ON ITS OWN, A HOME AUTOMATION SYSTEM has the dexterity to juggle a variety of different tasks. Fastidiously built and structured by the producer and introduced by a home frameworks integrator, it’s ready to diminish and light up light installations. Modify the settings of indoor regulators, give status reports of family unit power utilization, and arrange the activity of complex home theater setups. These, and a wide assortment of other electronic amenities, are what the home automation industry refers to as “subsystems.”


Without subsystems, a home automation processor’s many talents can go sorely underutilized, as the brains of your home enables all subsystems to cross communicate and work synchronously.

To realize the full benefit of living in an automated home, it’s essential that at least a few subsystems be integrated with a home automation system.

Integration usually involves the addition of special hardware and professionally programmed software. But don’t worry.

These extra pieces of technology won’t clash with your home’s design or complicate your lifestyle.

Their system smarts, which may take the form of a black box tucked into an equipment rack, or a panel mounted to the wall alongside the automation processor in a utility room or closet, are able to maintain a low profile.

After receiving a signal from a handheld remote, touchpanel, smartphone, tablet, astronomical timer, motion sensor, your voice, or some other trigger device.

An automation system communicates its instructions (such as, “Turn foyer and kitchen lights on at 6:00 p.m.”) to the processor of the sub « system, which in turn carries out the command.

In other cases, a light switch, thermostat, and other individual devices may contain the smarts to be controlled directly from the automation system without any help from a subsystem processor.

The communication between an automation system and subsystems can happen over cabling or wirelessly via standards like Z-Wave, ZigBee, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth.

Regardless of the signal path or communications protocol, subsystems are an essential component of an automation system.

Take the time to consider what types of products and devices you’d like to be able to actively monitor, control, and automate.



Automating the motorized window shades and lights

Maybe you’re interested in automating only the motorized window shades and lights; perhaps you’d like to weave in the control of the swimming pool system and electronic door locks.

These plans will help determine the type of automation system you should use, as they vary in their level of integration capabilities.

You’ll want to know which subsystems an automation system has been designed and engineered to handle out of the box, and what upgrade options are available.

It’s also important to understand that not all automation systems will be able to handle every type of smart device out there.

Most home automation systems are very brand-specific when it comes to the types of subsystems they can control.

Many of the brands will be names you have never heard of. That’s because the job of the CE pro is to find the best products available for the application and connect them together into a seamlessly operating smart home.

He knows what works best together and what doesn’t.

The following list explains the different types of subsystems commonly integrated with automation systems.

If you have any questions or concerns about a system’s integration capabilities, manufacturers are happy to share this information with you and your home systems integrator.

lighting control

Probably the most popular and practical of all automation subsystems, an architectural lighting control system enables all types of light sources.

Including incandescent, compact fluorescent, halogen, and LED. to be dimmed and brightened to prescribed levels to achieve greater energy savings, provide visual interest by changing color, enhance security. and set the mood for certain occasions.

When managed by a home automation system, the operation of a home’s lights can be synchronized with other subsystems.

This provides even greater benefits; for instance, the lights can turn on and off according to the settings of a security system or the position of motorized draperies.


Protecting your home and family is well handled by a residential security system, and many can now also control lights and thermostats.

Still, there are good reasons to integrate security with a home automation system convenience being one major benefit.

From the same device or interface you use to control various other electronic subsystems in your house.

You’ll be able to view the status of the security system, arm and disarm sensors. And even view real-time images captured by surveillance cameras.

Moreover, the same security sensors that monitor your house can be also used to enact certain automation routines.

For example, sensors that are intended to trigger an alarm when they detect motion can also activate a pathway of lights.

One of the best features is that you can do all of this whether you’re at home or away at work, vacation, or anywhere else.

Being able to remotely access your security system and all the devices connected to itprovides valuable peace of mind.

Your security system can also be set up to monitor certain areas, or zones, while other areas are remain unmonitored.

For example, the motion sensor in the backyard can be on guard while the ones inside the house are off.

Or, when you’re working in the yard the system can watch only the front of the house while the zone near the back of the  house and around the swimming pool are disengaged.

So you can keep your house protected but still be able to roam the yard and portions of the house without setting off an alarm.

Expect your CE pro to offer additional technologies to enhance the protection capabilities of your security system.

A popular addition is a surveillance camera that can be accessed via the Internet and that pushes notifications to your phone when it senses motion.

Other popular security add-ons include electronic door locks, glassbreak and motion sensors, and storage solutions for video recorded by surveillance cameras.


Manufacturers of thermostats have improved the usability of their products over the years, making them vastly easier to program.

As a result, your house temperature can adjust automatically and in sync with your daily routine. It’s even easier to schedule thermostat adjustments, though, by integrating your heating and cooling system with an automation system.

This is particularly true for homes that have multiple thermostats.

Rather than program each thermostat individually, a home automation system lets you regulate them all from the screen of a tablet, touchpanel, smartphone, or some other user interface.

Once they’re programmed, you can monitor the temperature of each heating and cooling zone and adjust as necessary from this single control device.

Another perk :

The temperature can adjust automatically based on certain conditions like when the garage door opens. The home theater system activates, the motorized window shades close, or when you hit the Away button on your home’s security system.


Imagine having your favorite song greet you as you enter the house after work or waking up to see the morning news displayed on your bathroom TV.

It’s possible when a home’s audio and video components are managed and controlled by an automation system.

On cue from an automation system, music can travel from equipment in a media room to speakers throughout the house, or to just a few specific rooms that you select. Ditto for video to TVs.

And your home’s lights can adjust in concert with the music if they’re programmed via the automation system.

One touch of a button can create the perfect ambiance for a dinner party, a romantic evening at home. Or a festive gathering of friends on the back patio.

And you’ll have no trouble finding the music or video you want to enjoy when your A/V equipment is managed by a home automation system.

You’ll be able to peruse your entire library of media conveniently from the screen of the same tablet, phone, or touchpanel that is used to operate the other electronic subsystems in your house.

And your entertainment options these days are staggering. From a home automation interface you can access streaming music services.

As well as your own stored library of songs from iTunes, a computer, or even a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device.

As for video, you can access and control cable and satellite TV services, Blu-ray Disc players, media servers, and streaming services like Netflix.

A few taps of a finger can activate the audio or video and instruct it where to play.

If there’s a particular room where you often watch movies, an automation system can set up the equipment and the room environment in one fell swoop.

On command, the room lights dim, the shades close, and the appropriate equipment revs up. All you need to do is sit back and enjoy.


The aforementioned subsystems are the most popular to place under the aegis of an automation system. But just about any product or system that derives electrical or battery power can be integrated.

When working with a home systems professional to design and install an automation system, also consider these integration-worthy components.

Swimming pool and spa systems, motorized gates, electronic door locks, garage doors, motorized equipment. For drapes, TVs, home theater screens, and video projector, irrigation systems, and decorative fountains.

And although the network over which devices connected to a home automation system aren’t automated, asolid, reliable wireless, and/or wired network is a critical part of a smart home.

Your CE pro can recommend the right type of network for your home and the scope of the installation … plus ensure that your house will be able to handle any smart systems and products you might add later.