You know that the future has arrived whenever we begin discussing things like smart homes. Who would’ve ever thought that so many ordinary objects and devices around us would eventually think for themselves?
But alas, such a moment has arrived.
The notion of a smart home – one where many of its electronic devices are controlled by voice commands or remotely by apps – was conceived in science fiction writers’ minds.
Many of us witnessed such things on episodes of the Jetsons, but that day has now arrived. And believe it or not, there are very affordable options out there for you and me.
Smart home elements
To maximize your smart home experience, three such elements will be needed. Let’s talk a look:
- Smart home devices.
- Digital voice hubs or assistants.
- Apps that work with laptops, tablets, or smartphones –through online connections.
While a smart home can operate without these three elements, the entire system will be diminished. It would mean that all your devices would work independently and possibly interfere with one another, creating inefficiencies.
Some people out there do not see the value of having a smart home device perform a medial task – like turning on the lights, but the same was once said for TV remotes when they first came out. Appreciating the orchestration of a working smart home is about seeing the big picture.
As smart home devices continue to expand their range of functionality, more and more consumers will begin seeing their value.
Range of smart home devices
Commonly called the Internet of Things (IoT), smart home technology has extended into a wide variety of devices and functions. Gradually, these functions have grown from the “that’s cool!” stage into the extremely useful stage. Think about coffee pots that start brewing ten minutes before your wake up or the slow cooking with a meal waiting for you in the evening after work.
Here are some standard devices:
Smart lighting systems
These setups include smart light bulbs and a connection through your Wi-Fi router. Several individual lights are controllable with apps, digital voice assistants, or even remote controls.
A creative person can use groups of lights for various artistic effects. Several smart light apps provide a multitude of settings that provide your lighting system with ultimate control and flexibility.
Smart home devices can now employ many methods of wireless communications. Because of this, homeowners have access to many apps and always have the latest tech abilities at their fingertips.
Several connection types are available as well. While Wi-Fi is the most common, there’s also Aigbee, Bluetooth, and Z-Wave available on many systems as well.
Here’s a way for smart home technology to pay for itself over time. Heating and cooling systems can be managed through your smart home ensemble. From a distance, you can adjust the thermostat in your home.
Whenever a cold front or heatwave strikes unexpectedly when you’re away, you can easily make adjustments on the fly through your smart home app. Just think of how much money you will save.
Smart security systems
Security is another excellent example of where remote control of your smart home is beneficial. For less than $100, a homeowner can install a few wireless cameras around their house’s exterior for surveillance.
With a simple Internet connection, a homeowner can instantly get a live view of the premises around their home.
Did you ever worry about forgetting to lock your front door having driving several hundred miles away? You can put that thought away for good with smart locks.
From a remote location, you will be able to lock or unlock your house instantly. Suppose a neighbor or relative needs access into your home while you are away – not a problem, unlock it for them. How cool is that?
We touched on cameras earlier while discussing security systems. But we can also use cameras to monitor other rooms while we are at home.
For instance, we can monitor our young children or infants as they play or nap. We can also check out who’s knocking on our door before opening it for someone suspicious. Smart cameras will make our homes and lives much safer.
Smart plugs and sockets
One way to convert older homes into smarter ones is by using smart plugs and sockets. While an older home may not have the electronics installed, some plugins and sockets are smart home capable.
You install these wherever you choose and then communicate with that smart plug or socket through your apps or device. It then provides power to whatever is plugged into it.
Robotic cleaners and lawnmowers
We’ve all seen the newest robotic vacuum cleaners. This concept can also be applied to lawnmowers as well. Imagine having a robot mow your grass. This type of activity is becoming more commonplace with smart homes.
As you can see, more and more smart home devices are becoming available. If this sort of thing feels scary or intimidating, keep in mind that there are different automation levels. For instance, you can always tell your robot vacuum cleaner when to clean or tell your lighting system when to turn it on from a remote location. This approach lets you maintain a certain level of control.
The important message here is to keep an open mind. At some point, home technology will appeal to everyone. That’s been its history all along.