Power of Cellular
The world around us is getting “smarter.” And we are becoming increasingly more “connected” to this improved intelligence.
First smart phones, now smart homes. Soon, the internet of everything. It is amazing how quickly technology is racing ahead.
The smart home – i.e. home automation – is getting a lot of attention these days.
Here’s a quick list companies vying for a share of the home automation market (Side note: I complied this list for a January 2013 post, so it is by no means a complete list.)
- Microsoft beat out Apple and Google to buy a home automation company.
- AT&T and Cisco just announced they are getting into the home automation game.
- Comcast has been trying to get into home automation.
- LG is looking to connect their appliances to make 2013 the year of the smart home.
- Lowes is offering a home automation system.
- Netgear is making their routers “smart.”
- ADT is in the home automation game.
- Verizon is trying to make a go at it.
- My favorite of course is Alarm.com.
- And a whole slew of emerging products/technology from relative unknowns…
That’s quite a list, right? It’s clear that home automation is getting a lot of investment interest and investment capital.
In fact, the smart home industry is expected to grow from $21B to 72B in the next 5 years! That’s a lot of dinero heading towards home automation.
However, even with all of the big names and big money headed towards home automation, there is a key component that is not being discussed.
WiFi vs. Celluar
This WiFi vs. Cellular topic is the core of the Home Automation vs. Property Automation discussion. Are you managing one home or an inventory of properties?
Here’s how PC Magazine defines cellular vs. WiFi:
In a nutshell, cellular is everywhere[.] Wi-Fi is only within a confined area approximately 50 to 100 feet in diameter.
Home automation offers huge potential for us all to achieve more control of our homes, and in essence, our lives – increased security, energy savings, ease of living, piece of mind. All controlled from mobile devices.
If home automation offers that much potential for an individual house – i.e. the home you live in – imagine the potential it offers on a commercial level where companies manage 10′s, 100′s, 1000′s of properties.
Increase security, energy management, operational efficiency across 1000′s of properties?! That is substantial.
Here’s the rub though, WiFi does not offer the reliability needed to connect 1-1000+ properties. Cellular does.
When the WiFi goes down at my house (a few times per week…grrrr!), I need to physically reboot the system (modem, router, etc.).
When the signal drops on your cell phone, do you even think about it? My guess is no. Cellular is self-managed (or at least not managed by you ). Signal drops and comes back without you worrying your pretty little head.
That’s a HUGE difference.
Imagine managing WiFi at 500 properties to make sure mission critical applications like access management, HVAC control, or motion detection are up and running.
In my humble opinion, there’s no way. WiFi based home automation systems make sense for one or two homes that you can directly manage. Beyond that, WiFi requires too much direct management.
When I worked for the vacation rental manager on the Outer Banks, 50% of our maintenance calls were because WiFi was down!
Cellular on the other hand, set it and forget it. Let the cellular network manage itself while you stay focused on running your business.
Below are a couple quick videos to offer a visual explanation of the difference. I’ll admit, they are a bit dry, but they do a great job of depicting a major difference in the networks…
- The WiFi video demonstrates a network within a single home.
- The cellular video focuses on a geographic network…not just one home, but many under one geographic network!