Smart home ideas are becoming the newest hobby for nerds who love gadgets. This article is for people living in “conventional” homes and would now like to upgrade smartly. A smart home doesn’t mean during an upgrade, you throw out all your favorite appliances like your Bluetooth speaker and replace them with new ones. Buying a diverse set of gadgets with each having its software requirements, UIs, and hardware specs can lead to a gooey mess. It’s easy to get lost, not knowing where and how you want to start.
The popular smart home automation plans are:
- upgrade security systems with a smart door lock managed by a phone app remotely or with biometrics.
- have smart lights turn on in the living room when you walk into the home.
- have a smart plug power up a robot vacuum your home when you are away.
- a smart thermostat to automatically adjust heating and cooling based on when you will be at home.
- turn on/off smart light bulbs on the porch at prefixed timings.
- have your coffee ready by the time you wake up, an alarm goes off, etc.
The possibilities are limitless. An important aspect to remember there is no single solution (not yet) that can integrate all of these on one platform. Amazon, Apple & Google are taking steps in this direction, but it’s still early days. For a start, most smart homes are managed through cellphone apps or computer or voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Siri.
Here are five tips as you embark on this journey of smart enabling your home:
Take stock of your tech-savviness
Some of these smart devices need basic configuration knowledge, hooking up to wireless networks, optimal placements. User manuals of most smart home devices are not the best, and finding Tech Support is not always easy or is expensive. Staying grounded on how much technology you can digest will help you make the right choices.
Plan your budget
With endless possibilities of blowing away dollars, determine how much you plan to spend on this. Not all devices come cheap since you are dealing with cutting technology appliances, and there could be a chance that you want to replace an entire unit like a water heater or refrigerator. Smart Homes are a “lifestyle” choice originating from adding convenience to life. You will want to prioritize this spending accordingly – though some of these may directly correlate to good ROI over a period of time.
Figure out your priorities
What works for a friend may not mean it’s the best thing for you. Evaluate your lifestyle and priorities to figure out the right smart home solutions for you. For example, a music enthusiast might choose smart speakers to manage his music devices by voice and schedule his playlist based on the day’s time. And a work-at-home mother may want smart security cameras in the baby’s play area.
Do extensive research on smart home ideas
Depending on the solution choices you make, it is good to do extensive research online or through friends and personal networks on what you should purchase. Some of these devices have snazzy brochures but may not have a good history or user reviews. Some products may have unique pre-requisites that don’t fit in with other appliances you already have at home. For example, if you recently invested in an automated garage door opener solution, you may need to look for devices that can integrate with it.
Start small and take baby steps
If this is what you want to do and have plans to go down this path, start with small & easy steps. Look around what you already have at home to upgrade. Voice command assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Home are the most popular starting points, and they have their ecosystem of devices like Amazon Echo. Each has its pros and cons – as stated in the previous point, do your research and thoroughly check what works best for you. Basics like music, lock your door, and lighting is the easy one to deal with.
Ignoring these new ways of living will really mean you will miss out on the positive changes technology can make. The advantages of leveraging these technologies apart from huge convenience are saving energy bills, increased home security, a better life for home appliances, and direct $$ savings over time. The only must-have requirement to start the smart home adventure is a strong Wi-fi network connection that works well across your home. You may find this article useful on this topic. As you experience the benefits and initial novelty around home automation or an upgraded smart home, the bug hits you to identify more cases to enable intelligent options.
What are your smart home ideas to begin with? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.