What in your home can you automate?
There’s no limit to the functionality you can attain in your smart home with the correct technology and experience. All you have to do now is select what you want to do and how best to accomplish it.
Here’s all you need to know about smart home planning.
Home automation can help if you wish you had more time in the day. Simple voice commands or finger taps on a smartphone app keep the ball moving after it’s set up.
Here are four stages for smart home newbies to jump into home automation:
- Shopping for your first smart device.
- Extending your collection.
- Making your devices work together.
You’ll live in a smart home in the twenty-first century before realizing it.
Decide on your very first smart gadget.
There are many ways to automate your house, making it easy to overspend on smart devices you don’t require. We recommend beginning with one or two smart devices and gradually adding more.
Factors to consider before purchasing a smart home gadget
Smart devices can be purchased on practically any budget. Decide where your boundaries are.
Setup: Stick to smart gadgets that are easy to use and fit your ability level—some electrical equipment (such as smart thermostats and smart outlets) require more technical knowledge than others.
Because everyone’s lifestyle is different, the smart device that your neighbor swears by might not be right for you. Basic lifestyle categories can be found in our section on a balanced smart home.
Read consumer reviews, buyers’ advice, and independent reviews before making a purchase. You don’t have to do as much research as we do (that’s our job), but other points of view are always beneficial.
Pick a smart home platform.
The most difficult decision to make in the smart home is which platform to choose. Your gadgets can communicate and be controlled from a central location using a single platform.
This lets you operate things from afar using an app on your smartphone, PC, or digital assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.
Add more devices to your network.
It’s difficult to resist adding more devices to a smart home once you’ve experienced all it offers. To establish balance, think about these four categories: control, entertainment, security, and utilities. These categories might help you turn your tech fantasies into a smart home that is both useful and personal.
Create automations and procedures
The ultimate goal of a smart home is for devices to work together to make your life easier. Routines and automations are two methods to make your devices work for you.
Routines combine device operations into a single command, which some firms call scenes or shortcuts. This allows you to adjust numerous settings at once instead of going through the tedious and time-consuming procedure of using manual controls on a smartphone app or smart speaker one by one.
Scenes and routines have two purposes:
To use a single device to control several settings. Set the mood by adjusting the brightness and color of a smart bulb as you curl up with a good book.
Multiple settings across a collection of devices can be controlled. For an exercise session, you may use your smart speaker to play music, increase the brightness of the lights, and lower the thermostat.
While the processes for generating routines, scenes, and shortcuts vary significantly from app to app, they are usually straightforward:
- Find out where you may create routines in the app.
- Choose the device(s) you’d want to operate.
- Make any necessary changes to the device’s settings.
- Give the routine a short or memorable name—this is especially important if you plan to use a smart speaker to activate it.
- Check to check if your new routine is working properly.
Automations employ a cause-and-effect structure to automatically allow gadgets to respond to changing conditions in your house. They’re the epitome of smart home convenience, while they take longer to set up and demand more critical thinking than routines.
What can smart home automation help you achieve?
In a smart home, almost anything that uses power can be automated. To choose the finest solutions to achieve the functionality outcomes you desire, you must first decide on the functionality outcomes you want.
Here are a few of the most beneficial and popular aspects of home automation:
What is my home? Can I automate it?
Smart lighting is the simplest and most effective way to automate your house. Lighting that you can control with your voice, set on a schedule, or activate depending on the opening or closing of a door is convenient, saves energy, and looks great. Without needing to employ an electrician, smart lighting adds a slew of features to your home’s lighting design.
A smart bulb can be muted, has adjustable white light (move from cool white to warm white depending on whether you want to be energized or relaxed), and even has color-changing capabilities. Smart switches are another simple way to link a room’s worth of existing lights, adding dimming, scheduling, and voice and remote control capabilities. Finally, a few smart plugs will ensure that the magnificent lamp Aunt Iris got you for Christmas in 1989 survives the transition to the twenty-first century.
A smart lock will change how you enter and exit your house and make it much easier and safer to let in visitors or service people such as dog walkers or cleaners. You can no longer hide your keys beneath the flowerpot; instead, you can use your phone, your fingerprint, or a code to gain access to your home.
You can also provide individuals electronic access and remove it when you don’t want them to come back (much less expensive than changing the locks). Smart locks can also communicate with other systems in your home, such as lights and heating, to turn everything off when you leave, lock up, and then turn everything back on when you unlock the door and return home.
Without the need for extra blankets, intelligent heating regulations can save electricity. A smart thermostat can detect whether you’re at home or away (using presence sensors, geolocation of your and your family’s smartphones, and triggers from other devices like your door lock) and alter the temperature by a few degrees to conserve energy.
