The Journey to a Smart Home

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Smart home products are all the rage, but where do you start and how far do you go? Well there are some simple steps to get started then you can get just about as complicated as you like.

The place to start is hiring an assistant, this will be either Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant, or Apple Siri. The one you pick will depend on what devices you currently work with, and what you want to achieve.

You’re new assistant will come in the form of a small speaker you can plug in and talk to, Amazon’s Echo or the Google Home are two examples. Once plugged in, connected to wifi, and synced with your accounts you can already start using your assistant.  Get them to play music, look up facts on the internet, order things on amazon, make phone calls, book appointments etc.

Your assistant is the hub of your smart home, everything you set up from here on out will be connected through the hub (which is also connected to your phone).  So you’ll be able to control everything through these two points.

Now this is where things get more fun, let say you want to have Alexa control your lights.  You can pick up a few Lifx smart bulbs (or something comparable), connect them to your wifi, and then walk into a room and say “Alexa turn the lamp on” or “Alexa dim the lights”, you’ll never have to flip a switch again.
Lights are cool and all but what else can you do?  Anything that plugs into an outlet (and has a power switch that can be left in the “on” position) can be controlled with a smart plug like the TP-Link smart plug.

For controlling your heat you can pick up a Nest Thermostat.  Once connected to your home Nest can be controlled via voice, or via the app from anywhere with an internet connection. Getting back from a warm vacation away? Ask nest to warm up the house once you land, so you can arrive home to a warm house.  Nest can also learn your habits and adjust the heat accordingly for the best energy efficiency.

Home security cameras can be hooked up and connected to wifi so you can check what’s going on from anywhere.  Smartlocks like August Smart Lock Pro, can be controlled from your phone, so you’ll never need a key.  A smart smoke detector so you can know your homes fire while you’re on vacation. A Nest Hello video doorbell so you can always see who’s at your door (then decide to let them in or not remotely). Electric blinds controlled via voice or app.  Smart windows with wifi connectivity that adjust tint based on the level of natural light or on demand from your app.

The list goes on and the options are just going to continue to grow. That said all the items mentioned here are smart devices for dumb homes. More and more tech with be seamlessly integrated into new builds, until eventually everything is fully integrated from the get go.

An important note to end on, especially if you’re using smart locks and home security cameras, set up proper passwords and security precautions.  This is not the place to use that one password you use for everything.  Be sure to change any default access passwords on devices, and it’s a good idea to have a secure wifi password. 
Let us know if you have or plan to install any smart devices in your home! 


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