Have you ever imagined waking up in the morning, listening to your favorite songs streaming through speakers in the ceiling? The blinds start to open slowly revealing the morning sun.
Touch that single button and the lights through your hallway are turned on. By the time you slowly walks to your kitchen, your TV is casting your favorite morning news program. How cool is that?
As you rush out for work, look back while everything powers of – The lights, The TV, Conditioners, audio, and the doors are being locked up automatically. Even your thermostat dials up to its power saving mode.
Sounds like the ultimate luxury? But really, having a home automation system nowadays is a very affordable reality. It’s easy especially if you start small and build little by little.
It can not only make life much easier but can help you save time and money.
Control and convenience is the first thing to keep in mind when you are about to design your smart home. You can control everything in real time, either from an app in your smartphone or tablet or with the help of a voice-controlled smart assistant.
When it comes to automation, depending upon your routines or when the sensors are getting triggered certain actions can be set up.
The idea is that your home starts knowing you and works automatically without needing your input.
What are smart gadgets?
Almost everything in your home – including air conditioners, lights, garage doors, and thermostats can be interconnected with the help of internet and can be remotely operated with a mobile device.
First, choose your Smart Assistant.
Virtual home assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant can make it more convenient by just speaking commands like “Alexa, turn on the lights “.
Each of these devices has its own specifications, so choose the right one that will meet your needs.
Isn’t it tiring? Rushing to turn off the lights and lock up the doors when you are already late for work.
Almost all the devices/appliances that we use daily can be remotely accessed and operated with these smart assistants, thus making your home more secure and convenient.
Making your devices smart can make your life much easier and save you a lot of money.
Are you tied up with an inconveniently located switch.?
Upgrading your appliances to smart gadgets can make your life much simpler.
Your smart assistant will read some data from your actions and from the sensor triggers.
This data is used by the smart assistant and actions such as dimming your room lights, adjusting the thermostats etc.. are done by the assistants automatically.
However, designing your so-called smart home can be mind-boggling.
Always, the better is to start small.
Here’s a quick guide for you to go through different smart gadgets that’ll design your future home.
1) Smart Assistant
Start with your voice controlled smart assistant. The smart assistant will serve as your smart homes command center. Smart Assistants of different forms are available in the markets.
Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant are the commonly used Assistants.
They can be operated by simple voice commands like “ Siri, Turn off my bedroom lights. “
Let’s go through some specifications of these Smart Devices.
- Amazon’s Alexa - Alexa offers about 10,000 skills and other third-party capabilities making it the most broadly supported smart home hub. Buying an Amazon Echo product will be your best bet if you want to quickly get started with your smart home. Echo products are easy to set up and plug in anywhere you want to summon Alexa. Echo Dot, the smaller speaker at $50 is one of the cheapest smart home controllers in the market. The smartphone app for setting up Echo works with both Apple and Android. A major disadvantage with Alexa is that you can’t trigger it by speaking to the smartphone, you have to speak it to the speaker itself.
- Apple’s Siri - With privacy as the primary factor, Apple worked directly with the home accessory makers to ensure that the data shared with the devices are secure and encrypted. The integration with Apple’s home kit and it’s mobile devices make it much easier to set up and work with Siri. Smart home appliances supporting Siri are less available in the market due to Apple’s strong privacy requirements. Siri is only exclusive for Apple products.
- Google Assistant - Google’s Home speaker and Assistant are compatible with all new versions of Android. Google Assistant is generally smarter than Alexa and Siri in terms of artificial intelligence. It is generally powered by the brain of Google search, means you can ask a broader array of questions and you are more likely to get the correct response. However, there are far home appliances that support Alexa than Google Assistant.
2) Smart Lights
* A wide variety of smart bulbs are available in the market. Smart lights can help you save energy, make your home secure, turn your basic lights to a dimmer or help you from an inconveniently located switch.
* A small hub plugged into the wall connected to your router via ethernet can hold up to 50 bulbs.
