Whether you own or rent, the allure of the smart home is strong. Picture this: you can unlock your front door with your smartphone, step inside, and have the lights automatically brighten as you enter. You can even ask your virtual assistant to brew you a fresh cup of coffee. And when you’re away, a robot vacuum will keep your floors clean, while your smart thermostat regulates the temperature to save on energy costs. You can monitor everything from indoor security cameras to outdoor surveillance right from your phone.
No single solution can flawlessly automate your entire home, but installing and managing multiple smart devices is easier than ever. With a few off-the-shelf products, the smart home of your dreams can be a reality. Here’s how to get started.
How to Control Everything In Your Smart Home
Many smart home devices offer direct control via Wi-Fi and a companion mobile app. This means that you can choose a new product, connect it to your home Wi-Fi network, download the corresponding app, and you’re ready to go.
Some devices utilize generic wireless protocols like Zigbee and Z-Wave that help them communicate with a hub (Matter is an emerging smart home standard to keep an eye on, too). The benefit of using a hub is that it consolidates all your smart home products under one app. This eliminates the need for separate apps for your light bulbs and thermostat, simplifying control.
With so many devices and ecosystems to choose from, building a smart home can seem like a daunting task. However, breaking it down into smaller pieces can make the process more manageable. We recommend starting with one or two gadgets.
Voice Control: The Easy Place to Start
Voice assistants are an easy and popular way to control your connected devices. As long as they support voice control, you can use voice commands to operate lights, adjust the air conditioning, brew coffee, and much more.
A smart speaker is the simplest way to add voice control to your home, offering access to popular voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Assistant. Amazon provides the broadest selection with its Echo speakers, while Google offers Nest speakers, and Apple offers the HomePod mini. Third-party speakers with Alexa and Google Assistant support are also available.
You can link your smart home devices to these speakers, provided they support the corresponding voice assistant. This allows you to control various devices with voice commands, such as turning off all lights before bedtime.
If you want a voice assistant that also puts smart home control at your fingertips, consider a smart display. They function the same as smart speakers, with support for voice commands and the ability to play audio, but they also have a screen that gives you access to touch controls for different smart home devices. Some compatible home security cameras and video doorbells can even send their video feeds directly to the screen.
Apple doesn’t offer any smart displays, but Amazon Echo Show and Google Nest models come in various sizes suitable for different rooms of your home.
Use Smart Plugs to Automate Your Old Tech
Before investing in dedicated smart home products, remember that you can use smart plug to easily transform ordinary devices such as lamps, fans, and coffee makers into smart devices that you can control with you phone. Simply plug them into a wall outlet, download the app, and connect your non-smart device. Now, you can use a smart plug to add any functionality that isn’t already there—so you can’t make your white light bulbs change colors, for example. But you can get them to turn on an off at designated times.
Some smart plugs support voice commands and can track your power usage over time. Others have weather-resistant ratings, suitable for outdoor use on patios or decks. Most smart plugs can integrate with other smart devices, allowing actions like turning on lights when a security camera detects motion.
Switch Out Your Old Bulbs for Brighter Ones
Smart light bulbs allow you to control individual or groups of lights. You can adjust the color, color temperature, and brightness from your phone. You can even schedule them to turn on and off automatically based on various factors. The best part is that they are as easy to install as regular light bulbs.
If smart bulbs don’t appeal to you, consider smart wall switches. These devices help control existing light fixtures in your home. Keep in mind that installing smart wall switches involves working with high-voltage electrical wiring, so professional installation may be required.
Stay Comfortable With a Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats enable you to control your heating and air conditioning from your phone. They can automatically adjust the temperature based on factors like the time of day, your location, and the status of other connected devices. Some models even use remote room sensors for uniform heating and cooling throughout your home. While smart thermostats are generally easy to install, they do require working with low-voltage wiring.
Step Up Your Home Security
Smart locks allow you to lock and unlock your door remotely, and some offer voice control or fingerprint access. Smart doorbells provide video feeds of your front steps and allow two-way communication. Many pair with cameras, motion sensors, and recording capabilities. Some require wiring, while others are battery-powered for easy installation.
Indoor and outdoor security cameras capture video of motion and sound events. Some indoor cameras offer panoramic views, and most allow both local and cloud storage. Outdoor cameras are weather-resistant and some have built-in floodlights. Installation can involve wiring, but wireless options are available.
For comprehensive home security, consider a full home security system with door sensors, motion detectors, and a siren. DIY systems are easy to install and let you self-monitor via a mobile app. If an alarm triggers, you must contact emergency services yourself. Many DIY systems also offer no-contract professional monitoring services.
If you prefer professional installation, companies like ADT and Vivint can send installers to set up sensors and components. Keep in mind that these systems are often more expensive than DIY options.
Beyond the Back Door
The above categories are just the beginning. Dig deeper and you’ll find smart sprinkler systems for your lawn and robotic lawn mowers to maintain your grass. You can even program a smart grill to cook perfect barbecued dishes. Check out our coverage of the best outdoor smart home devices for more backyard-friendly tech.
Smart Homes Are Still Getting Smarter
Remember that while smart home devices can do a lot, they’re not always perfect. No one app can control everything, and not all devices seamlessly integrate. Focus on addressing specific needs and making your life more convenient rather than striving for a perfectly integrated system. With the right choices, a smart home can significantly enhance your daily life.
No matter which smart system you choose for your home, OKG Unihome offers the best customizable smart autogate design for homes in Kelantan. Our autogate system can be controlled via app or voice commands, providing security and convenience. Made from high-quality aluminum materials, it can withstand Kelantan’s harsh climate.
The AST Autogate is easy to install and comes with a smart app, ensuring functionality even during power outages. Enhance the security and curb appeal of your Kelantan home with the best autogate system on the market – AST Autogate.