Looking at new companies in the home automation industry it looks like many of them prefer some kind of radio frequency data transmission. This makes sense as customers don’t want to have additional cables in their home. But is this really the future of home automation? I’m not sure. Here are some arguments against wireless control:
- Reliability: with more and more devices communicating wireless, interoperability problems can become more and more problematic.
- Power supply: with some exceptions (e.g. EnOcean), even wireless devices need a power supply. This mean either cabling or batteries that need to be changed regularly
- Security: Wireless devices are easier to attack than wired devices (at least if these are not connected to a public network).
Especially the security aspect is important in my point of view. Many home automation devices will be used for 10-50 years. While it might be reasonable to buy a new music player every 5 years, you don’t want to change your wall switches every 10 years. The development of encryption algorithms has shown that no algorithm is secure forever. This means the software has to be updated from time to time. Newer encryption algorithms might even need more powerful hardware. Do you believe your supplier will provide software updates for the devices during the next 20 years?