Smart home is the most popular buzzword of this decade. Wondering what it means? In simple words, a smart home is a house automation system where certain features of your home are connected to the internet.
Can you imagine your lightbulb or fan turning on and off on your command ten years back? Probably no! Rest assured, this involves no ghosts roaming in your house. All it takes is the best home automation methods and techniques. You can even tune in your security cameras to show you live footage of your home any time of the day.
Speaking of security, you can even automate your home systems with voice commands to control all the sensors, cameras, doorbells, etc., using a simple mobile app.
You can practically control everything in your home with a simple tap and touch of your smartphone by instructing Alexa or Google Assistant. You no longer need to worry about keeping an eye out for your water heater or geyser being switched on for too long. Instruct your smart home to switch it off once the set thermostat is reached.
All in all, a smart home aims at making your life convenient, easier, and simpler. Do things while sitting on your couch or working on your laptop.
The million-dollar question here is that how can one automate their home to a smart home? Keep reading to find out everything necessary to know about the home automation system.
Introduction to a smart home
To sum it up in a nutshell, a smart home is a house that is powered by Wi-Fi devices. This means you will get the ability to control the appliances and features of your home using your smartphone apps.
At this age, most of the electronic home devices can be controlled via voice commands that you give to the smart assistants. Anyone can practically own a smart house automation, whether they live in a studio apartment or a big mansion. All you have to do is install automated devices.
There is no small or big smart home; a smart home is a smart home!
How do smart home devices connect?
There are multiple ways smart home devices can connect to the internet. Wi-Fi is the most common connection method here, but there are other sources of connectivity such as Bluetooth, landline backup, ZigBee, etc.
Wi-Fi, at times, is written as WiFi, is a wireless connection that connects any device to the internet for automation or browsing. It uses a specific radio frequency to connect to smart devices using mobile applications.
But it is important to keep the landline connection as a backup in case the Wi-Fi connection fails or malfunctions. Alternate or backup forms of connection are listed below for your ease. Keep reading.
Bluetooth is one of the most popular (and effective) short-distance wireless connectivity mediums. It is the one you use to connect your speakers or AirPods with. It is a wireless technology that uses special radio waves of a particular wavelength to form a connection.
You can use Bluetooth technology with speaker or stereo systems in your home or your car. Most of the headsets or earphone sets come equipped with Bluetooth technology.
Z-Wave is another wireless connection source that allows devices to connect through low-frequency radio waves. More than 30,000 product types use the Z-Wave wireless connection protocol. Hence, it is indeed quite a famous smart connection technology used for automated systems.
The next one is the ZigBee wireless connection that allows networks to interact using digital radio waves. It is much more affordable than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and it transmits data over short ranges using the least amount of power.
Another key benefit of using ZigBee is that it is highly secure. One of the most protected wireless connection options on the list. It systematically encrypts all the networks connected.
The cellular data
If your smartphone can use data, so can your home security system. You must keep all the backup options ready in case one connection source gives up. There are many security firms that do offer the option of cellular data as a backup connection option and home security installation services.
It involves a subscription that is either charged monthly or annually. You can even find this featured in the security alarm or the main station antenna.
The landline data
Do you still own and use a landline connection in your home? If you do, know that it is one of the hardcore and reliable backup plans. Yes, it is not wireless, but it is a backup that is always there and one you can easily rely on.
One major benefit of using the landline data is that the other party can easily identify your location if you call any emergency number. This is harder to do on cell phones that are connected to cellular data.
Even if you think that landlines are no longer required in a smartphone-powered world, but there is no harm in keeping your landline as a backup in case everything else gives up.
When you give voice commands to your smart device, the action is executed because of the voice assistants. These are assistants that act through artificial intelligence and are featured in all smart devices.
“Alexa! Turn on my lights”. Yes! You can ask Alexa to do anything for you. The same holds true for Apple’s famous Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. But Alexa is still the most famous assistant out there (this might change in the next couple of years, though!).
Regardless of the voice assistant you are using, you can command it to do anything with your smart devices simply through voice commands. Ask your assistants to dim the lights. Switch off the air conditioner, turn on the heater. Make these assistants do your chores while you sit back and relax.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the famous voice assistants.
Google smart assistant
Any Google device such as the Home Hub or the Nest Hub comes featured with the Google Assistant. Start any command with “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” and watch the assistant come to action. After Alexa, the Google Assistant is the most famous smart assistant out there for an automated home.
