You may have heard the terms “smart home,” “home automation,” and/or “smart technology” and been a little confused. However, this is an industry that is growing exponentially. Every month, more products are coming on the market that can help to simplify and automate your home life (and existing products are becoming more affordable). Sound interesting? Here’s a primer for those looking to make their home a little smarter.
What Is a Smart Home?
In short, a smart home is a home in which various systems are connected and easily controllable — either by the homeowner or through automation. One definition defines it as a home that has “appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio & video systems, security, and camera systems” that share a network. However, when you decide to start making your home smarter piece by piece, you should always consult an electrician. Your smart home isn’t going to be that smart if it’s not installed properly.
Why Make Your Home Smarter?
Think about the smart technology you already use in your daily life. The big one is your smartphone, which is something that you surely could not live without at this point. You may even have some experience with smart TVs and products you control via apps. The main draw of smart home technology is the same as these devices — to make your life easier and more efficient. As HowStuffWorks points out, smart homes are of special use to anyone with a disability, mobility issue, or for the elderly — but anyone can benefit from smart technology.
Another element to consider is energy. Smart home products are built to be as energy efficient as possible, and many of them actually improve the energy efficiency of other household appliances. This can lead to long-term savings as well as reduce your carbon footprint.
Some Smart Home Products to Consider
So, what’s out there? Here’s a smattering of smart home products that may interest you.
- A smart thermostat system. These work by controlling your HVAC system and maximizing efficiency, regulating temperature based on complex schedules to save energy costs. Check out some of the best on the market right now.
- Smart lighting. Smart light bulbs not only know when to come on and off, but they can also change color and tint based on the time of day to mimic sunrise and sunset. With smart LEDs, you may not have to buy another bulb for years.
- Smart locks. A traditional key and padlock are so last millennia. Smart locks come in all types, some allowing for keyless entry via a code, Bluetooth, smartphone apps, and even biometrics (fingerprints, face ID). The cool thing about smart locks is that many can be accessed remotely, meaning you can unlock the door for guests or your spouse.
- Smart outlets. By having outlets in your home that are controllable remotely, you can turn things on and off at will throughout your home.
- Smart hub/speaker. In terms of smart home tech, the one thing that’s hard to live without is a voice-controlled assistant. These will not only allow you to access your calendar, music, reminders, and internet search at all times, but these smart hubs can even sync with many of your other smart home devices.
Not every smart home device will make your life less complicated, but many of them will. When it comes to how smart to make your home, take a second and consider your daily life. What do you really need to be smart and/or automated? Once you have that figured out, you can begin to put together a smart home that works for you.
Photo via Unsplash