I will soon move in my new house and I am looking to create a custom home automation system using what already exists on the market.

The most important thing would be to interface well with existing products on the market, for example lamps, fridge, television, etc. Is there one mainstream radio technology that can communicate safely with most devices?

I don't want to build my own lamps, but I wouldn't mind putting together an "automation box" to meet my needs, do you have any advice?

  • For newer tech, I've been keeping an eye on this startup: smartthings.com (wifi based automation devices) as well as this product from Phillips (mainly for automating lighting): meethue.com/en-US
    – DA01
    Commented Dec 9, 2012 at 17:38
  • Is your question a dup of this one?
    – BMitch
    Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 2:05
  • BMitch: No, it's not. I want to build my own switch, so I need to know what technology to use, should I use a mix of them? I will decide what device to buy, what brand based on the radio technology they use and how well they can interact.
    – Aki
    Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 7:45
  • This question might be a bit localized, since technology changes at a rapid pace. What's common today, may be gone tomorrow.
    – Tester101
    Commented Dec 11, 2012 at 20:50
  • Still, vendors will choose the best technology on the market and will try to stick to it as long as it's working well. Especially if they want their product to interact with each others.
    – Aki
    Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 23:50

1 Answer 1


Here are the most common technologies/protocols based on my experience purchasing devices:

  • Zwave: proprietary, wireless, and tons of devices available
  • Insteon: Uses power lines and a wireless radio for redundancy (dual-band)
  • ZigBee: Wireless, but shares the same spectrum as cordless phones, microwaves, etc. But you can purchase ZigBee chips without having a OEM license, so that can mean cheaper in some instances

Also, keep an eye on enOcean devices that will be getting cheaper and cheaper. They are used mostly in larger corporate buildings right now, but that could change as controller prices come down.

As far as getting started, you need some sort of controller to interface with all your devices. Have a look at MiCasVerde controller which connects to zwave devices (and many Insteon devices if you buy an additional plug component). That gives you tons of devices to interface with, but mostly on the lighting, temperature, door-locks, etc. Setting it up for controlling TV and fridge would not be trivial.

Hope that helps!


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.