Smart home technology seems to be gaining steam everywhere at the moment, with 53.1 percent of Americans set to incorporate these devices by 2022. The Internet of Things (IoT) is allowing us to have more control over our homes, streamlining everyday tasks so we can have more time to focus on what’s important. If you are one of those who still remain unconvinced, or you are completely on board but don’t know where to start, read on for our beginner’s guide to smart homes.
Smart home is a catch-all term to describe a house that has smart technology. This includes any device that is connected to the Internet and, as such, can be controlled remotely using an app. Many smart gadgets are also voice-activated, allowing hands-free use at any time, typically using the Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, or Google Assistant technology.
Usually, the technology in a smart home is interconnected and managed using a smart home hub. This is a device that allows you to control all your smart tech in one place without having to use different apps or devices to control each individual element.
Usually, the main thing you will gain is convenience. Smart technology allows you to interact with various elements of your home remotely, connecting the space you live in with the technology you carry around with you at all times. You might, for example, start your robot vacuum when you are away or turn your AC up or down before you arrive home after work. Other benefits include energy conservation, security, support for vulnerable people, and saving money in the long run.
How Do I Start?
Don’t rush out and buy the first smart home hub you see on the shelves. One of the biggest mistakes made by homeowners is that they skip over the research phase. Getting smart home technology is an investment, and you should look into exactly which options work best for your home and family.
What Kinds of Devices Are There?
Almost everything in the home has either already been made smart or is in the process of being made smart. However, particularly popular types of devices include:
Lighting – Integrated, energy-efficient lighting systems that use voice activation or motion sensor technology to give you full control of the ambiance of each room. Start with one bulb and slowly build your way up.
Entertainment – Smart TVs and speakers are probably most people’s first steps into smart tech, using voice activation and internet connectivity for seamless entertainment.
Security – App-enabled locks, remotely viewed camera systems, and other innovations to keep your home secure while you are away. Find the best one for your family using this buyer’s guide from the The Wire Cutter. Many security systems providers also offer smart tech with their equipment packages.
Chores – Automated irrigation for your garden, phone-controlled laundry cycles, and gadgets that can order your groceries for you.
Of course, smart technology is a rapidly evolving genre, so the future may look very different. Forbes has some interesting predictions by experts on the future of smart tech in our homes. Becoming familiar with where the industry is heading will allow you to make future-proof choices and avoid gimmicks that will quickly become obsolete.
People have been discussing what the home of the future is going to look like for over a century, and it seems like we now have a better idea. It’s not robot maids and flying cars, but smaller technologies that interlink to create a convenient and streamlined approach to home management. It’s less flashy, but it’s by no means less exciting.
Lisa Walker is a proud SAHM (Stay at Home Mom). She enjoys trail hiking and beach-combing with her husband Jake when not busy with her boys and home improvement projects. She created Neighborhood Sprout as a passion project to share her love of homeownership with others.