We may not have any flying cars yet in 2019, but we sure do have communicating devices that do exactly what we ask them to do. Walking into your kitchen and asking your coffee machine to prepare your morning coffee is no longer a science fiction scene. And while it’s still not as widely spread in every household, many people want the magic and luxury that a smart home can bring.
But as fancy as it looks, it’s not as simple as it sounds! Updating your house to that level of intelligence needs a tech-savvy to take care of the complicated electrical and electronic aspects of the job… right? Well, yes and no. We’ll take you into more details about everything you need to know about upgrading your house into a smart home, and then you’ll be able to decide on how to do just that.
Getting Started with Smart Homes: What Are Your Options?
When it comes to setting up a smart home, there are only two approaches you can take. You can learn the science behind how they work, the different devices and tools you’ll need to set it up and call upon your creative spirit to DIY your own smart home. The second option you have is to hire a professional to install a Crestron system, which is a fully integrated smart home system that offers complete control over your devices in one control panel. While the first option is intriguing, you may find yourself too overwhelmed with how to make it practical and easy to control. The second option presents you with a much more efficient, wholesome, and luxurious control, but you’ll need to discuss the finer details of the idea you have in mind for your home automation system before the installation.
Let’s get into more details regarding the two options.
Home Automation 101: Understanding How Smart Homes Work
Integrated Smart Home Systems
A fully integrated smart home system, like Crestron, provides you with complete control over all of your electrical devices. Depending on your routine and programmed settings, you can activate a morning routine with one press of a button on your control device. When you do that, your home automatically starts to shift the scene. The faint night lights go out, the curtains roll open, the relaxing music plays, and your coffee is on its way to be ready. Of course, you may have different preferences in mind, and that’s what the professionals are there for.
The installation company will discuss with you your different routines and translate them into programmed settings on your new smart home. With just one control panel, you’ll be able to control your lighting, shades, music, TVs, home temperature, irrigation system, and practically every other aspect of your smart home. This may sound like it’s a given in any smart home, but you’ll understand just how great these systems are when we get to the DIY way of automating your home.
DIY Smart Home Solutions
For those who love making their way themselves for the rewarding feeling of self-manufacture, there are many DIY solutions to up your smart home game. The whole idea is to make your devices able to communicate with one another, with a central node of communication that acts as the brains of the whole process. The devices communicate together, and with the brain, through a radio signal. Whenever you want a certain action to take place, you give out the order to the brain, which conveys it through radio signals to your smart devices, and then they take action. Your devices also keep on collecting and analyzing data from the background, so when they’re triggered to change according to the change in background, the same process occurs in reverse.
Smart Home Hubs
Remember the “brain” we were just talking about? In more technical terms, this is the hub into which you connect all of your devices. The hub acts as a central node, it also provides you with one place to control the different devices in your smart home. The catch is that there is more than one hub available in the market, and while that may seem like a good thing to have multiple options to choose from, it doesn’t always work that way.
The hub is used to connect different devices and make it easy for you to control them all at once, but not every smart device in the market will be compatible with the same hub. That’s why you’ll need to go the extra mile in making sure they’re all compatible with the system you’re using, otherwise you’ll be having many applications to control different devices, which can be troublesome and confusing.
Smart Home Voice Assistants
While the hubs act as the brains of the process, they usually don’t have any voice activation features. This is where a virtual assistant can come to play. Depending on your preferences for the system, you choose a hub and a virtual voice assistant that are compatible with each other, connect them, and then you can give out verbal orders to the hub – through the voice assistant.
With the brains of the process and your verbal commands ready to get working, this is where the real fun starts. The smart devices are the soldiers that carry out all of your orders, so you can get pretty creative in the way your smart home operates.
Smart Home Devices Category Breakdown
You can turn some devices into smart ones in your home, but to be able to call your whole home smart, you’ll need more than just one multi-colored light bulb. While technically you can turn any device into a communicating and smart piece, here are the main elements of most smart homes:
Smart devices communicate with each other, with the hub, and receive your commands through radio signals. These signals can be through Bluetooth, a mobile network, or a WiFi connection. But if you want to be able to control your home and receive updates even if you’re far away for work or vacation, then a good WiFi connection is a must.
