As each year brings a new wave of tech trends and innovations, it might be hard to stay abreast of them all. But some innovations appear to be so game-changing that you can hardly escape learning about them each time you listen to a podcast, read a newsletter, or spend time watching videos on YouTube. A telling example of such innovation is smart homes – one of the biggest obsessions of tech professionals in 2017.
To understand how smart homes work, you should be familiar with the Internet of Things (or IoT as most of the people call it). The idea behind the IoT is that all the devices can be connected to the Internet and with one another. When I say ‘all the devices’ I mean not only your laptop, tablet, and Apple watch, but also speakers, lights, cameras, window blinds, etc.
Thanks to the IoT, each and every item in your home can potentially take your voice commands and respond to them. Let’s say you want the lights off and your favorite song on. If you live in a regular home, you’d need to walk around your home to switch off the lights, and then find and turn on your song manually. In the case of a smart home, you’d only need a simple voice command or one push of a button.
How Do Smart Homes Work?
Just a short while ago, smart homes were considered something too futuristic and crazy to be true. Today, however, people no longer freak out over the thought of automated homes, but rather want to understand how does the entire smart home system work.
Cutting a long story short, virtually any electronic device at your home can be connected to your home network and respond to your commands. You can control your devices via voice commands, remote control devices, and even smartphone or tablet.
Although it’s been said that any device that uses electricity can be potentially put on a home network, in nearly all the cases smart home applications relate to home security, thermostat regulation, lighting, and entertainment. So basically, today’s home automation is meant to keep you safe and comfortable and happy.
The way smart homes work is not a rocket science, but it’s still hard to put this technology into simple words. Generally speaking, there should be a central control system and a purpose-built home network making it possible for different parts of a home to connect and communicate with each other. There should also be timers and sensors to determine your current location, your trajectory of movement, etc. No matter how smart your home is, it will need some equipment to detect when you’re back from work and it’s time to switch on the lights and warm up the living room.
How to Make Your Home Smart?
If you’re new to the world of smart homes and home automation, you are likely to believe that smart homes are expensive and extremely rare. In fact, it’s only partially true. While it will surely cost you a fortune to build a smart home from the ground up, making your current home smarter is something that can be done relatively fast and on a budget. Turns out, a number of smart home devices might be enough to turn your current home into a smart one. But which devices to choose? Let’s figure it out.
Basic Smart Plugs
Smart Plugs is one of the easiest, cheapest, and fastest ways to make your home smarter. Armed with only one smart plug, you can connect your lamp to the smart switch, plug this switch into the wall, and start to control your lamp via a smartphone.
Smart Lights & Light Switches
There are two major benefits of using smart lights. The first one is that you can control your lighting remotely and even set schedules for when lights should turn on and off. The second one is that smart lights can lower your energy consumption and… energy bills. Think of it: all smart lights are LEDs and they switch on only when you need them.
Speaking of smart light switches, they are exactly what they sound like. A smart light switch works as any other switch but can be controlled remotely via your smartphone or any other smart home device. The best part is that smart home switches won’t cost you a fortune. In fact, their prices range between $30 and $169 per item.
Smart Locks & Video Doorbells
Most of us love to be home because it feels safe. However, home safety is not something that happens by default, and it usually takes some money and effort to protect your home from break-ins. Thanks to Smart Locks and Video Doorbells, home security rises to a new level.
With smart locks, it becomes possible to issue temporary passes to particular people and see who’ve been using your door throughout the day. Not even to mention smart locks make it possible to lock and unlock your doors with a single voice command or a press of a button. Speaking of video doorbells, they remove all the guesswork when someone wants to come in. With a video doorbell, you can see who’s waiting at your doorstep from the comfort of your smartphone or tablet.
Yet another advancement that makes your stay at home as safe and secure as possible is smart smoke detectors. While regular smoke detectors are only effective when you’re home, smart ones can alert you via your smartphone wherever you are.
One more device you should consider making a part of your upgraded home is a smart thermostat. Armed with this technological miracle, you’ll never again have to wait for half an hour until your home gets warmer on a winter night. Due to smart thermostats, you can set the temperature in your apartment remotely while driving back home and enjoy a perfect temperature upon your arrival. What’s more, you can link your smart thermostats to motion sensors to make sure you’re only paying for heating or cooling when you need a certain room to be heated or cooled down.
If you’re a part of Apple army, you won’t need us to explain how cool smart speakers are (the company presented their first smart speakers earlier this year, and it was huge). Apart from playing music, smart speakers can listen to your commands, tell you the most recent news out there, and even order you a Lyft. It’s safe to say that smart speakers are the brain of your home. They can talk to you, listen to you, and adjust their volume when you’re moving from one room to another.
For the Finals
Living in 2017 is cool if you’re not afraid of things that are new. Recent technological advancements can grow our experience beyond what was previously possible even when we’re staying at home. Be ahead of the game, and get yourself some of the devices from the list. Smart homes will soon become the new norm, so don’t miss your chance to be a pioneer.
Mariia serves as editor-in-chief and writer for the Rentberry and Landlord Tips blogs. She covers topics such as landlord-tenant laws, tips and advice for renters, investment opportunities in various cities, and more. She holds a master’s degree in strategic management, and you can find her articles in such publications as Yahoo! Finance, Forbes, Benzinga, and RealEstateAgent.