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X10, UPB, INSTEON, Z-Wave, Zigbee for Home Automation
Home automation refers to the ability to control appliances or devices inside a home. Examples of home automation includes lighting control (from anywhere in the house or via the Internet), security monitoring system, remote-control thermostats, and many more. See more home automation definitions here , .
Home automation can be accomplished by enabling data transmission between you and your devices through certain communication means. Most home automation systems rely on two networks: one for distributing content (requires high-bandwidth technology, like Wi-Fi), and the other for controlling the status of the devices in the home (requires lower-bandwidth technology, like power line and radio signals). The latter is rather inexpensive, and has low-power consumption. Sample technologies and protocols for lower-bandwidth, lower-power consumption home automation include:
- X10: "The X10 is a standardized home automation protocol, which uses the existing electricity network in a house for the transmission of commands (on/ off, increase/ decrease brightness, etc...). Its low cost, ease of use and variety of equipment have made the X10 the most known home automation protocol in the world, with greater expression in the North American market." 
- Universal Powerline Bus (UPB™): "The UPB™ is a reliable, cost-effective, 2-way communications technology which enables control products to utilize existing powerlines for both residential and commercial applications. The UPB™ technology was developed by Powerline Control System (PCS)."  The comparison of X10 and UPB is available here .
- INSTEON: "INSTEON was developed by SmartLabs Technology, a division of SmartLabs, Inc. INSTEON is ... home automation technology. Using both the existing wires (power line) in the home and radio-frequency communication, INSTEON adds remote control and automation to lighting, appliance and home control applications of all types." 
- Z-Wave: "Z-Wave is a next-generation wireless ecosystem that lets all your home electronics talk to each other, and to you, via remote control. It uses simple, reliable, low-power radio waves that easily travel through walls, floors and cabinets."  Z-Wave uses radio-frequency technology to enable communications among devices in home.
- ZigBee - see description of ZigBee in the Integrated Communication list.
 What is Home Automation from Smarthome.com. URL: http://www.smarthome.com/homeautomation.html
Key Technology Area:
(Disclaimer: This is a representative sample list of vendors which is updated frequently. The SGIC portal does not endorse any companies or products listed herein.)