There is no arguing the fact that home automation is a booming industry. A survey taken in late 2019 showed that 54% of all U.S. homes were equipped with at least one smart home device. More than two years later, that number has undoubtedly grown even larger.
It is also apparent that Google and Amazon dominate the home automation space. Some people are okay with that. Others are not. Among the latter group are those people who are very wary of Google and Amazon’s data gathering and sharing practices. They see news reports of privacy issues with both companies and choose to avoid home automation because of it.
So, is it possible to do home automation without Google or Amazon? In simple terms, yes. But you may be limited depending on how far you want to go to avoid Google and Amazon products.
The ‘Big Two’ Everywhere
Google and Amazon are well known for getting their foots into a particular industry and then using their vast financial resources to buy up the competition. Home automation is no exception. Here are just two examples: Amazon owns the Ring brand; Google owns Nest.
In addition to big name brands being owned or controlled by the Big Two, you also cannot escape the reality that independent manufacturers often design their devices with Google and Amazon compatibility in mind.
If you are just looking to avoid products wholly owned or controlled by the two big boys, that’s one thing. But if you don’t even want products that can be integrated with Google and Amazon devices, your list of choices will be pretty small.
Professionally Installed Systems
Let us assume you are okay with Google and Amazon capabilities because you have no intention of integrating your smart home devices with either company’s branded products. Now you have quite a few choices. One choice is to opt for a professionally installed system from a company like Vivint Smart Home.
Vivint devices can be integrated with smart speakers from both Google and Amazon. But they do not have to be. The company offers its own central control system that takes voice control out of the equation. Just bear in mind that some of the devices in Vivint’s inventory are Ring and Nest devices.
DIY Home Automation
Your best bet for keeping Google and Amazon’s influence out of your home automation system as much as possible is to go the DIY route. With DIY home automation, you build your own system piece-by-piece. There is no need for a Google or Amazon smart speaker. You do not necessarily need proprietary hub software, either.
There are plenty of smart devices that can be controlled with native mobile apps – or even open-source hub software. Smart light bulbs and smart plugs are just two examples. Invest in both and you have the basis for an entry-level smart home system.
A good option for adding to that system would be a couple of wireless security cameras. There are plenty of options that do not depend on Google or Amazon for connectivity. If you are so inclined, you might even be able to turn an old, unused smartphone into a security camera.
The key to all of this is research. You need to take the time to learn just how deeply invested Google and Amazon are in the home automation space. Diligent research will reveal their investments run pretty deep. Still, it’s possible to get into the game and keep the two companies’ influence to a minimum. You just need to be willing to limit your device choices and control options.