* While choosing your smart bulb, make sure you’re checking the details if the brand is compatible with your smart assistant.
* Take a look on to the size of the bulb you are replacing, so you get the right one.
* Hue Philips is a popular product in the market that offers starter kits(bulbs and hub). It is compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, and also offers the ones which can change the color that suits your mood.
3) Smart Plugs
* A smart plug can make almost anything smarter. It is a simple adapter that changes your ordinary appliances to smart appliances.
* The smart plug uses WiFi to give you control to the device from anywhere via an app.
* An important fact is that some appliances need to be “dumb” to operate with a smart plug.
* That is, certain appliances need to be turned on and let the smart plug control its power.
* For example, you’ve to leave a coffee maker turned on and let the smart plug control its power according to the user’s commands.
4) Smart Thermostats
* The main advantage in using smart thermostats is that it can detect when you aren’t home and can automatically turn off the home heating and air conditioning systems to preserve energy. Smart thermostats connect to the Wi-Fi and hence they can be controlled using with a smartphone or virtual assistant.
* Integrating a smart thermostat with your virtual assistant will help adjust the temperature just by speaking voice commands.
5) Smart TV’s
* How about waking up in the morning and by the time you walks to the kitchen your TV starts streaming your favorite news channel? Isn’t it wonderful?
* However, most of the new TV’s claims to be smart TV’s in some way or another.
* No matter how stupid the built-in smart features are.
* Nowadays almost all the new TV’s comes equipped with an ethernet port and built-in WiFi support. So they should be able to connect from anywhere in your house.
* Upgrading your TV to a smart TV and integrating it with your assistant can make help you control your TV from anywhere in the house.
* The Assistant will automatically turn off the TV when you are off to work.
6) Smart Security Cameras
* When you are on the move to set up your smart home. Smart security cameras are one of the key components. Especially when 52% of all the residential burglaries take place during the day when nobody is home, cameras are the best way to catch burglaries.
* With so much to choose from, Smart security cameras are available with a wide variety of features. Motion detection, Wi-Fi capability, Night vision etc offers high security to our personal spaces. The cameras can be integrated with the personal assistants and can be used for complete automation like remotely controlling the lights, enable door locks etc..
* Security cameras are available in a wide variety of variants classifying them into indoor cameras or outdoor cameras.
7) Smart Smoke/Fire Alarms
* As the colder winter months approach, we usually plan to spend more time inside by the kitchen or cooking things in the kitchen. It’s very important to have an efficient smoke and fire detector in the house. The loud alarm will help you and your loved ones to be aware of any dangerous situations.
* New smart smoke sensors go a step further, as they can send an alert to your smartphone if they sense something unusual. If you are away or at work, you can call your neighbors or fire department to check on your house to see if everything is OK.
8) Smart Door Cams/Bells
* Knock, knock. Who’s there?
* If you have installed a smart doorbell, you already know!
* Smart doorbells nowadays offer high security and convenience. Variants come with everything from live video streaming to Wi-Fi enabled apps, two-way communication, and home automation compatibility.
* Installing a smart doorbell can make your home safer and eliminate the risk associated with opening the door for strangers.
9) Smart Cooking – Perfect Bake Pro
Most of us struggle to figure out what recipes we can use with the food items we have in our home. This smart device enables you to input what food items we have and also autoscale the recipes for the number of people or even amount of ingredients you have( ie, “an only half cup of chocolate chips”). You can even generate a shopping list from recipes you want to make. Best of all, the smart bowl tells you the measure of ingredients you pour into it, it’ll tell you when to stop pouring.
10) Smart Coffee Maker
* Truly, there is nothing better than a perfect cup of coffee in the morning. But most of the time, it is hard for us to get out of bed and make that perfect cup. Regular coffee makers of different variants are available in the market, though what about a coffee maker that you can control from your phone?
* Smart coffee makers allow you to control the timing of your perfect cup of coffee with a timer through your smartphone. That is, you can set up the coffee maker set to have a hot cup of coffee right when you wake up.