Even Here, In Hillbilly Hell, We Have Standards

There is still inconsistent and competing “standards” for home automation. Z-Wave, ZigBee, WiFi, and Bluetooth are all duking it out for the communication protocol standard.

Remember the “cloud” component / hub combination? There are a number of vendor options here too, including Apple HomeKit, Wink, Samsung SmartThings, INSTEON, Amazon, Belkin WeMo and, of course, Google. Some are very limited to the smart devices they can handle, whereas others offer very broad support for other-vendor devices.

In fact, there is so much competition and lack of standards that there are even competing “standards consortiums”, including  Thread, the Open Connectivity Foundation, and others.

Like any competing and disruptive standards, the risk is in long-term investments. VHS or Beta? HD-DVD versus Blu-Ray?

Fully automating a Smart Home today requires numerous hubs, running numerous standards, controlled by numerous apps. It is getting better with emerging standards, industry consolidation, and customer feedback, but we really aren’t there yet. It still takes several swipes and much screen tapping in order to simply switch on a lightbulb.