Smart tech is a rapidly evolving industry. In the past five years alone, we've seen the public preference shift from one of stand-alone systems to more agnostic platforms. A major factor in this shift has been the emergence of hubs and voice-assisted technology like Google Home, that act as a centerpiece to connect all these products.
Even the industries within the smart industry are expanding: security products, smart lighting tools and climate command technologies are becoming more and more common. Our homes and lives are getting smarter and smarter. In fact, it seems as though every second day a new type of smart device bursts on to the scene!
With more smart products to choose from, it can be hard to know how they all compare. Well, a major way of differentiating between smart products is looking at the communication system these products use to ‘talk’ to one another.
Well ZigBee is one of the ways these products ‘talk’ to one another. Think about ZigBee being a specific type of technological language that smart products use to communicate, sending small amounts of data across distances in an encrypted, secure network.
There's no lack of ZigBee products in the smart home industry. There's a plethora of ZigBee compatible products, from Smart Plugs, to security systems and lighting. So just by numbers alone, there’s a good chance you already own a ZigBee product! Check your smart device for a ‘ZigBee Ready’ label, or a ZigBee Alliance sticker. It should look something like this:
ZigBee is possibly best known for it's security and stability in comparison to other systems. ZigBee's encrypted network has rendered it one of the most trusted tech tools around, and why it's so qidely adopted.
Another popular feature of ZigBee is its ability to connect to such a large variety of devices. Develco Products puts it best:
'ZigBee is the ideal choice of protocol for home automation and smart energy because different ZigBee devices can be connected. As more ZigBee devices are linked, communication paths between devices multiply, eliminating the risk of single-point signal failure.'
But let's compare what else is on the market! We've written about this before, but just in case you missed it, here are the major communication systems most commonly used in smart tech and smart homes!
Most of us use Bluetooth every day, but its beginning to make appearances in the smart home market. While there’s not a lot of information out on the price of Bluetooth smart devices yet, Bluetooth saves battery life really well and you don’t necessarily need a hub to use it. However, although Bluetooth has been around for 22 years, it has only recently entered the smart industry and therefore does not have as many options available to the consumer.
One of the best things Wi-Fi has going for it is the price – gadgets that employ Wi-Fi can be significantly less expensive. Plus there’s a lot of WiFi enabled devices out there, so as a consumer, you’ve got plenty to choose from. However, WiFi has proven to be exceedingly hackable.So this option does unfortunately come at the risk of your home and personal security.
Z-Wave can function with a whole range of different products, so no need for brand loyalty here. One drawback is that things can get a bit pricey here – but you get what you pay for!
Last but not least: our personal favourite and what we use here at carbonTRACK.
Zigbee is interoperable with other Zigbee brands, products, manufacturers and version, which is great news for any shopper. So there’s a wide range to choose from, and it’s actually significantly cheaper than Z-Wave. Security is also a major factor Zigbee, as the technology is notoriously safer.
The carbonTRACK hub and all our smart accessories use Zigbee technologies and encrypted communications over GSM/3G mobile networks to deliver superior reliability and security compared to a WiFi network.
If the security of your home is a priority for you, making it smart with ZigBee will give you some peace of mind through control and visibility.