Are you looking to modernize your house and bring it into the twenty-first century in a way that will increase its value and improve your home’s energy efficiency?
You might want to consider installing a smart home. This is a great way to stay in touch with your loved ones, and have all the utilities in one place that is easy to follow.
By 2020, approximately 37% of homes in the United States had been upgraded to smart homes. This is significant because it shows us that smart home devices are on the rise, with more and more people using new technology to make their lives easier.
Within the media and film industry, smart homes are often depicted as futuristic, silver-colored robotics with binary codes and mechanic butlers. This isn’t quite the case here, and we should keep initial thoughts away from the forefront before trying this new way of living.
The soul focus of smart homes is convenience, safety, and efficiency. Rather than sci-fi robots or devices that tune into our deepest wishes before we have a chance to vocalize them, updating your home controls is an effective way to check all of your utilities.
Put simply, smart homes have been created with the consumer in mind, and are aimed at making life more straightforward and convenient.
Let’s forget about any stigmas that you might have, and focus on how much time you could save by installing a smart home.
Some benefits of smart homes are long-term. That means that there is a level of investment required in order to start seeing money saved, improved home efficiency, and less time spent organizing utilities. Because of this, reasons, why someone might not consider installing a smart home into their house, are usually financially related.
Initially, there are significant installation costs and a smart home is only really suitable for those who have sufficient funds available.
Although money can’t buy happiness, it can buy safety and security. These are valuable benefits of smart homes and if you’re looking for a new home-based project, this could be the one for you.
From the research stage to implementation, your tech-savvy friends are sure to be jealous of this installation.
Other concerns about smart homes include the fact that a reliable internet connection is required. However, most things in the modern world need internet connectivity, and it is unclear whether this is a genuine issue or a concern for power outages.
If you live in a place where this is common, it is recommended that you install a backup generator in order to keep your home working correctly.
Another concern is that it can be easy to lock yourself out of your own house, this is possible but highly rare.
An additional feature of smart homes is a checker which will ensure that you have your keys every time you leave the house.
What Is A Smart Home?
Put simply, smart homes are homes that are equipped with lighting, heating, and electronic devices that can be controlled remotely using a single device, such as a smartphone or main control hub within the home.
The main use of smart homes is automation. When someone is heading home from a long day, they can turn on the lights before getting back, or heat a specific room.
Smaller things like setting the mood by closing the curtains, or playing some music go a long way in making your house feel cozy, inviting, and warm.
Devices in a smart home are interconnected, through the internet. If you have a smart home speaker, you can find specific lightbulbs which connect to it and begin using smart home devices soon.
Additionally, more fundamental features involve smart thermostats which connect to your phone and can be pre-programmed to your preferred home temperatures.
Smart doorbells are another useful feature that uses cameras and microphones to establish home security.
Controls such as door locks can also be updated in order to create secure access and maintain safety. The importance of home safety is a concern for many users, and part of the appeal is the ease of control across the home.
With the use of doorbells and locks, users are able to answer the door and choose who they can invite in as well as deter unwanted visitors, even while being away from the house. Home safety has never been so accessible and easy to control.
How Smart Homes Work?
Some people might argue that smart home is the result of over-marketing and that the same products are being advertised for double the price of ordinary ones. However, that isn’t the case here.
Smart Hue light bulbs create a warmth that is completely customizable, not to mention the ability to access everything within one central point.
Using the internet, smart home devices are connected to each other and can be displayed on a central hub within the home, like the TV or a home monitor.
Alternatively, there are apps available for your smartphone that are easy to follow and offer a great way to display all the controls of your home in one place.
From heating to double-checking that the doors have been locked, smart homes have something for everyone and the configuration is completely customizable depending on your needs.
It is also possible to program the heating settings from within certain smart home apps to adjust heating settings based on outside variables.
For example, if there is an especially chilly day in the middle of spring, you can play with the settings to heat your home.
Another great feature is that users are able to turn heating off if they don’t need or want it on a specific day. This allows you to save money and energy while being able to monitor external factors.
If you want, it’s easy to control your home settings using smart speakers. You can find speakers which have wider compatibility than your average device, to avoid future conflicts when connecting everything.
