Infrared (or IR) is a longstanding part of our electronic technology. It works in a simple way. You push a button on an IR remote which makes the LED flash. The receiver on the device translates the LED’s light pulses into commands. That makes the device play a song or change a TV channel.
It’s simple, safe and secure. It doesn’t involve radiation or data. Just light pulses. The trouble is, you need a remote for each IR device. US households can have up to 24 electronic devices that need their own remotes. Running a household with that many remotes can be tricky. Can the smart home help? After all, users control smart devices with apps on a single smartphone. IR isn’t like Z-Wave or Zigbee. It’s a form of technology, not an Internet of Things (IoT) protocol. It can’t send data like a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi device. So, its uses in IoT applications are different. IR works well in medical sensors that track heart rate. IR sensors are cheap, and they don’t use much power. Simple technology is often the better choice. But IR is a simple way to control all the devices in your home. Even the ones that aren’t “smart.” Let’s look at how we can do that.
Infrared in a Nutshell
When it comes to IR, the technology behind it has been around for a long time. It was Sir William Herschel, an astronomer, who discovered it way back in 1800.
Infrared is a form of electromagnetic radiation and has longer wavelengths than normal light, so it’s invisible to the human eye. That’s the reason you don’t see a red beam of light – like you would from a laser pointer – when you point your remote control at your TV and press a button.
Everybody knows about IR being used in remotes, but did you know even technology like night vision goggles makes use of it? It’s also used in medical imaging and heating – and is commonly used to heat saunas and for de-icing the wings of airplanes.
Even though IR is old technology, it’s still being used for innovative purposes, especially in the medial field. From destroying cancer cells to detecting potentially fatal sepsis , infrared has a bright future ahead.
Control Your IR Devices from One Remote
Maybe you want to start using smart home tech. But you don’t want to update all your devices at once. Smart plugs help convert old devices into smart ones. That gets expensive, and the functionality is still limited by the device.
Instead, you can use an IR blaster hub and control all your devices from a smart home app. An IR Blaster Hub is different from a smart home hub. In the old setup, you’d control a device using an IR remote. You press a button, and the signal goes to the device.
With an IR blaster hub, you send the signal from your smartphone to the hub. It then sends the command to the device using IR. These hubs work like a translator between old devices and IoT technology. They expand the IoT applications in your home by adding smart potential to traditional devices.
Broadlink is a major player in the IR blaster hub space. Their hub replaces the traditional remote with your smartphone acting the remote. Broadlink is compatible with the SURE Universal Remote if you want to follow this route. Check on your devices no matter where you are in the world – as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection. The Broadlink RM Pro lets you control both traditional and smart devices using the same app.
IR Hubs are a Step Toward a Smart Home
If you haven’t started building a smart home, IR hubs are a great place to start. They’re also a good way to fold existing devices into a fledgling network. With an app like the SURE Universal Remote, you’ll enjoy the best of both worlds!
Over to you – which IR devices can’t you bear to replace?