People who hear about smart homes for the first time probably don’t know much about smart home devices or where to begin. Here is what they should know about smart home devices.
What are smart home devices?
Smart home devices are things such as sensors and gadgets that are connected to the Internet of things (IoT) and can be remotely accessed, controlled and monitored. Their purpose is home automation.
Users can decide how they want to control their smart home devices. The choice is between voice control, a smartphone app, a mini remote and sensors.
Many householders control their smart homes using voice commands from various voice assistants. Amazon Alexa is now built into some devices and can communicate with a wide range of smart home devices and appliances. Alexa makes it easy for users to control their homes with voice commands.
Google Assistant provides dominance in searches with better accuracy than Alexa and Siri. For example, August and Nest work with Google Assistant.
Siri is for Apple converts. More than 50 global brands are compatible with Siri. Users can control their home’s temperature or lights with their iPhone or Mac.
Types of smart home devices
There are many smart home devices that control almost every area of life inside the home.
Smart speakers are very popular because they provide the convenience of playing music. They also double-up as digital assistants (they work with Alexa) to control streaming and other compatible devices.
Smart lighting comes in many forms. It can be as simple as a plug-and-light smart bulb. It can also take charge of all lighting in the house using simple voice commands. It can mean automated switching on and off of lights by sensing the presence of a person which saves a lot of energy and money. Outside lighting can also be controlled as required. Users can also dim the lights if they don’t want bright lights in the evening. There is a lot that people can do with smart lighting.
Smart locks provide keyless entry and exit, which is great for kids who usually forget their keys. They can be automated to lock automatically a few moments after the owner leaves, and unlock when he returns but will not unlock for strangers. The best thing about smart locks and home alarm monitoring is that the owner can remotely open the house for visitors and service providers. Smart locks can make use of WiFi or Z-Wave or Bluetooth to connect with other smart devices such as lights and heating. The legendary August slots over existing hardware but other smart locks need a deadbolt replacement, which is easy to achieve.
Installing a smart thermostat can improve energy-efficiency and minimize energy wastage on heating or cooling empty rooms. A homeowner out of town can remotely control the temperature in certain rooms for the sake of plants and pets. Many gadgets exist such as Nest Learning which is now in its third generation and growing stronger. Ecobee SmartThermostat has an Alexa speaker built-in, so homeowners can do much more than change the temperature.
Robot vacuum cleaners are replacing time-consuming vacuuming or at the very least minimizing the need to vacuum frequently. Eufy RoboVac 11S, for example, will navigate the home without getting stuck and will clean carpet and hard floors. The Roomba is also great and both can be controlled through the smartphone. The batteries need to be recharged after 60 to 90 minutes before the vacuum cleaners go back to their work.
Smart security cameras
Security cameras have been in homes for quite some time but now smart security cameras are taking over. They can be programmed to tune out false triggers or to alert authorities when there is a genuine breach of security. Households can choose from Nest Cam, Arlo Pro 2, Eufy Cam E that work seamlessly with other smart devices.
Blinds and curtains are not just for privacy. They also control room temperature by allowing or blocking the sun. Energy can be saved by letting in the sun during the day in winter to warm up the room. Blinds and curtains also add a layer of security because when they are open people assume someone is home. When the owners are away on vacation, they can remotely open the blinds in the morning and close them in the evening through their smartphones.
Smart home hubs
Homeowners who want a full, interconnected smart home will most likely need a smart hub. A smart hub enables smart devices that don’t speak the same language to communicate with each other.
Smart devices are cool, but they’re also making lives easier, more efficient, and they’re saving people money. More information is available here.