Building a smart home is an exciting adventure. You get to build a space just for you. There are many types of smart home devices you can set up like sensors and locks for home security while you are sleeping, robot vacuum cleaner for cleaning your home, intelligent speakers for playing your favorite music, intelligent lights to light your house in different colors, etc.
In the past few years, we have seen unprecedented growth in the smart device market. An intelligent home became one of the most used keywords in 2020. Such homes have become quite common today, and many residential projects now boast different amenities. However, you need to look into all factors before turning your home into an intelligent one.
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What Is A Smart Home?
Before we get into the details and installing devices for such homes, let us dive into the basics before. An intelligent home is a house that has smart devices connected to the internet. This way, you will manage and monitor the systems and appliances like heating, lighting, etc., remotely. Also known as home automation, intelligent homes provide a sense of security, convenience, energy efficiency, and comfort to the owners simply by providing access to control these intelligent devices via a single device. In most cases, smart home automation systems will share usage data among themselves to automate the actions and operate together, based on your choices.
How Does A Smart Home Work?
An intelligent home is about appliances connected. These devices are connected via a WiFi network, which makes them easier to control. Most of these smart home gadgets work on software that tracks habits and records the user’s preferences. For instance, a smart mattress will adjust according to your back, a speaker that will track the kind of music you listen to, etc. Some other home automation devices include thermostat regulation, home entertainment, and theatres, home security, lighting, etc.
How Do You Get Started?
Creating the perfect intelligent home will depend on three things – your enthusiasm, time, and budget. Yes, you have the option of purchasing a single intelligent home appliance from one brand and figure out the workings later. Alternatively, you can also buy all types of smart home appliances like speakers, smart bulbs, security cameras, and sensors. Then, you can connect them to a central hub that allows these appliances to communicate with each other and with you, with the help of your phone. However, you may have to spend a lot of money and put in a lot of time for the second option.
If you want to keep it simple, you can look for pocket-friendly devices and upgrade them later. For instance, you can get the best record player under 200 quickly (the smart one!) and buy the better option later. A basic package can get the job done and provide you with all the conveniences of an intelligent home, all while saving some money.
Smart Home Assistants: The Basics
The first step of a smart home installation is to set up a virtual assistant. While there are many you will find in the market, the three big names are.
- Amazon’s Alexa
- Apple’s Siri
- Google’s Assistant
These intelligent home systems can do almost anything, like control the smart appliances in your home like door locks, lights, thermostats, play music, answer questions, tell jokes, etc. They can also respond to various types of voice commands like send text messages and make phone calls. These smart home assistants are an important part of any intelligent home because they learn your preferences and habits over time. They are always getting more intelligent.
To operate the assistants, all you need to do is say out their names, like ‘Hello Alexa,’ ‘Hey Google,’ or ‘OK, Siri.’ These assistants are capable of understanding naturally spoken language and accents. If your smart home appliances are connected to the assistants, you can control them via voice commands.
What Are The Best Smart Home Devices?
Now that you know the basics of intelligent home devices let us now see what devices you can purchase for your new smart home system.
If you want to live in a smart home, the lighting is the entry point. Most smart home lighting systems will work adequately without requiring a central hub and still connect with other intelligent home appliances. Some bulbs can be connected via your WiFi network, while others can be hooked up via Bluetooth. You can control these bulbs with the dedicated app via your phone or tablet. You can also use the app to program lighting schedules and scenes.
Investing in intelligent lighting can make your life much more comfortable. For instance, a motion-sensing light will turn on every time your security camera detects motion. Additionally, you can also customize the lighting to switch on and off when you are not at home, thereby fooling potential thieves into thinking that you are home.
You can also opt for smart light switches that can control the lighting of your home, even if you just have non-smart lights. If you buy color-changing bulbs, you can set the mood of your house. You can also buy dimmable bulbs that do not change color.
When you buy smart lighting systems, you save more time and energy than normal bulbs can achieve. Installing the right number and type of intelligent bulbs is very important if you want to improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Creating an intelligent home does not have to cost a fortune – smart plugs are the proof of that. Easy to adjust, these devices are affordable and can be used to upgrade commonly used devices like heating, lighting, etc. In short, they can convert any electronic device into an intelligent home device that can be controlled with your phone.
A smart plug is a device that plugs directly into a traditional wall outlet and transforms it into a smart one. In most cases, these devices have their corresponding app to control any devices plugged into them. For instance, if you plug your coffee maker into this smart plug, you can operate it from the comfort of your bed, or you can switch your slow cooker on and off while you are in your office.
If you want to build a smart home, then smart plugs are definitely worth the mention. Apart from controlling a wide range of devices that are plugged into them, you can save a substantial fortune on your power bills. However, you should note that you are not gaining or losing any outlets by using the smart plug. You are simply upgrading the existing outlet and making it smart.
One of the first things you need to consider when creating a smart home is looking for the best place for each intelligent plug. There are also types of smart plugs that have multiple outlets so that you can connect more than just one device. After you have installed the smart plug, you are one step closer to converting your home into a smart home.
There are many different features of a smart plug. Most of them offer the feature of scheduling. You can program the plug to turn on after connecting your coffee maker at night. Then, you can program the plug to switch on in the morning without even leaving the bed. Then, intelligent plugs also have an ‘Away’ mode to switch the lights on and off at regular intervals, thereby warding off robbers and intruders. With the help of a smart plug, you will also keep track of energy usage and save money by turning off unused devices.
One of the most significant ways to create an innovative home system is to look for a way to control the system. Earlier, you had to operate different devices via separate apps and constantly switching between them. Thanks to the development of smart speakers, like the Amazon Echo, you can now simply control these devices via your voice. These intelligent speakers serve as a makeshift control panel for your intelligent home.
These smart speakers are very important for any smart home automation system. They are definitely worth the cost. The market leaders in this niche are Apple HomePod, Amazon Echo, and Google Home.
The Apple HomePod is the best option because you will control almost all smart home devices via the iOS Home App. The Amazon Echo offers the broadest level of support for intelligent home devices. With these smart speakers, you will perform an array of devices like locking the smart locks for home, turning the lights on and off, etc.
Smart home technology can make your life more cost-effective, convenient, and easy if you have the right devices. The good thing about intelligent home technology is that you do not have to spend thousands of dollars to get them. You can easily purchase simple smart home devices and keep adding them up in the future. There are many smart home ideas that you can use.
What is your experience with this kind of technology? Let us know in the comments section!
Kevin is a content writer for about 3 years. He studied Design and Arts at College in Pennsylvania. A fan of home interior design and, he has taken it upon himself to spread his love for decorating homes by informing people on some of his ideas through his articles.