The intelligent technology that can make your house a “smart” place to call home.
Smart home technology has quickly become the new must-have trend for many homeowners. From small and simple to complex and sophisticated, there is an abundance of solutions to satisfy almost every need.
Unfortunately, in the rush to outfit our homes with the latest and greatest tech, many of us settle for a piecemeal conglomeration of devices that carry a collective intelligence best described as dim.
A truly automated home combines your mechanical, comfort, and media systems to create a fully integrated living environment. If you want a home with genius-level IQ, here are a few products and approaches to make it smarter.
Commit to a Single Interface
Smart home technology goes well beyond learning thermostats, WiFi outlets, remote use security systems, and digital assistants (DI) like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, or Google’s Assistant.
Linking a handful of these devices together is a good start for a basic smart home environment. However, if you are willing to make a more substantial investment, full integration should be your goal.
Complete automation controls all of your smart systems from a single source instead of multiple apps or remotes. Companies like Crestron or Savant can help provide solutions that connect your systems together into a single, highly customizable integration point.
If your needs are more modest, platforms like Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit or Google Home will do the job. With little hassle, these will provide full automation across most of your smart devices. Just make sure that whatever devices you employ are compatible with your platform of choice.
Utilize Complete Product Lines Where Possible
The best and worst thing about smart home technology is there is so much of it. While offering plenty of choices, it can be confusing working through all that’s available.
To streamline your research and purchasing efforts, build your smart environment using complete product lines. This will simplify integration, making your devices easier to control.
For entry level solutions, Nest Labs features products such as thermostats, security systems, and smoke and CO alarms. Insteon specializes in switches, plugs, and control devices.
Higher end smart devices incorporate more complex aspects of your home.
When released later this year, Kohler’s Konnect product line will introduce voice-activated technology for your bathroom and kitchen fixtures. Their smart Verdera Mirror, which is already available, integrates with Amazon’s Alexa DI.
Another provider, Lutron, offers full lighting and shading solutions for your entire home, controllable from wall mounted keypads or as part of a broader integration.
Reinforce Your WiFi
One thing we take for granted with a lot of today’s tech is that it's always online. Whether at work or using public WiFi, we can always find a spot to connect.
The same thing occurs in our homes too. Right?
Well, not always.
We forget as we add devices to our home’s network, it can reduce our WiFi’s reliability. One or two devices rarely present a problem. If you’re making a more significant investment, you need to ensure you’ve got the bandwidth to handle it.
If you have a larger home, you may face WiFi dead spots. Old school routers lose their effectiveness in homes exceeding 3,000 square feet or houses with basements or multiple stories. Mesh systems like Google WiFi, Netgear’s Orbi or the Eero Home System can ensure a reliable connection in every corner of your home.
Commit to Your Setup
A smart home is more than just a collection of cool, interconnected gadgets. It’s a means to make your life easier and your home a more comfortable place to live.
Even if you choose to start small, commit to the setup you ultimately want by having a larger plan in place. It will make it easier to expand your automation when new products or technologies become available, and ensure yours is always the smartest home on the block.