Home automation started in the early 1990s but there were very few companies in the game. It was very expensive and had to have a licensed installer to get any sort of automation out of your home. Fast forward to today and there are thousands of "Smart" devices with unlimited options in automating your home. This guide should help you through the technologies available today that can get you on the right path.



Before diving into HA (Home Automation) for short, familiarize yourself with a few terms.

  • Hubs - Refers to a hardware device that is the central device that all your other smart devices communicate with. A hub is the brains of all of your home automations. 
  • Smart Device - A smart device can be as simple as a light switch that turns on a light in a bedroom to a motion sensor that lets you know that your garage door is open and it's past midnight. 
  • Local or LAN device - These terms refer to a hardware device or communication between multiple devices within your home network. For example, if your internet to the outside world to stop working, all of your local devices could still function as normal. 
  • Cloud - This technology term loosely gets thrown around a lot in the modern age of computers of today. The cloud simply refers to a computer server or a set of servers that are hosted by a third party company that you are accessing over the internet. 
  • Open Source - It is a type of computer software in which source code is released under a license in which the copyright holder grants users the rights to use, study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. Open-source software may be developed in a community environment that allows for faster implementation.
  • Zwave - 
  • MQTT - 

Choosing a Hub

Choosing a hub is the most difficult decision in the beginning of the HA process. Important points that each individual needs to answer and can vary from person to person:

  • Cost of the hub and it's compatible devices
  • Security - Do the devices communicate locally on my network or are they controlled by their manufacture's cloud servers?
  • What smart devices do I already own that might be compatible with different hubs?
  • What non-smart devices do I already own that might be able to be turned into a smart device?
  • Flexibility and customization
  • What is my skill level with troubleshooting, programming, and DIY'ing when it comes to gadgets?


Hub Cost Open Sourced Local/Cloud Device Compatibility
Amazon Alexa $$ No Cloud  
Google Home $$ No Cloud  
Home Assistant $ Yes Local  
Apple HomeKit $$$ No Cloud  
Hubitat $$ No Local  
Open Hab $ Yes Local  
SmartThings $$ No Cloud  
Wink $$ No Cloud