Smart Home For Beginners: 5 Must-Have Devices
Most of us already have heard of smart homes and know that it just means using internet-connected devices that help us in our daily life. While ten years ago smart homes were a concept of the future and something that only the wealthy can afford, today the globalization has brought us the potential to find cheap gadgets so we can convert our homes into smart homes.
When choosing the appliances for your smart home, it is important to ask yourself three important questions:
What areas of the house do you use the most?
What activities do you do more often?
Last, but not least, what is your budget?
Answering these questions will give you a hint of what type of gadgets will benefit you the most. The bigger the budget, the more appliances you can convert into smart devices, but even a small budget can get you far into the future of our homes. There are pros and cons in setting up the smart home devices yourself. Of course, the big plus in all DIY projects is the cost. The big minus, if you don’t know what you are doing, is that you can end up with a bunch of apps on your phone, and instead of making your life easier, it can get more complicated. Making a home smarter is not only about connecting a group of hi-tech devices in one home network, but it is also about making your life more comfortable, and that means setting up all your gadgets to work by tapping into one single app.
An important decision to make is which platform you are going to choose. Currently, there are three major platforms on the market – Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and the Apple Home.
There are five devices that every beginner in a smart-home building should start with:
SMART LIGHT BULBS
Bulbs are probably the cheapest gadgets for a smart home that you can start with. And they are the easiest to install. Smart bulbs are LED, which means that they consume less energy than regular incandescent light bulbs. Every manufacturer has different specifications, and every smart bulb can do various things, but most are similar by being able to change colors, adjust brightness, set up a time for them to turn on and off, and even track electricity usage. Despite the prices for a smart light bulb to be higher than the regular one, it will last longer, so regardless of the high initial investment, you do save money over time.
See who is at your door when you are not at home, answer the doorbell, and even let people in from a distance. Now, some skeptics are very much against the use of smart doorbell, but, like with every innovation, it takes time for humans to get used to it. That being said, the video doorbell can be a cheap gadget, but since this device can compromise your home’s security, it is highly recommended to invest in a good quality device that comes with its higher than the average price.
Why have the heat blasting when no one is at home on a cold winter day? At the same time, you don’t want to come back to a freezing home. The answer is smart thermostat. Before leaving your work desk, or on your way home, use the app to adjust the thermostat at home to a comfortable temperature, and you come back to a warm and cozy home. This is both convenient and saves you money. Through the app, you can review your energy usage and learn about the patterns on your energy bill. Smart thermostats can learn from your usage, and with time, and according to the settings, will start adjusting to your needs.
They turn regular devices into smart devices. This, along with the smart light bulbs, is the cheapest product that you can buy for a smart home. Again, there is a built-in WiFi system that allows you to connect an app with the smart plug and control the power of appliances that are plugged in. You can turn on and off devices with a tap on your phone screen without even being in the same room as the device itself. You can also set a schedule, so certain appliances turn on or off at a pre-programmed time.
The real magic in having a smart home is hidden in the virtual assistants. This is an AI technology that is built-in in smart speakers and placed in different places of the room. The smart speakers come in different shapes and colors, but the technology behind it is what makes it amazing. Powered by voice commands, the virtual assistant, if properly connected with your smart appliances’ apps, can replace any physical interaction with your phone. Ask for the weather; tell it to turn off the heat in the bedroom or to set up the lights to turn on at 7 am in the morning. No smart home is complete without a virtual assistant.