Make Your Home a Smart Home
Smart homes are becoming more and more popular. From smart thermostats that automatically adjust the temperature to video doorbells that show you who’s at your door, there are endless possibilities for creating your very own smart home.
Nearly everything in our homes, from lights to air conditioners can be connected to the internet and controlled remotely from your smartphone or voice activated through a smart speaker. But you’re bound to feel overwhelmed and confused by all the technologies available when you begin to create your smart home.
What are the best smart devices for beginners? Which smart assistant is the most preferable? And do smart speakers have the ability to listen in on private conversations? It can be confusing when you start searching for information about smart devices, and it all looks so expensive.
Smart devices were designed to make our lives more convenient. But that convenience comes with advanced technology and added cost, which is why we’re sharing the best way to begin your journey of creating a smart home.
Pick a Voice Assistant
Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are the most popular smart assistants out there. Both of these voice assistants are compatible with almost all available smart home devices. But be sure to check compatibility before making your purchase.
There are other voice assistants like Microsoft Cortana and Apple HomeKit. However, unless you are confidant with these voice assistants, we recommend choosing either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for simplicity and the best possible experience.
Overall, Google Assistant is perhaps the easiest to interact with, especially since Google is able to handle three commands at the same time. That being said, Alexa still wins the compatibility battle with being able to work with 85,000 devices; Google Assistant on the other hand is compatible with more than 30,000 devices.
Choose a Smart Speaker
Both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are accessible through their apps that can be downloaded onto your smartphones or tablets. We recommend that you invest in either of these smart speakers to enjoy total voice control over your newly established smart home.
Most smart speakers have built-in far-field microphones that allow it to be commanded from another room. Amazon Echo speakers are widely popular, the Echo (3rd Gen) provides amazing sound quality despite its size. You can purchase the Amazon Echo (third-gen) for $100 on Amazon.
If you’re into Google Assistant, then we recommend the Nest Mini, it’s a good starting point for beginners. The Mini is simple to set up, has a prompt response time, and automatically adjusts the speaker’s volume when the background is noisy. You can purchase the Nest Mini for $25 at FirstEnergy.
Smart plugs are perhaps the easiest smart home gadget to use. And this why smart plugs are the perfect first step for your smart home.
A smart plug’s purpose is to convert basic small electronics and appliances into devices that’ll allow you to control them remotely or through your smart assistant. The plug will be inserted into an electrical outlet and includes either one or two side or front facing outlets which you can control independently.
Some smart plugs such as the Currant Wi-Fi Smart Outlet can offer live energy monitoring, provide an on/off schedule depending on your usage, and more than one outlet on a single plug.
It’s important to consider the shape and size of the smart plug before you start your search. Bulky smart plugs may block a second wall outlet. You’ll want to research the pros and cons of any smart plug before purchasing.
While smart plugs can control lights such as your lamps, smart switches and smart bulbs are a better choice for light fixtures. Smart bulbs offer the benefit of simplicity for those of you who want to gradually ease your way into smart home lighting.
Smart bulbs are generally preferable for renters, or homeowners who’d rather not fiddle with any sort of electrical wires. All you have to do is screw in the smart bulb and follow the instructions on the app.
But having to replace every bulb in your home can be costly. For this reason, smart switches may be a better option. They allow for smart control of traditional bulbs. And while you won’t be able to enjoy the same features as a smart bulb, smart switches are easier to use.
Last but not least, if you’re considering converting all the lights in your home into smart ones, smart switches are definitely a more cost effective way to begin. Ultimately, your choice will depend on your specific needs and how much you will utilize the smart lighting.
Smart doorbell cameras have become immensely popular over the past few years, and in all honesty, they’re just a really smart addition to any smart home. Smart doorbells have a live video feed feature that covers a wide area outside of your home.
Most models include a two-way audio communication feature that allows you to verify your visitors. And if you’re not home, you can still access your smart doorbell features on the app from your smartphone.
However, it’s important to understand that some smart doorbells features can only be accessed if you subscribe to their plans. The majority of smart doorbells are compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. So all you really have to do is sync your smart speaker to your doorbell to make visitor announcements.
Future of Smart Homes
The future of smart homes seems to be bright with more and more people opting for smart gadgets and appliances for their homes. All smart products are always being refined and improved to keep up with technology. We hope this article will help you begin your smart home journey.