Why is a multi-sensor, all-in-one product better when it comes to smart homes? Or any other device, for that matter?
Let’s take a trip back in time. Imagine if your smartphone wasn’t essentially an all-in-one device, and that you needed a different device for all of its different functions.
Imagine if you still had a seperate phone, a seperate computer for emails (allowing that emails even exist), a camera on the side, and even a seperate calculator? And the list keeps going! Add on an alarm, MP3 Player, your calendar, and all of your notes in one device. Many would think this is ridiculous, but this is how it was just a few years ago, and now all of those devices are incorporated into a modern smartphone.
Now we are in the midst of a smart home revolution, and we are asking ourselves the same question regarding smart home devices: Why so many devices, when you can pack them all into one, multi-sensor unit?
What does multi-sensor even mean?
The word sensor itself is also pretty open-ended. We can be talking about movement sensors, light sensors, temperature and air quality sensors, and the list goes on. There are also ways in which these sensors talk to each other and transmit, including WiFi, ZigBee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth and others.
These days, almost all sensors are battery powered and wireless. One can place them throughout the house, where they are needed, but there are specific concerns for each. These include making sure all the sensors are properly located, charged, and connected with each other. This can increase the amount of time it takes to install, to charge each component, and when something goes wrong…it can take hours getting Humpty-Dumpty back together again.
Start throwing in different smart home suppliers, and all of a sudden you have a bunch of different devices throughout the house, all talking to each other through hubs, gateways, or apps designed to make smart home products “play nice” with each other. What a mess!
And it takes just one company to decide to no longer integrate with another smart home provider, and the entire system can be thrown out of whack. This recently happened when Nest decided not to work with Philipps Hue any longer, leading to frustration from users of both products.
Why not just marry the two concepts together?
It certainly begs the question -- why not put them all together into one single multi-sensor device? Why are there so many different units that need to be positioned all over the house, instead of in one central location?
One all-in-one device cannot consolidate all other devices of course. There are a few products that will need to serve their single function, such as smart door locks, window handles, etc.
Now let’s look at the clear advantages of all-in-one devices.
Advantages of All-in-One devices:
- It’s simply more practical. One doesn’t have to research a multitude of different devices, to see what they do and then double check if they even work with each other. Just buy one device, install it, and you are finished.
- Less space. Instead of taking up space throughout the house, with different devices that all need to communicate with each other spread around, the device can be located in one unit.
- Less electricity used. Instead of individually having to power multiple units, either directly plugged in or powered by battery, the total amount of electricity used is far, far less.
- Screams modernity. The modern world is becoming more efficient, and many devices are being combined into ever smaller and smaller devices. Think about the modern laptop, tablets, or perhaps the king of all all-in-one devices: the smartphone.
- Greatly reduces e-waste. With devices combined with each other, the trend is towards more efficiency not only in performance, but production as well. This means less material on the production side, but also less waste as well.
- Fewer cables. No more cable salad! With many devices run off one platform, many devices need just one cable now -- for power and data transfers rolled into one.
- Lower costs. That’s right, over time overall costs have become extremely cheap for high-end tech products. Most smartphones are now many times more powerful than the computers that guided Apollo 11 to the moon.
- Less third- party integration needed. Integration is all the rage at the moment, and for good reason. It makes smart home devices even smarter and homes that are seamlessly combined with technology is a beautiful thing to behold. But when companies decide not to play nice with each other any longer, it can lead to a lot of well-understood frustration.
The advantages are obvious and plenty. We believe that this is the logical direction of where smart home is going to go: greater ease-of-use and greater connectivity to other devices. Let’s have smart home go in the direction of the laptop or smartphone -- many different devices all-in-one, choked full of sensors and simple to use.