However, a great way to start is to focus on one feature such as home security and install a smart doorbell or corresponding device. You can use voice commands, or stick to apps for ease of access.
The Benefits Of Owning A Smart Home
Of course, a smart home adds to the modern world and makes your house feel futuristic and complex. However, some of the more fundamental features have additional benefits such as energy efficiency, costs, and safety.
Through simplifying life, smart homes enable us to focus on the things that really matter to us without worrying about little details, such as home controls.
Technology has the added advantage of improving productivity because it means we can create an environment where we are the most comfortable and relaxed so that we can focus on what we need to without distractions. It is easy and convenient to control lights, TV, and music.
Household tasks and entertainment alike were at the forefront of designers’ minds when developing smart homes.
Elderly & Vulnerable Family
Smart home devices have been beneficial to people needing additional assistance in their daily lives because they are able to check in without leaving the house.
The role of this is large, as medically vulnerable people, or those who are considered disabled, may not want to risk exposing themselves to injury, or illness by going outside.
It is also an effective way to check in with a loved one without them knowing because it is easy to program an alarm if they are seen to collapse, or fall.
This is a great way to provide elderly family members with the independence that they need while ensuring their safety and having access to emergency contacts and procedures if needed.
Turn lights on when you aren’t there or on vacation so that it looks like you’re in. The technology can be used to monitor your home or even loved ones, as well as remotely locking mechanisms.
Theft protection and home security are some priorities of smart home users.
Lower Energy Costs
In the long term, smart home technology enables you to save money on energy bills. More detailed insight into your home’s energy consumption and closer monitoring can show you areas that your home might not be functioning as efficiently as it could.
By focusing on this, and customizing when things are used, it’s likely that you will notice your bills decreasing as you will only be using as much energy as you need.
Smart homes can pinpoint areas where you might be losing energy, allowing you to economize and save money by only using as much as you need.
For example, smart thermostats automatically adjust to the exterior temperature and will heat or cool your home according to your preferences.
Some questions asked about smart homes express valid concerns regarding overall costs, internet reliance, and home security.
At first, there are significant installation costs, but this is only something to consider if your budget is tight. The more important thing to consider is that you will begin saving money within the first few months of smart home use.
The technology is designed with control in mind, and a common scenario is about how easy it is to lock yourself out of your house. This is a valid concern, although there are reminders in place which can be programmed to check that you have your keys.
Through an internet connection, it is also possible to gain access as the main user using your phone. You won’t always need your keys in the future.
How To Set Up A Smart Home?
Here are some items that you need to set up a smart home. Remember that this is a comprehensive guide, and you don’t need everything in place to call your house a smart home. These are simply suggestions for where to start based on your concerns, and focal areas.
This is usually an entry point for those looking to update their home systems. It’s also a great place to start playing around with the mood of certain rooms and changing colors or dimness settings throughout the day.
A benefit of smart lighting is that you don’t need a central hub in order to control it, you can simply use an app on your phone, or even program it with your smart home speaker.
For this reason, smart lighting is used by many modern Americans, and simple features such as turning the lights on in the front room while you’re on vacation is an effective way to deter unwanted guests and intruders.
Smart lights are able to interact with other smart home devices, which is another great reason why so many people are focusing on lighting as a stepping stone into the world of smart home devices.
Another key part of smart homes is the ease of control of heating your home, which can begin to save you money in the long run.
Although this is typically the most expensive installation cost, the integration of a smart thermostat will add value to your home by bringing it to the modern age.
Smart thermostats are effective for programming which rooms you occupy the most and adjusting the HVAC systems accordingly.
Another great thing about this system is that you can connect speakers, and program them so that your home isn’t using energy when you’re away to heat a space that you aren’t going to be in.
Devices can work together to save money. Through incorporating cameras or even working via your phone’s location, smart thermostats can detect when you’re home and will therefore save on heating. Not only is this better for your bank account, but smart thermostats are also kinder to the environment.
The idea of optimizing home heating and cooling is groundbreaking when it comes to environmental impact. Reducing the average home’s fossil fuel consumption as well as emission is the way forward and an effective way to ensure everyone does their bit to protect the planet.
