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Centralised vs. distributed smart home systems - What is the right choice?

August 20, 2018


Box or not a box – That’s the question…


To make it dramatic from the beginning: What would happen, if the government would fail from one day to the other? Right – Panic would break lose but the world would still turn, due to the private sector.


What does a failing government have to do with a centralised and/or a distributed system? Easy – whilst the government is the central point of a country, the private sector is acting as the distributed player in this scenario. Whilst government-owned institutions and services would stop working after a collapse, the companies and institutions which are not involved in a governmental collapse are (even if only theoretically) functional.


And this is the point also for centralised and distributed systems. But let’s have a look first at the two different systems:



Centralised Systems


















 Central device for smart home solutions


With growing distribution of Smart Home solutions, the smart home has arrived in more and more households. “Switch off the light!” will soon be heard more often than the question asked, whether the light has been switched off or not (a common nightmare, once departed for your holidays). Clearly, this makes life more comfortable and give the feeling of owning a little bit of the future, which is yet to come. Having said that, we have not talked about the further advantages, such as the shopping list items, which Amazon can have delivered to you within hours, or the recommendations for goods, that Google thinks we need. Besides controlling our houses, we also have funny gadgets to play around with.


“Where there is light, there must be shadow”


What do the systems of centralised solutions have in common? Right – They are all controlled by one central controller. On the bright side, the easy user interface allows to have all devices connected and configured in no time. The easy user interfaces allow even children to configure their smart homes according to their wishes.


However, the drawback of these nice and easy systems are also what makes them so interesting – All is controlled by a central controller. Let’s just think about what would happen, if the devices, which you talk to would stop listening, because they are broken, the battery is flat or your dog was buried your smart box in the garden. Voice control would first of all not be the same, if you have nobody listing to it and worse, nothing would be controllable. And if the devices is still working, do not forget that as the configuration is very easy, changes by unauthorised persons, which could negatively impact the whole installation, will be a constant threat to normal functioning (Even South Park and Burger King did it).


Furthermore, looking at the fast moving developments, devices and their technologies usually do not have a longer life span than the house you are living in. Result is that your smart homes needs constant upgrades, which will create extra costs. Also, consider yourself as lucky, if you only have to invest in upgrades and not a whole system (click on the link for more information).


So in short: Newly released centralised systems are easy to configure, install and add a futuristic touch to your home. However, it is yet unforeseen, what will happen in the future with these systems, not even taking into consideration when the central controller is not functioning anymore.