reliability, convenience, and expandability a Home Automation system from Crestron or Control4 or may be worth the additional expense.
Contact one of our home technology design team to discuss your home and how a home automation or home control can benefit you.