A connected thermostat can also communicate with other devices in your home, such as door and window sensors, smart blinds, and local weather stations, to determine when it’s time to turn down the heat because a window is open, the Sun is warming a room, or the temperature is expected to reach 22°C this afternoon.
While most of us don’t have CCTV cameras installed in our homes, owing to inexpensive, wireless Wi-Fi cameras, the smart home makes it much easier to keep an eye on things if you want to.
These simple-to-install and use devices can be placed inside or outside your home to warn you of any concerns via motion-activated recording and allow you to view a live or recorded video of your home on your smartphone.
Many can be programmed only to wake up and record if they see a person, animal, car, or package or report any movement in their field of view. They can be set to switch off automatically when you get home, or during the day, so you don’t record yourself accidentally.
This form of surveillance is useful for security, deterring intruders, and providing evidence if a break-in occurs. It can also be used to watch your pets while you’re at work or check in on older children or elderly relatives who are alone at home. A video doorbell is our favorite security camera; it serves as a voicemail for your front door, allowing visitors to leave a video message while away and keeping an eye on your main entry point.
Finally, smart security cameras pair well with smart security systems, which you can easily install and monitor using your smartphone. Most companies also provide expert alarm monitoring for a monthly charge. When combined with security cameras, they can provide visual confirmation when your alarm is triggered, potentially speeding up the arrival of emergency personnel.
Smart speakers and smart TVs are already commonplace in our homes – you can’t buy a ‘dumb’ TV anymore – and smart speakers from Amazon, Google, and now Apple are so inexpensive and do so much interesting stuff that it’s difficult to justify not getting one.
Smart speakers – and the digital assistants that power them – are the fire that is fueling the current smart home explosion, from playing any song you can think of on-demand with just a few words to connecting to your smart TV so you can stop worrying about finding the remote and tell your telly to put on EastEnders.
Your speaker can tell you the weather, set a kitchen timer, find you a recipe, give you the news, contact a friend, and – most importantly – control any linked smart home devices with just a few words from you, thanks to Alexa, Siri, and Google’s artificial intelligence.
In recent years, off-the-shelf smart devices have grown in popularity. You can accomplish a lot with a virtual assistant like Google Home and smart gadgets like light bulbs, speakers, and cameras.
When it comes to home automation, this is where many people want to start. Virtual assistant solutions and a complete home automation system, on the other hand, are vastly different.
There are limitations to what you can achieve with DIY items. If you decide to increase the automation capabilities of your smart home, you may need to replace incompatible equipment in the future.
What are the advantages of having a smart home?
Convenience, security, and energy savings are the key advantages of having these linked devices in your house.
Smart home technologies can make your home function more smoothly by automating many of your daily tasks. Robot vacuum cleaners can keep your floors clean, and an automatic “Good Morning” routine can start your coffee maker, turn on your lights, tune in to your favorite station, and even turn on your shower when your alarm goes off.
You can always know what’s going on in your home thanks to your smart home’s internet connection, even if you’re not there. You may view a live feed from your living room or backyard thanks to a smart security camera on your smartphone. If there is motion in your house or a door opens, smart sensors can send an alarm to your phone. A smart door lock can inform you who came home and when (this is useful for keeping track of latchkey kids and eliminating the risk of misplacing the keys).
Savings on energy
While the smart thermostat may have ushered in the second coming of the smart home by promising to reduce your energy consumption using smart algorithms, the smart home is ultimately about efficiency.
With an internet connection, you can effortlessly manage your energy-consuming devices from your smartphone. Put high-use appliances on timers so they only run when energy is cheap, regulate each room in your home so it’s only light and warm when needed, and use smart plugs to track how much energy your home uses to see where you can save money.
What factors should I consider while selecting a smart home ecosystem?
While you can buy a smart gadget like a robot vacuum or a video doorbell and have it handle everything by itself, a smart home shines when it includes many gadgets. But – and this is huge, but – your devices must work together so you can set up those handy Routines, nifty Automations, and other cool smart home interactions.
You’ll need a smart home ecosystem for this — a central location where all of your devices can connect and be controlled, programmed, and combined into useful Routines.
Apple’s HomeKit, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Samsung’s SmartThings are available in four major smart home ecosystems. Even the most technologically impaired person can readily install these, while most devices require professional installation.
It’s a terrific place to start if you already have a digital assistant in your house that’s connected to one of these ecosystems. Another factor is what you want your smart home to do the most. Are you a lighting aficionado? All you want is smart heating control? Look for the gadget you’ll need and the ecosystem that supports it, and work your way up from there.
The good news is that most gadgets operate with several ecosystems, the hardware required to control them (such as a hub or smart speaker) is generally inexpensive, and the apps are all free. This means you can quickly cut and shift ecosystems and (if you’re feeling brave) even employ many ecosystems at once (some are designed to work together). Thankfully, this isn’t a VHS vs. Betamax battle.