Apple’s forever famous and exclusive Siri
Siri is the exclusive smart assistant that is featured on all Apple devices. Not many home devices are compatible with Siri, but it works well with GPS, YouTube, and online searches on Apple handheld devices such as iPad or iPhone.
“Alexa! Go to sleep!”
Alexa is the most famous smart assistant out there. You would know this phrase very well “Alexa! Go to sleep!” if you own the Echo speakers. It is compatible with the greatest number of IoT devices and is highly user-friendly.
The last one on our list of smart assistants is the Microsoft Cortana. It is more of expertise offered to Microsoft users. You will hardly find any smart home devices powered by Microsoft Cortana, but they can be accessed on any Office software on laptops or phones. Yet this is an option out there that you must be aware of for home automation systems.
How do you come up with home automation and its routines?
The main aim behind automating any house is to connect all day-to-day features over a wireless connection for ultimate convenience and ease. You can either automate your devices or set up a routine. We will discuss both options ahead.
Routine is the method of grouping multiple devices so that they operate with only one command. Routines are also known as shortcuts or scenes by big security firms. The main benefit of doing this is you get to maneuver all the settings without manually going through them on your cell phone.
There are two ways to set up a routine or a scene for smart home automation:
It allows you to control every setting in your house through a single command. You can change the brightness and the color of your lightbulb at the same time using a single command.
You can take control of all the settings on many devices all at once. You can toggle with the brightness of the bulb, change the volume of the stereo system, adjust the air conditioner settings, etc., all at once with a single command for all devices.
There are different methods for changing and setting up the routines or scenes across multiple mobile phone apps, but the steps remain the following for all:
- Locate the exact settings on the mobile app where you can set up a routine.
- Now choose the device you wish to take control of.
- Change the settings as you like or desire.
- Come up with a unique and easily rememberable name for this particular routine. This will help you recognize the routine each time you wish to change it.
- Test this routine to see if it is working for you or not. If not, you can test another routine.
Automation is the method of establishing a cause-and-effect relationship in devices so that the device automatically creates a response when the stimulus or the conditions in the environment change.
The automation process is not easy to set up and requires extensive deliberation compared to setting up a routine. However, automation is the landmark of setting an automated home or a smart home.
If you set up an automated schedule, you can monitor your devices throughout the day and night. A good example is turning the lights or the HVAC system on and off according to your sleep and work schedule.
You can set up voice commands to start any established routine. You can use this to begin any device whenever required manually. If you want more light in the washroom, simply use your voice to command the app to do it for you.
You can set up the devices to give various responses to the changing stimuli in the environment. This is ideal for setting up security protocols with sensors to notify you whenever there is an unwanted intrusion or activity in the house.
You can also set up geofencing that responds to any stimuli or settings as your location changes as you move around. You can prep your home prior to arriving from work or after a long holiday.
Frequently asked questions
How much does it cost to set up a smart home?
Not every home is of the same size. Some are big, some are small, and some are studio apartments. Hence, the price of setting up a smart home will depend on the home size, map, and layout. Also, the type of devices you install will determine the cost. You can expect an expenditure of around $2000 to set up the entire thing.
How do I start a smart home?
The beginner’s way to set up a smart home is buying the basic components like sensors, smart light bulbs, security cameras, speakers, etc., right off the bat. After purchasing those, connect them all to a hub (YouTube videos will help). Then you’ll be able to control those with your smartphone or personal computer (there are controller applications).
Are smart homes safe?
Every home faces security challenges, even the smart home. However, smart homes are safer than the rest in many ways. While most devices aim to make your life easier, some can also provide smart home security and protection. It is always helpful and makes your home brighter.
What is a smart home package?
The high cost of this project is about $20,000 to fully automate every room in the house, including lights, blinds, locks, appliances, irrigation system, thermostat, hub, and four smart speakers. It also depends on your smart home project that how your smart home is digitalized.
Does a smart home save money?
Many smart home devices are designed to make your life easier by automating home processes and allowing you to control them via a phone app or even voice commands. These are all very helpful to save money than the other rest.
There you go…now you know the basic about the smart home system. Home automation can make your life more secure, easy, and productive. The good thing is you do not have to spend a lot to make your home smart as there are low-cost devices you can start with. Most important is to find the best suitable product for you. Once your home is secure, then add on more devices to make your life easier and comfortable.
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