You can make your home a little more livable—and a lot more automated—by adding appliances and devices you can control from anywhere.
Why going “smart” is a smart idea
We’ve all heard the term “smart home,” but what does it actually mean? According to Mark Spates, Senior Product Manager and Smart Speaker Product Lead at Google Nest, what gives a home smart status is technology—specifically its connectivity and automation that stems from ambient computing.
The Smart Home. It’s a place that anticipates your needs and empowers you to fine-tune your environment.
“We think of a smart home as one where technology saves you time, gives you peace of mind, and helps simplify routine tasks,” adds Nathan Smith, director, smart home at Amazon.
You can pick smart home devices that best fit your home and lifestyle—whether that’s a smart doorbell that lets you know the kids are home safe from school or a smart vacuum that lets you clean without leaving the couch.
Before you start shopping for devices, decide which ecosystem works best for you. There are three main ones: Google Nest, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit. If your home is filled with iPhones, iPads, and Macs, the latter is the obvious choice, but if you have an Android phone, you may prefer Google’s Nest platform. Third-party devices usually offer support for multiple standards, but things will run more smoothly if you pick one main ecosystem.
From there you can add devices, such as smart lights, plugs, thermostats, sprinklers. “The sky really is the limit in creating a helpful home,” he says.
Voice match technology helps smart speakers recognize household members, then personalize answers accordingly. Other features show you your spoken commands (so you know Google heard you correctly) or deftly walk you through a recipe from popular cooking websites.
This hub also works seamlessly with Google-supported smart home cameras and video doorbells to display their camera feeds onscreen.
Are you ready to start?
According to TechHive.com They’ve listed smart home components roughly in the order they think most people will go about installing them, but there is no hard and fast rule.
If you think installing a smart smoke detector is a higher priority than smart lighting, go for it!
If you think you might want to invest in a smart home hub that will pull all these components together under a single user interface, just make sure all the bits and pieces you buy will work with one of the most common hubs: Hubitat Elevation supports the most third-party general-purpose smart home products.
Other powerful systems, such as Ring Alarm, are more focused on the security aspect of the smart home and have more limited third-party support.
When in doubt, check the hub manufacturers’ websites to verify which devices each one works with. Including such compatibility in your buying criteria today will maximize the value of your initial smart home investments down the road.
Depending on the platform you’re using, you can group rooms, create subsets of devices within rooms, or group devices across multiple rooms by creating custom groups, zones, or rooms. It’s worth taking some time to think about this, as it gives you much greater control and flexibility for voice commands and for setting up automation or routines.