August 31, 2020
Only a few years ago, having a smart home felt like something out of a science fiction movie. Anyone remember that 90’s movie, Smart House? Fast forward to 2020 and we’re actually living some of those projections of futuristic tech living.
Smart technology continues to revolutionize how we live and helps us achieve better lifestyles. Now that we’re creeping up on half a year of shelter-in-place ordinances, smart technology at home is even more useful with people spending the majority of their time at home.
Setting up your home to be a “smart home” offers major convenience, by automating processes and saving energy (and money). You can save on your electricity bill each month by using smart devices like smart thermostats and plugs and making sure unused appliances aren’t on or plugged in. Smart doesn’t necessarily mean green, though. Adding things like connected cameras and always-on speakers add to your energy consumption, though not by much, and the conveniences often outweigh the cost.
Here are a few ways to set your home up to be ultra-smart.
1. Smart Home Assistant (speaker)
The smart speaker is like the hub for all other smart devices in your home. You can use it as a place to organize and connect all of your devices. The two most popular smart speakers are the Amazon Echo (Alexa) and Google Home, although you can also look into Apple’s HomePod.
These devices play music, control other smart devices in your home, answer questions, set reminders and timers, and much, much more. They come in a few different models, ranging in size and complexity, and are becoming increasingly affordable.
If you opt for a speaker without a built-in hub, like the one from Bose, you can get a Smart HUB to control most of your smart devices using only one app. These make it so much easier to manage your devices (think security camera, lighting, and even vacuum cleaners!).
2. Smart Lighting
This seems unnecessary, but once you experience the joy of smart lighting, you’ll never go back. First, buy smart light bulbs, and set them up in your home assistant. There, you can use the app to turn lights on and off, create lighting “programs” or settings to turn certain lights on and off, dim them, control and program different rooms in your home, etc. This is a real mood creator! Smart bulbs are also energy efficient, so this is a money saver!
3. Smart Thermostat
Installing a smart thermostat is a great way to automate the cooling and heating of your home and be more energy efficient. Smart thermostats can learn your favorite temperature settings and have sensors to monitor the different temperatures in rooms throughout your house.
You can start by replacing your doorbell with a smart doorbell, that includes a camera so you can see who’s at your door on your mobile app! You can also communicate with your visitor using the app. These are a great way to monitor packages being delivered, kids coming and going, etc.
Replace your door lock with a smart lock, which saves you the hassle of finding keys if you’ve lost them. You can unlock your door using a fingerprint scanner or a pin on your smartphone that’s synced with the lock.
Investing in smart indoor and outdoor security cameras is great for peace of mind. Wyze Cam’s make excellent and affordable indoor security cameras that take HD 1080p live feeds that store a 24-hour video so you can review a full day. You can also take screenshots, record time periods, utilize the nighttime mode, and communicate through the camera (great for using as a pet cam!) Some of the models also have a mechanical “eye” that allows you to scan the room.
Smart outdoor security cameras provide a more effective field of view, better overall efficiency, and performance compared to traditional security cameras. Most available smart cameras capture 1080p footage with the option to record and store clips.
5. Smart Plugs (outlets)
Smart plugs are a great way to manage the energy efficiency of your home. Using the app, with the touch of a finger, you can turn off appliances that aren’t in use, and even schedule
and group devices from your phone.
You can also use a device called a Helper, that plugs into the wall, and turns anything plugged into it into a smart device. This is great if you want to sync non-smart devices to your Hub without purchasing all new items. The Wemo Smart Plug does this and is available in different sizes (outlet amounts).
These are just some of the many smart devices on the market that allow you to make your home more technologically streamlined. But with the current available products, turning your home into a smart home has never been easier. And a lot of them are affordable so this transformation doesn’t break the bank! What are you going to turn into a smart device first?