Smart homes have a lot of appeal, whether you own your place or are just renting. Just picture yourself walking into your house, unlocking the door with your phone, the lights coming on by themselves, and your virtual assistant making you a cup of coffee. A robot vacuum can clean the house in your absence, a programmable thermostat may reduce energy use, and security cameras let you keep tabs on things from your phone even when you’re not there.
While there is currently no silver bullet for home automation, the installation and management of a wide variety of smart devices is simpler than ever. Get the smart house of your dreams with only a few commonplace items. See below for a primer on getting going.
Also read: How to set up a smart home
How to Control Everything in Your Smart Home
Many smart home gadgets provide direct control of their most fundamental features through Wi-Fi and an accompanying smartphone app. buying a new product is as easy as hooking it up to your Wi-Fi network, installing the necessary software, and you’re good to go.
Other gadgets talk to a central hub using more general wireless protocols like Zigbee and Z-Wave (Matter is an emerging smart home standard to keep an eye on, too). Instead of utilizing different applications for your light bulbs and thermostat, for example, a hub will allow you to operate all of your smart home items from a one location.
While many items may be used with a variety of standards, not all platforms are as accommodating. Constructing a smart home might seem like solving an insurmountable logic problem because of the wide variety of devices available across several ecosystems. However, like with any endeavour, dividing the procedure into manageable chunks might aid in comprehension. One or two devices is all you need to get started.
If the thought of using voice control to activate your lights or opening your front door from your phone appeals to you, you may be interested in investigating smart home automation systems. Select a subject from the list below to see our recommended devices; by narrowing down on certain capabilities, you should be able to discover something that works for you. To avoid potential conflicts as you add more smart devices to your house, it’s best to start with goods that are compatible with various standards.
Voice Control: The Easy Place to Start
Controlling your smart home devices with your voice is a convenient and growing trend. In the event that they have voice-control capabilities, you may use your voice to do things like activate the lights, adjust the temperature, make coffee, and so on.
The most convenient method to implement voice control in your house is with a smart speaker, which, depending on your preferences, may connect you to services like Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Assistant. When it comes to smart speakers, Amazon has the most options with its extensive lineup of Echo models, followed by Google with its pair of Nest products and Apple with its HomePod small. However, although Siri is exclusive to the HomePod, you can buy third-party speakers that support Alexa and Google Assistant.
If your smart home devices have a compatible voice assistant, you can connect them to any of these speakers and use voice commands to do things like turn off the lights before bed.
Add some smart lighting
Smart lighting is one of the simplest ways to incorporate smart home technology after purchasing a smart speaker (again, optional but advised). The solution might be simpler than you think. Multiple manufacturers, including Philips Hue and Kasa, now provide long-lasting LED bulbs that can be used in standard lamp sockets. As a result of its app-based connectivity, you may adjust the lights’ hue, brightness, and colour temperature. Make plans for when you want the lights off or dimmed, then link them to your voice assistant so you can issue commands to do so.
You may ease into smart home technology by starting with just one or two smart light bulbs and seeing what they can do before upgrading the rest of your lighting system. In the future, when you feel prepared, you may confidently add extra lights or branch out into other gadgets. And if you’re a fan of smart bulbs, you may also be interested in upgrading some of your lighting systems with smart switches, which provide the same benefits regardless of the bulbs you choose.
Get smart plugs
One of the first things you should do when setting up your system is to install smart plugs. Why? Lamps, slow cookers, curling irons, fans, space heaters, and just about anything else can be plugged in. All it takes to automate these processes is a few simple connectors. Additionally, they may be quickly and easily installed.
The software that comes with the plug will walk you through setting up Wi-Fi. Connecting the plug to a smart speaker enables hands-free operation with voice commands like “Alexa, turn off smart plug!”
To keep you in the know, smart outlets are not exactly like regular plugs, but they do need some comparable configuration. Most smart outlets simply connect into your wall socket, eliminating the need to rewire your house.
Stay Comfortable With a Smart Thermostat
The temperature in your home may be adjusted automatically depending on the time of day, your location, and the state of other connected devices with a smart thermostat, which can be controlled from your smartphone. You can maintain a consistent temperature throughout your house with some models thanks to remote room sensors. Installation of a smart thermostat is straightforward in most cases, but does involve some work with low-voltage wiring (and typically some light drilling).
Smart home FAQ
How do I keep my smart home from being hacked?
Smart technology breaches have recently come under scrutiny, particularly those involving Ring and SimpliSafe. Use a strong password to protect your machine. Keep it secret, and be sure you switch it up often. Some systems allow you to create temporary guest passcodes for repair staff or guests.
Should I use Google Home or Alexa?
Difficult question. Both smart speaker hubs come with their share of benefits and drawbacks. Alexa, as implemented by the Amazon Echo Plus, has our undying favour. The presenter is excellent. And since it uses the Zigbee wireless standard, Alexa is compatible with a wide variety of different manufacturers. Those who like Nest’s smart home products, however, might consider Google Home.
The Apple HomePod isn’t the only choice for a smart home setup. In addition to playing music, this speaker can also act as a central hub for your Apple HomeKit devices.