The Ultimate Home Automation Glossary

March 15, 2017

Home automation is a relatively new concept not understood by most people. Usually, when people think of home automation, the idea of using switches or remotes to open the garage door or clapping to switch on the lights comes to mind.

However, home automation is much more than that. One way of understanding automation is by knowing the meaning of words used to explain it. Here is a home automation glossary to help you easily navigate the automation world and speak the jargon:


You should not confuse “home automation” with the ability to control one aspect of your home like your speakers or your lights. Home automation is about integrating different devices in your home to work together in unison while controlling them with one central controller. Things that can work together in unison include smart thermostats, lights, cameras, and other appliances and electronics.

AV Installer

When you want someone to install and program for your either audio or video devices, call an audio or video installer. They are quite expensive and people usually just go to them for consultation about the best devices to buy for a smart home.


A bridge connects the smart devices in your home to the internet. It makes it possible to remotely control your devices using a single smartphone or tablet. A bridge is basically a hub but more intelligent and efficient.


If your home automation system uses a Z-Wave network, every other smart device, electronics or appliance in your home that can use that network has compatibility with that system. They can connect to the home automation system and controlled through it.


Integration involves making all the components of your home automation system work together as one unit seamlessly. For example, you can integrate your Nest Thermostat to work with the smart Hue lights in your home using apps like IFTTT.


A hub is a central panel for communications, computer networking, and distribution of signals. It connects all the smart devices in your home and allows you to control them from one central point.

Lighting control system

This is a system where lights both in and out of your home are controlled from one central source instead of a variety of switches.

Multi-room Home Audio

A centralized sound system that allows you to control, listen and watch your audio equipment from any room in your home using a smartphone or device. You can enjoy this feature using a Sonos or Amazon Echo Speaker.

Smart Device

The difference between your regular light bulb and a smart light bulb is that the smart light bulb is wireless and connected to the internet. Smart devices can be controlled by using an app remotely as well as scheduled using software to do certain actions at certain times. A Nest Thermostat and the Philips Hue Light Bulbs are both examples of smart devices.


ZigBee is a low-power communication network that allows for low latency device communication. Devices that are ZigBee compatible do not need a central access point because they are capable of sending and receiving simple signals to and from each other.

The signal gets stronger as you add more ZigBee compatible devices in your home. As they relay signals to and from each other, these devices form a “mesh network.” ZigBee networks can also greatly extend their range because they have a higher hop limit than Z-Wave.


Also a low power communication wireless network, Z-Wave allows you to control Z-Wave compatible devices from one central source. Z-Wave also uses a mesh network, meaning it relays signals or communicates with each other to extend the network range. Z-Wave often has a maximum of 232 devices limit and the devices operate around the 900 MHZ frequency range. This frequency range allows for a greater range of operation in a space that does not obstruct the device sensors.

These are just some of the many words you will find when researching home automation online. Follow our blog to learn more home automation terms as well as browse the latest smart devices on our site.

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