Home security cameras
An effective way to establish security within your home is through incorporating home security cameras. The most common use of this is to keep an eye on your home, or even pets, when you are away.
Outdoor models are effective at catching prowlers in the act before breaking and entering.
Indoor models are perfect for monitoring children playing in another room, or even catching troublemakers in the act.
Locks are another way in which you can add security to your home. Through working with cameras, doorbells, and microphones, locks are effective at protecting your most valuable possessions. Some even allow you to lock and unlock doors from your phone.
However, there have been reports of hacking into smart home locks, so make sure to do thorough research before installing these.
Another concern is that they are often easy to remove using a screwdriver. Change the deadbolt before installing new locks because this is often why they can be so easy to take.
Doorbells and cameras
With home security in mind, many people opt to upgrade their doorbell first. Some models include a speaker, which you can use from your phone to interact with visitors without being at home.
This is also great to incorporate with smart lighting, to make it look like someone is home and deter unwanted guests. (1)
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Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Another way in which you can achieve safety within the home is by updating your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
Smart detectors will sound local alarms, send a notification to your phone, and anyone else that you authorize as a contact, if danger is detected.
This is another great feature for anyone elderly or vulnerable, because you will have peace of mind knowing that they are covered, and that you will be contacted in an emergency.
Smart Home Tips
You might be wondering how to get used to all of this futuristic technology, and how it seems a little too much. That’s why we have some useful tips to keep in mind before taking the leap.
Remember that smart home devices are designed with you in mind, and the novelty is that you can integrate as much, or as little, into your home as you wish.
The completely customizable nature of smart home technology is part of the appeal to many who are already using devices for convenience and ease within the home.
Get used to voice control
Although this might seem slightly unnatural at first, voice controls are the fastest, most efficient way to manage everything.
If this is a particular challenge for you, you could try introducing a smart speaker in the kitchen, and talk to it a little when you are preparing dinner.
This is a great way to integrate voice controls into your life and appreciate that the technology has been developed for our use.
The role of voice control is huge because smart home speakers can be used as a central hub for most settings and can also be a more affordable way of keeping everything in check.
Research to find the most widely compatible devices
Brands have hopped on this trend to develop their own, slightly different designs that aren’t compatible with all kinds of devices. This is a big drawback for home technology because you don’t want to spend a lot of money on something that won’t link up to another.
For example, if you want to connect apple smart home devices, you will be limited to the range of devices that you can link. They will all have to be within the apple family, thus encouraging you to support their brand.
In terms of marketing, this is a great way of integrating a brand into a home, however as customers, it’s something to be mindful of.
Research is key, and it’s essential that you read reviews and ratings as well as product descriptions carefully.
Customer reviews tend to be the most brutally honest and are a great way to get insight into how effective a product is. A good thing to research first is hub compatibility because you don’t want to end up with a hub that will only work with one range of devices.
Find dead spots
Of course, one of the main concerns of smart homes is the reliance on internet connection. There are many sites where you can check the strength of your home’s WiFi signal, and offer useful tips on how to improve it.
If you work from home or have a computer set up, you could try connecting it using an Ethernet cable for a stronger and faster signal.
You can use a WiFi analysis app to find dead spots. This helps decide where you might want to move the router to or even help you consider purchasing an extension.
If your internet provider is less reliable, it might be time to consider switching because so many of our devices rely on WiFi nowadays.
The Future Of Smart Homes
One of the questions regarding smart homes is the effect it will have on the future, and whether this is simply the latest fad that will soon die out or not.
The fact of the matter is that a great deal of research is currently being done into how smart homes can be made even more efficient and streamlining a lot of the issues.
Some teething errors are being ironed out, including issues faced with smart locks and internet security, including hacking. This is a concern of many Americans, and it is one of the largest reasons why people are put off smart devices.
By 2022, it is predicted that 63 Million American homes will be ‘smart’. More and more areas of our lives are becoming automated and enabling us more time to focus on what really matters to us.
Artificial intelligence is always improving, and home software will soon be able to learn about our preferences, routines, and dislikes.
