“Cosmos is a Greek word for the order of the universe. It is, in a way, the opposite of Chaos. It implies the deep interconnectedness of all things. It conveys awe for the intricate and subtle way in which the universe is put together.”

-Carl Sagan

Sagan’s words about Cosmos and interconnectedness and its character to create order is somehow an apt description of home automation for Us. Think of the world/the universe as your home in a microcosm. Then home automation is the enforcer of order through interconnected smart home devices. Home automation thus assists you in putting your homes in the framework we desire. Doesn’t that sound so complicated when we actually try to define it? Their function and ability are intricate and subtle at the same time for a homeowner in 2021, making Smart Homes awe-inspiring brilliance to look at.

That being said, where should you start ideally if you are looking to transform your home into a smart home or build a smart home from the ground up? The answer to that question is in another question. “Local or Cloud?”. Which is the first question that you need to answer if your trajectory is a smart home. This will define your smart home base, and all of your future choices regarding smart homes, from the devices you buy to the app you download, will be dependent on this choice. To know what category is the best option for you, let us define what Local and Cloud-based automation is. 

What Is Local Home Automation?

Local Home automation is a Smart home setup where integration with the internet or Cloud is not required in any stage of command processing. The anatomy of these smart home setups consists of signal/remote control (smartphone), local hub and the smart devices they are integrated with. In this setup, the hub is the focal point for the system, and all the automation and commands are managed from the hub. Most of the wifi based home automation devices are not compatible with this setup. It requires Zigbee or Z-wave programs, which are substitutes for the internet to connect and command devices.

What is Cloud Based Home Automation?

Cloud-based home automation is a Smart home setup where integration with the internet or Cloud is required in any stage of command processing. The anatomy of these smart home setups consists of signal/remote control (smartphone), a hub that uses cloud services or the internet and the smart devices they are integrated with. The hub in this set shares information to and forth with the Cloud. Because it does not involve programs like Zigbee or Z-wave but just use wifi for its connectivity, Cloud-based is the cheaper option. 

Which Does it better?

Now that two options for you are defined, we will compare and contrast the two varying home automation setups. We will judge the local and Cloud-based home automation setup with the three popular core factors of Smart homes such as Data Security, Response time, and Device compatibility.

Round 1: Data Security

This might not be a good round for a Cloud-based setup, as it is where they raise concern the most. When a Cloud-based system or devices are used, the companies and brands have access to your personal data. Data collection is the biggest accusation that is being raised against companies. Companies have access to information about you, such as your favourite tv program you like to watch when you get home, your type of music, your sleeping habits etc. Allegedly this information is sold to marketing and advertising agencies to understand the consumer psyche. But people are not too much taken back or concerned with these data-sharing practices as they are innocuous most of the time. In contrast, Local home automation does not use the internet/cloud and does not provide access to the consumer data to the companies.

Winner: Local Home Automation.

Round 2: Response Time

Both local and Cloud setups are relatively quick in their response time. The difference is very small. But there is a difference, and one is faster than the other. With a Cloud-based setup, the signal has to travel from the hub in your home to the cloud server (in most cases, at the other end of the planet) and back to execute your command. This may take a maximum delay of two seconds, which may not be a big deal for some people, but some are frustrated by it. Aside from that, the internet outage will also (obviously) cause connectivity issues for the Cloud-based setup. Whereas the Local setup is immune to these challenges, they are pretty quick because of the internet-free integration. 

Winner: Local Home Automation.

Round 3: Device Compatibility 

When it comes to the sheer volume and variety of smart devices available in the market, a Cloud-based setup clearly has the upper hand. Most of the smart devices that you can buy today are to be worked with some kind of cloud service. Setting up these devices is pretty easy. You can master this quickly, thus offering a certain level of convenience above the local setup, which is challenging to set up and master. Also, most Cloud-based devices are cheaper options because of their less complexity in their connectivity. Local setup requires smart devices that are compatible with Zigbee or Z-wave.

Winner: Cloud-Based Home Automation

Popular Systems To Choose from

Below are some of the smart hub frameworks in both categories: local and cloud for you to choose from for your smart home hub.

Cloud-Based System, Option A: SmartThings 

SmartThings is the smart hub framework for your smart homes presented by Samsung Electronics. These hubs use the cloud-to-cloud connection for most of their commands, while it also has some locally-run programs through the smart apps stored in the hub.

Cloud-Based System, Option B: HomeKit

HomeKits is the smart hub framework for your smart homes presented by Apple. With this framework, you can control your smart home Appliances using your Apple devices. HomeKit syncing with devices is done using iCloud and iCloud Keychain, both of which has their own security.

 Local Based System, Option A: Home Assistant

Home Assistant is the smart hub framework for smart homes presented by Home Assistant Core Team and Community. This framework is free and open source. It was developed to be the central control system for home automation with local control and privacy.

To Wrap It up

Even though Local Home Automation has the upper hand on two/three popular core factors that we analysed, for some of the homeowners and builders, the only deciding factor might be cost-effectiveness and convenience, where Cloud-Based Home Automation clearly has the advantage. So it comes down to what your individual needs in your home automation system to decide between the two. 

If you have further questions or are still a bit confused, “The Smart Hive” has been helping homeowners and builders ensure convenience and efficiency for their smart home with the right daily smart products. 

Equip and build your homes with these security features and witness a shorter sales cycle, more buyers, increased property value and greater customer satisfaction. 

To know more about security devices for your homes, do read our blogs. For any questions, enquiries, feel free to contact us. We are just a call away!

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