Installing a hub will ease up some of the load off the WiFi broadband. But if you choose to connect your devices directly to the WiFi modem, you’ll probably need much more storage, but in the end, it all depends on the number of smart devices you’re controlling. In all cases, upping your broadband speed and coverage is essential to get your smart home running smoothly without any lags.
Anyone who gets fascinated with setting up a smart home usually starts with the lighting system. That’s no surprise because a smart lighting system can add a sense of luxurious magic in your home.
When you come home after a long day of work, you’ll find your home warming up to welcome you with the lighting colors of your choice. As you enter any room, the motion sensors will trigger the lights to go on, and you won’t have to worry about the light you’d forgotten to switch off when you left the room – the motion sensors will convey your absence and your electric bill won’t suffer. There’s also the option to set timers on the lights to turn on or off, or you can choose different settings from “energetic, romantic, work/study, or morning” routines to program your lighting system.
If you feel impressed with the idea of walking into a room that lights up in your welcome, wait till you hear the playlist you’ve been playing in the previous room come to life with the lights. A smart sound system is a whole-house audio system, where smart speakers in every room are connected to your device of control.
This multi-room speaker system can be connected to your phone playlist, or stream online from your favorite platform. No matter where you are in the house, you can enjoy a seamless music experience, all the while never missing a beat. The speakers can also be used in magnifying your favorite shows and TV marathon experience on your movie nights with family and friends.
Moving onto the spicy little details of your movie night, your smart home experience is just about to leave you breathless. Not only will you be able to turn on your smart TV with a voice command, but you’ll also be able to stream your favorite shows directly on your TV from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. When you pause on a screen and leave to a different media room, you’ll be able to pick up right where you started on the next TV. You can even add in an extra touch in your smart home system, so whenever you start playing your media your lighting settings will change accordingly.
Whether it’s your morning routine, your night after a long day of work, your dance session or your movie night, the setting just won’t be right if the temperature is off. But that’s not something you have to worry about, because a smart thermostat will study your habits and routine patterns, and make sure the temperature is exactly how you want it to be. It’ll learn when to turn on your AC, or heat the room in winter. It’s also motion-smart, meaning you’ll enjoy the right temperature in whichever room you’re in, without having to worry about the bill counting up the HVAC system usage in the other rooms.
Not everything about home automation comes down to luxury alone, the supreme security that these systems provide may be exactly what you’ve been looking for your whole life. Your home security will be sure to bulletproof through installing smart cameras, whether indoor, outdoor, or both.
Indoor cameras will provide you with insight to everything going on in your home while you’re away, so you don’t have to overthink about your child being home alone. Outdoor cameras will keep track of every visitor, delivery, or intruder. They will also allow you to take different actions when you’re away, perhaps grant access to the visitor, allowing the delivery guy to leave your parcel in a safe place, or capture the picture of the intruder to take further action.
Even if you’re very careful with safety measures, sometimes the worst happens. A properly-equipped smart home will come to your aid in these situations. Through installing smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, you’ll be able to pin down the exact location of the smoke. If you’re away from home, you’ll still be able to take action once you get the smoke detectors alarm text. Some smart detectors will even light your exit way in the middle of the smoke, as they have built-in emergency lights that will lead the way.
Appliances & Accessories
The extent of your how smart your home can be is only limited by your creativity (and budget, definitely). But when played right, you can turn any device in your smart. You can order your coffee machine to make your coffee, and the irrigation system to keep your lawn healthy and green without wasting any excess water. A smart leak detection system can give alerts immediately, and a smart cleaning robot can kiss your vacuum cleaner goodbye. The list of smart appliances are endless, from smart refrigerators, washing machines, door locks, and garage door openers, fans, and even pet feeders
Setting Up Your Smart Home
Forget having a robot that does all of your chores. With a smart home, you’ll have every inch of your home at the command of your fingertip- or your voice. Setting up a completely automated home can be somewhat daunting, but there are professional companies you can hire to do the perfect job for you. Depending on your preferences, you’ll have the magical lighting and music settings that fit your taste perfectly. Streaming your favorite shows at any screen will always start from right where you left off, all while enjoying the comfort of the adequate temperature. Whether it’s security or safety, you won’t have to worry anymore. Whatever your wishes, you can turn any device into your faithful servant in your new smart home!