From having a pot of coffee ready in the morning to heating the shower to a refreshing 103 degrees, it is no wonder why so many people are in awe of modern technology and science. The modern world is always evolving and if we want to survive, it seems like we are going to do the same.
Butler-like assistance and automated robot vacuum cleaners are truly impressive and work of art designed by human hands. The capabilities of the human brain are largely undiscovered, and the standard exceeds expectations every day.
Some might argue that science has gone too far, and that some things are better to not be automated. Although this view isn’t the majority, it remains a valid concern.
In regard to Sci-Fi and dystopian depictions, it is unclear whether this is the case. Because the portrayal of automated assistants tends to be negative within the media, it’s unclear how to know when we have peaked technologically.
However, appeal to humans and ease of access is something that is regularly taken into consideration during product development and the design process.
We have trust in engineers and scientists to bring our homes into the twenty-first century, through making accessible changes for convenience and modern habits.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
We’ve answered some frequently asked questions to make your research a little easier and see if smart home devices are useful for you. Accessibility is a big concern that has been outlined below.
Why should I want a smart home?
The short answer is convenience. Smart homes make everything within the home easier to access, and viewing across platforms has never been easier.
Your home will be more efficient in energy usage, as well as saving you money. Connecting to security devices makes your home safer, and you will be adding value to your house.
How reliable is home automation?
With many Americans already reaping the benefits of home automation, companies have outlined issues with more complex devices.
The fundamental pieces are extremely reliable, but some bugs are currently being fixed. Make sure to do your research thoroughly before switching up your whole routine.
Does home automation work for businesses?
Yes, smart devices are great within a business and can help economize outgoing costs as well as provide entertainment for employees through sound systems.
Security, conference systems, smart TVs are all perfect for businesses and can make presentations a more immersive experience.
What is a hub?
This is a small device plugged into your internet router that essentially works as the brains behind your smart home. Hubs connect devices to each other, and the internet to optimize settings based on your preferences.
An advantage of these devices is that it is easier to connect multiple smart home devices to each other, for example turning the lights on and playing background music at 6 pm every day.
Do I need special wiring?
The majority of devices can be plugged in normally, but if you’re wanting to go a step further and change your thermostat, you might need to contact an electrician.
However, there are devices available that don’t involve wiring and minimal hole drilling to prevent any disturbances to your home. The amount of maintenance that you might need to do to bring your home into the modern age largely depends on the quality of your house and when it was built.
To conclude, smart homes are fascinating concepts that are no longer a thing of science fiction. The film industry has played a monumental role in how we use and integrate modern technology into our lives. The primary focus of devices that are widely used today is convenience and maximized efficiency.
Developers and engineers are always working hard and striving towards the next breakthrough for smart home devices in order to make our lives easier and provide more time for us to focus on what really matters.
Robotics has come a long way from the popular depictions we see in movies and TV shows, so the dystopian stigma of power struggles should also be a thing of the past.
Although so many people are beginning to integrate smart technology into their routines, others are concerned about their safety and data. There have been reports of internet hacking, and an issue with having more and more information available online is too much accessibility.
Privacy is definitely a focus for software companies and, among other issues and concerns, is at the forefront. The user is always the priority, which is why these problems are currently being ironed out through rigorous research, testing, and programming.
As always, make sure that you carry out your own research before purchasing a smart home device. It’s also important to read customer reviews because they tend to be the most brutally honest. It is really up to you to decide how much of your home you want to digitize.
Whether you want to have the shower at the right temperature in the morning or turn the lights on before you get back at night, the role of automation in our lives has never been more prominent.
If you struggle with establishing routines, want to integrate healthier choices into your day, or simply wake up on time, smart home devices are also perfect for helping you reinforce habits and maintaining your routine even on days when you might not want to.
If you live alone, a smart home speaker can provide you with some company. This is another reason why smart home devices are great for older people who might want someone to talk to.
A unique appeal of smart home cameras and smoke detectors is the added independence that elderly people can achieve while knowing that they are safe.
Should any emergency occur, they know that appropriate authorities will be contacted as well as you as a family member or loved one if you are the main administrator on their system.
The completely customizable nature of smart homes is a big part of the appeal to users who might not want to completely update their home, or even might not have the budget to just yet.