Home Automation Glossary

A handy A-Z of useful Smart Home terms

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Here at Loxone we're all about simple Home Automation and taking total control of your home as easily as possible. But things aren't always as straightforward as you'd like when there's seemingly impenetrable jargon flying about the place. That's why we thought we'd talk you through some of the trickier terms and phrases you'll come across in the world of Smart Homes...

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1-Wire - 1-Wire is a communication protocol developed by Texas Instruments that provides low-speed data, signaling, and power over a single wire. You’ll find 1-Wire technology in temperature sensors and iButtonsTo interface with these devices we have our 1-Wire Extension.

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Android - An operating system designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. A favourite with non-Apple users.

Analog Input/Output - Inputs or outputs on a hardware interface (such as our Miniserver) that accepts non-digital signals; think temperature sensors and things - anything with a variable value.

Actuator - A type of motor used to move mechanical parts in a system. A thermal valve actuator for instance will open and close valves in a heating system when needed.

Apps - A program or piece of software downloaded for use on a smartphone, tablet or other wireless device

Bus - An interface that allows lots of different devices to communicate with each other. You’ll find a CAN bus interface in the Miniserver.

Central Functions - A one-press setup. Want to turn every light in your house out on the way out? Hit the button - lots of actions from just one instruction.

Config - Our very own software used for setting up and amending your Loxone system. And it’s entirely free!

Cloud Services - Allowing your Miniserver to integrate with the internet, allowing you to be able to tap into all sorts of data.

Casatunes - A high-tech multiroom home audio solution that’s perfect for any Smart Home. Similar to Sonos.


DMX - A data protocol for excellent lighting control. Commonly found in stage lighting for large venues, nightclubs and theatres.

Digital Inputs/Outputs - Inputs or outputs on a hardware interface that can only be either ‘on’ or ‘off’.

Dimmer - A device for varying brightness levels of home lighting.

Dipswitch - Used for setting certain functions or addresses on devices. For example found on the PIR we sell in our webshop and also commonly on DMX LED drivers.

Device - A mechanical or electrical machine or component.

Domotics - A rather posh way of saying ‘Home Automation’. It's a portmanteau of 'Domus' (Latin for 'home') and the word 'automatic'.

Extensions - Additions to the Miniserver that allow system expansion with more inputs and outputs.

Ethernet - A group of computer networking methods for local area networks. Allows computers and devices to communicate with each other.

EnOcean - Energy-harvesting wireless sensor technology. Perfect for retrofitting.

Function Blocks - Intelligent, ready-made icons for dragging and dropping when configuring in the  Loxone ConfigThis is how the programming of the Miniserver is done. To connect the function blocks you simply draw lines between them.

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Gold Partner - An advanced partner status. Not quite Platinum, but higher than Silver!

Home Automation - What we’re all about! Using technology, computers and devices to control functions in a building - primarily homes - automatically and sometimes remotely. Automation is not just limited to homes however, it includes commercial buildings, restaurants, galleries, yachts!

IR - Infrared, a type of radiation picked up on by many ‘motion’ sensors.

Intelligent Room Control - Heating rooms separately with an automation system.

iButton - Stainless steel buttons with 1-Wire technology inside usually used in access control.

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- Common building communications protocol standard.

Lighting Scenes - A pre-configured and saved lighting set-up, really useful for choosing between colours on a RGB LED strip without having to have a controller on the wall.

LAN - ‘Local access network’, a small computer network connecting a limited area such as a home or office.

LED - ‘Light-emitting diodes’, an energy-saving lighting option that’s perfect for Smart Homes.


Miniserver - The brain of our Smart Home solution! The Miniserver is a powerful PLC with its own OS capable of controlling every aspect of your home and brings all the different technologies in a house together.

Modbus - A communications protocol built on top of RS-485 designed for controlling devices with Modbus interfaces. These are commonly found in heating systems and energy monitoring systems.

Multiroom Audio - An audio system that allows you to listen to different music in different rooms or areas of your house.

OS - The Loxone OS is the world’s first Smart Home operating system.


Presence Simulation - Automated replication of your household's behaviour set up to deter intruders.

 - A specified set of rules for devices to communicate by.

RS232A telecommunications protocol, ‘Recommended Standard 232’ provides serial connections using single-ended signals. Great for transferring data. RS-232 is point-to-point so for example one RS-232 Extension could control one RS-232 device like an alarm panel.

RS485Similar to RS232, it’s an electrical standard which defines the characteristics of drivers and receivers for use in balanced digital systems. Unlike RS-232, RS-485 masters can control more than one slave device.

RGB LED - LED lights which use the basic colours of red, green and blue to create any number of other colours.

RelayAn electrically operated switch.

Smart Homes - Another term for ‘Home Automation’.

Smartphone - A mobile phone so advanced it’s basically a pocket-sized computer.

Simulation Mode - A mode you can use in the Loxone Config to test your configuration before going live.

Sonos - An American company that specialise in wireless multiroom music systems.

Sensor A device that’s used to measure and indicate a particular physical property, ie temperature, sound or infrared.


Tablet - A single panel computer, the most famous example being Apple’s iPad.

User Interface - Ways to access Loxone, including: the web interface, smartphone

Virtual Inputs/Outputs - Data that’s produced that’s intangible - in other words, the actual input or output doesn’t physically exist. Used for sending commands from the user interface with no actual switch, or controlling devices over the network like a Yamaha AVR or a Sonos box..


Web Interface - Gives you the ability to control your Loxone Smart Home over the internet.