A significant aspect of modern homes today include home automation and a variety of “smart” technologies. However, not everyone can afford these types of homes. Although you may not currently live in a modern home, there are a number of ways you can upgrade your house and make it “smart.”
Traditional lighting and light bulbs only offer you the simple action of turning a switch on and off while smart light systems come with a variety of options that you can customize to fit your habits and needs. Most smart lights are controlled through a smartphone app, where you can control the brightness, color and even time it to match your schedule. A great example and perhaps one of the most popular options on the market is the Philips Hue, which also lets you sync up to your music, television and video games in order to immerse you in the media.
Perhaps the smart gadget best known to pay for themselves is the smart thermostat. By learning your habits and adjusting accordingly, smart thermostats can save a significant amount on your utility bills. If you’re on vacation and don’t need your home to be warmed or cooled, it can be turned off completely and if you forget to adjust the temperature when you leave for work, you can simply open up the smartphone app and complete this task remotely.
A smart hub acts as a gateway for your other smart home devices. It can be controlled from your smartphone and you can use it to control every other supported smart device in your home. They can make things incredibly convenient and there are a vast array of different platforms, apps, and hardware vendors for you to choose from to suit your needs. One of the newest hubs include the Amazon Echo, which offers you convenience and efficiency even from a different room. With the voice-controlled AI, Alexa, you can order a pizza, add items to your grocery list and start playing music without ever having to pick up your phone.
Having smart cameras in and/or around your house not only offer convenience but can be a vital part of your home security system. With smart cameras synced up to your phone, you can keep an eye on your house while you’re away, check back on clips from any timestamp and get alerts on your smartphone app if your cameras catch anything suspicious.
Synced up with a camera, smart doorbells allow you to see who is at your door when someone rings your doorbell. Models like the Skybell Video Doorbell allow you to snap a picture when your doorbell is rung and activate when it detects any motion. Like smart cameras, you can look back at clips on the mobile app on-demand. Additionally, many versions offer two-way audio, night vision and can sync up to your smart hub.
If you’ve ever ran out the door in a hurry and forgotten whether or not you locked the door, a smart lock may ease your worries. With a smart lock, you can lock or unlock your door from anywhere in the world and not have to fumble through your bag or pockets for your keys. Some even keep track of who enters and leaves your home, allows you to grant and refuse access to anyone you choose.
Many smart TVs come bundled with streaming content services, such as Netflix and Hulu and have native apps that allow you to surf the web, connect to social media and listen to music. Smart TVs connect to your internet so you can stream virtually anything and run a variety of entertainment apps and casual games. Some television sets come with a camera or have an optional add on camera accessory and can allow you to access to video-calling services, like Skype.
Upgrading your home and making it “smart” doesn’t have to be complicated or even require a huge upheaval. Many of the gadgets and systems mentioned previously can easily be installed and allow you the immediate benefits of home automation. Create a smart home system that works best with you and your home by choosing any combination of smart home technologies.
About the Author
Maricel Tabalba is a freelance writer who is interested in writing about smart gadgets, emerging tech trends and environmentally friendly advice. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago.