FAQ

Smart thermostat. Smart bulb. Smart lock. Smart alarm. There can be lots of things to think about when it comes to your smart home. And we’ve put together answers to some frequently asked questions to help you understand what this whole smart home/automation concept and iZba smart home solution in particular are about.

What is home automation?

It’s when different devices and technologies in your home are integrated into a single system which can be automatically controlled and does not require separate actions from you. It can be either pre-set by schedules, sequences or you can press the button to trigger the action.

What is Smart home?

Smart home is a residence which uses various smart devices enabling remote control and monitoring of different areas and functions wherever you are, e.g. you can remotely control and automate lighting, heating and entertainment, can be alerted about water leaks, doors and windows being unlocked, emergency buttons being turned on and much more. In a smart home technology is used to improve comfort and efficiency for you and your home.

What are Smart home devices? What types are available?

Smart home devices, such as smart bulbs, thermostats, door bells, locks, sensors have greater functionality than their traditional counterparts, they can be linked together via your home network with or without internet and controlled from one place or remotely, via a central smart home controller, such as iZba smart hub and app. The most convenient smart devices are smart sensors, bulbs or light switches, thermostats, locks, door bells, speakers.

Smart bulbs

You can use smart bulbs which can be controlled via wireless mini-switch or via a phone app/tablet, computer or voice assistant. You can put schedules and automation cues in place, for example, setting lights downstairs to automatically turn on when the door opens, or turn off when you leave the house, turn them automatically when you are on holiday to keep strangers away. Smart bulbs work with your existing switches and wiring.

Smart light switches

If you would rather keep using physical switch at its existing location to turn the lights on/off, you can have smart light switch installed instead together with the regular bulbs. You will have the same flexibility of creating automations and accessing your lights via phone, tablet, computer or Voice Assistant.

Smart sensors

Smart sensors can help automate different areas of one’s life, e.g. you can set a sensor to let you know once your laundry has been done, alert when your front door is unlocked, turn that bathroom fan on when the humidity levels are high, tell you if there is a water leak in your shower or bathroom and many many more.

Smart plugs

Smart plug can help you turn on or off any device remotely via phone, tablet, computer or voice assistant.

Smart thermostats

Smart thermostat offers more sophisticated control of your heating. You can control it remotely and the heating can be set to turn on/off at a particular time, or when you enter or leave your home.

Smart radiator valves

You will need smart radiator valves, if you would like to control temperatures in different rooms separately.

Smart blinds

Smart blinds can be controlled via a phone, tablet, smart watch, computer or voice assistant. They can open and shut based on the position of the sun (dawn/dusk) or at a particular time.

Smart doorbells

Smart doorbells can be wireless, can have a built-in camera. You can get alerted when someone rings the door and sometimes you can even speak to visitors when you are not home, for example, to instruct where to leave your parcel etc.

Smart locks

Smart locks can be convenient if you need to let your family member in and you are not home. You can also program individual pin-codes assigning to a particular person, and know, for example, if and when your cleaner or dogwalker entered the property and when they left.

Smart burglar, CO and smoke detection alarms

Smart alarms can be triggered when the intruder is detected either in your home, or across the property. They can work together with motion and other types of smart sensors, smart cameras etc. You can also have CO and smoke detection alarms installed, and they will send alerts when something is not right inside your home.

Cameras

Cameras can work as stand alone devices, or can be triggered by or work together with motion or other types of smart sensors, burglar alarms etc.

Smart fans

Smart fans come in all shapes and sizes, they can be turned on/off remotely, be linked with the smart plugs and different types of smart sensors, for example, humidity, motion sensors.

Why do I need home automation and smart devices? I am pretty good without all this nonsense.

In a fast paced world the less you have to worry about the better. Smart devices can give you extra convenience, security, peace of mind and energy savings!

Who can benefit from using smart home solutions?

Being smart home devices users ourselves, we think that anyone can benefit from smart home solutions.

If you have young children, smart devices can help you to have better visibility of your children, for example, being in the kitchen, you can see what your child is doing around the corner in the garden, you can give your child an option to switch lights in that downstairs toilet by putting an extra smart mini-switch button reachable from the child’s height.

