Equipping your home with added security and convenience features are easier and more affordable than ever thanks to advances in technology. Creating a so-called “smart home” might seem daunting due to the sheer number of products on the market, but with a little research, you can find what works for you, get it up a running quickly, and then add enhancements as you need them.
What is a Smart Home?
A Smart Home is one that is equipped with any combination of appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, computers, entertainment systems, and/or security systems that can communicate with one another. The devices are controlled through one central in-home device, as well as remotely via an app on your smartphone or the internet.
What are the benefits?
A Smart Home offers enhanced convenience and accessibility thanks to the power of voice command technology and the ability to control all your ‘smart’ devices through one central hub – whether you’re at home or away. The advent of Smart Home devices has also made adding security features - such as indoor and outdoor cameras – much more affordable than the days when such products required a pre-wired home and professional installation. Because these new-age devices connect via wireless internet, virtually anyone with a router and a WiFi password can install a smart home device in minutes.
How do I start?
The first step in building your smart home network is to choose a “hub.” This is the voice-assisted device that all others will connect to, and through which your commands will be given. The most popular options are the Amazon Echo, Google Home, the new Apple HomeKit, and Works with Nest.
Once you select a hub, think about additional smart devices that will make your home life more convenient and/or secure, and then find a device that is compatible with your chosen hub. Popular categories include security cameras, doorbells, kitchen appliances, thermostats, lighting systems, and more. So for example, if you want to keep an eye on your house when you aren’t there, or be alerted to someone at your door, the first two categories are a must; smart thermostats are great for keeping temperatures comfortable while at home, and saving energy automatically when you’re away; and wouldn’t you love to set the mood with a pre-determined lighting scheme that automatically changes with a simple voice command or swipe of an app? The possibilities are vast, and new and improved devices are coming on the scene all the time. All it takes is a little imagination and research to find devices that will help simplify your life and create a safer, more energy-efficient home.
And if you have privacy concerns about those listening devices, check out our article on what the Amazon Echo and Google Home do with your voice commands. There are ways to limit data storage while still enjoying the convenience these products offer.