Remotely switch, dim, move, rotate and access all sorts of things.
There’s been a lot of discussion about Smart Wifi LED Bulbs such as the Philips Hue and LIFX lamps which can be controlled via iPhone or Android smart phones. As everything moves toward automation and removing wires from your home, there is in fact MUCH more that you can control from your smart phone.
Recently Corban Hill, General Manager, and James Stapledon, CEO of Lighting Matters met with Co Tran, General Manager of Smart Living Australia to discuss the future of smart home automation.
A not-so-new technology that’s seen a huge boost in applications is Z-Wave, a wireless mesh system that allows clients to remotely switch, dim, move, rotate, and access all sorts of things remotely. We recently installed a Fibaro branded ZWave system to control a number of our lights, and we may even start stocking them soon because
WE WERE IMPRESSED!
The smoothness of the system provided instant changes to the light - originally we installed Fibaro in wall dimmers which connected in line with the light circuits behind the existing switches. There were some teething problems in relation to connecting the modules to the home base, which was in turn connected to our router. Since the modules provide a mesh system, they provide a wide range of connectivity.
Another issue we encountered was flickering with the LED lights. Smart Living manager Co said, “We can adjust the parameters of the dimmers to suit each type of light to provide much better depth of dimming and reduced flickering”.
After a couple of minutes Co had made adjustments to the parameters and our LED downlight displays which had both Brightgreen D700 and D900s saw dimming near perfectly to zero.
There was some instability at the very low dimming levels but there was virtually no light coming out anyway, so we set the maximum dim levels slightly higher at just 5%.
Some of the popular controllers that have become available with ZWave are light dimming, door locks, switching, roller doors, alarms, security cameras and audio visual set ups.
The cool thing about the Zwave is the way it can be controlled remotely not only by smart phones, but by any computer connected to the main network. For example, I’ve been sitting here typing this and controlling the lights throughout the day.
Another great thing about this system is the ability control things without being home - if you set up to remotely log in to your router via internet, then you’re essentially able to turn the lights off with no one around, which adds a level of security to your home. When coupled with movable video cameras you can watch your kids have a wild house party when your not around, or perhaps deter an intruder.
Now for the pricing..
The initial set up of the Fibaro brand ZWave system was close to $700 and each dimmer or relay switch cost another $130 on top, so on paper it seems to be a little more expensive than traditional wall plates and dimmers, but there are savings to be gained by removing the need to purchase switch plates and dimmers. These are priced at around $50, plus the cost to wire and install them.
The ZWave is great product which we’d like to make more use of. We’ll release a video soon of how ZWave works with LED lighting, so stay tuned.
For more information about the ZWave, please click here.