If you worry about the tools sitting in the garage or in your van parked nearby, you can be alerted instantly if any doors are unlocked, and you can check what’s going on.

Smart devices can help you monitor the well being of your older relatives using different sensors, alarms and emergency buttons without compromising person’s privacy. There are so-called “telecare” services which you can subscribe to from different providers, however, we can help you find a more cost-effective but nonetheless reliable way and tools to do the necessary monitoring. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss.

What is smart home hub and why would I need it?

It helps multiple smart home gadgets in your home from a variety of different manufacturers work together and talk to each other. It translates all their different languages (or protocols), including Zigbee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth, Wifi, radio frequencies etc.

Without a hub (or controller) you might be able to use proprietary apps to control each device, however, you won’t have a benefit of those devices to be talking to some other devices in your home.

Why should I choose iZba smart home solution? There are many other known alternatives.

Actually there are not many alternatives to our iZba smart home solution out there. There are dedicated professional smart home platforms which offer good integration, but limited functionality at significant cost. There are also consumer brands, such as Alexa, Smart things, Google Assistant and Apple Home Kit, however, their technology is quite limited in terms of the number of devices you can connect and they are not inter-compatible. So you don’t have the flexibility in choosing smart home devices.

iZba smart home solution is a middle ground which combines rich functionality with wide range of supported devices and brands including those mentioned above, whilst being privacy focused, user-friendly and cost-efficient.

Also, very important to note is that all the above named technologies are running your data through their servers using so-called cloud servers. And with iZba solution all the data is stored locally in your home.

Privacy and security

All smart home hubs can be divided into 3 groups: 1/ Known brands such as Amazon, Google, Apple, 2/ No name products which come extremely cheap, 3/ Locally hosted smart home platforms.

Group 1. Although established brands promise full privacy to us, their customers, we still let go of our data, which goes through multiple servers in different countries across the world, and we depend on internet connection and those third parties.

Group 2. No name products often use foreign servers to collect and process data, and are the least reliable in terms of keeping our data safe.

Group 3. Locally hosted smart home platforms. By default your iZba smart hub is set to be only controlled through your home network and is not sending anything (absolutely anything) outside your network, unless you specifically ask it to do that.

If I don’t have smart phone, can I still automate my home?

Yes, absolutely, it’s not mandatory to control smart devices via phone. This can be done via computer, tablet and manually at the same time. One time set up is required and once devices have been installed, they will continue to work without any interference. Please get in touch, if you are unsure about anything or have questions.

What if I don’t have an internet connection or am worried of someone hacking my home and stealing my data from outside?

No problem. iZba smart hub and smart devices we supply can work in your local network and without internet connection. However, you won’t be able to access your home accessories outside your home. Please get in touch if you would discuss your requirements further.

But home automation is very expensive, isn’t it?!

It does not have to be! In the past, only high end connected systems were available to residents, and those can indeed be quite expensive. Nowadays, with technologies booming and rapidly changing, smart home technology is available to a wide public. And that’s what our solution is about. We believe that everyone deserves a clever system in their home, with a minimum effort and spend. You can start with just a few devices and add more when you want to.

What can I automate in my home with iZba?

Please check our examples here. If you are not satisfied with the choice, or have other ideas and requirements, please get in touch with us.

Do I need a Voice assistant and which one can be used with iZba?

Voice assistants are great because they give you hands-free control over your smart devices. But if your prefer physical control, then you don’t need a voice assistant.

A good news is that iZba smart hub works with all assistants out there in the market, e.g. voice assistants from Google, Amazon, Apple.

I am interested in your iZba smart home solution but I am not a home owner. Can I still use it?

Yes, absolutely! Majority of our devices are wireless, and can be simply detached from the places, where you had them installed. When you move house, you can easily set them up again in your new home.

Some devices, like smart thermostat valves which help you schedule and control your heating more efficiently, can also be detached, however, these might require additional professional services.

How do I start with my smart home?

It’s best to start with something simple and build on. Please get in touch to discuss your needs and requirements.