So, you have heard about smart homes from your friends or on social media. You’ve seen vloggers, streamers, and YouTubers live in these. And you have been interested ever since.
However, you are afraid to go on the smart home waters because what you know about them is very limited. That is understandable, considering the number of options and jargon.
Smart homes can be confusing for newbies, but it’s not that hard to learn about them. With just a bit of research, you can get up to speed with what it’s all about.
This article presents you with a compilation of frequently asked questions about smart homes. Reading these will make informed decisions and start off smart home automation on the right foot.
First, What Is A Smart Home?
We must first clarify what qualifies as a smart home before proceeding with the questions. A smart home is a residential place outfitted with smart home devices (though you can also find smart home devices in business establishments.)
A smart home device is any home device or appliance that connects to the internet. Furthermore, they must allow users to remotely control, monitor, and access them using smartphones or mobile devices.
Smart home devices have many subcategories. That includes smart thermostats, smart speakers, smart displays, smart refrigerators, smart lighting, etc. Also, it could be entire parts of the house, as with the case of smart gardens, smart bathrooms, and smart kitchens.
In Which Part Of The House Should You Start?
As implied above, there are smart devices for all the rooms in your house. But where should you start if you are new to smart homes? The good news is that there are no set rules. You can start wherever you feel automation is needed.
If you like growing plants, you’d probably want to start by automating your garden. Smart sprinklers are always a good choice. You can set schedules for the sprinklers to turn on or off automatically. Others offer more sophisticated features. They can detect when a plant needs watering and apply just the right amount.
On the other hand, if your parcel keeps disappearing, you may want to start with security systems instead. A smart video doorbell will solve your problem because it will show you the culprit. On top of that, it comes with other awesome features like two-way audio and remote lock/unlock.
Of course, if you are a cook or chef, the kitchen is where you’d want to start. A smart refrigerator keeps an eye on the expiration dates of its contents. You can also see the inside of it while you’re at the grocery store. Thus, you can easily know what items to buy even if you did not check before leaving home.
You get the idea. Automate the part of your house where you spend most of your time or encounter problems first. Then, automate the rest of the house if you want to.
Do You Want to Automate the Entirety of Your House?
Buying and setting up your first smart home device is exciting. It may make you want to get another device to make your life more comfortable.
Here’s the thing. Brands have apps that you can use to control their devices. But one brand can’t give you all the devices you need in your house. So, you have to buy from another company. Needless to say, one brand’s app would not work with another brand’s devices. So, you need to install a new one. Navigating these separate apps can be quite cumbersome.
So, it’s worthwhile to invest in a smart home hub. It will allow you to easily integrate more than one device into your smart home ecosystem. For a simpler explanation, the hub will let you control all your smart home devices using a single interface or app.
It is highly recommended that you choose smart hubs that serve multiple wireless communication protocols. Samsung SmartThings and Wink are some examples.
Alternatively, you can use voice assistants like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. More and more devices now get support for voice control, so you can use these instead of hubs. However, bear in mind that voice assistants have limited compatibility because they do not serve multiple protocols.
What Communications Protocol Should You Use?
Smart homes work because smart devices talk to each other. Meaning they use communication protocols. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, and Z-Wave are some of the most popular home automation protocols.
You should think about which protocol to use because that will affect how you build your smart home. It will influence the compatibility and interoperability of your smart home ecosystem.
It is best to choose an easily interoperable protocol that’s also prevalent in many smart home devices. The Z-Wave protocol is great for smart homes with a mishmash of devices from different brands. That’s because Z-Wave certified products are guaranteed to work together. And there are more than 2400 Z-Wave certified products.
And maybe at the time you are reading this, Matter is already out. Google, Amazon, Samsung, and other companies worked together to make this standard. It is said to be the industry standard. Matter ensures that present and future devices would work together. Furthermore, it ensures smart home devices can work across different ecosystems.
Do You Need A Reliable Connection?
With smart homes, you can feed your dog even if you are currently sightseeing in Paris. You can also start cooling your home even if you haven’t arrived yet. That’s because you can control your devices using apps. Meaning you will need a solid Wi-Fi connection.
Suppose you have Wi-Fi dead zones in your home. You can use Wi-Fi extenders, but that’s so yesterday. Instead, it is highly recommended you opt for mesh Wi-Fi systems. That will ensure a strong connection throughout the house. The Samsung SmartThings Wi-Fi Mesh Router and Smart Hub is a great choice. This device simultaneously fills the role of a Wi-Fi mesh router and smart home hub.
And, of course, you need a reliable smartphone or tablet.
Congratulations! You reached the end of this guide. You can now start building your smart home.