The Ultimate Guide to Smart Homes

Making Sense of the Smart Home

Simply put, smart homes are automated homes. A home automation system will control lighting, climate, entertainment systems, and appliances. It may also include home security such as access control and alarm systems.

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Imagine a life where everything in your home is automated, from the doorbell to the fridge, the light bulbs, security cameras, voice assistance, and just about any home gadget. Life can only get better—and smarter!

With a smart home, all you need is internet connectivity and a smartphone or dedicated remote. With them, you have the privilege to take charge of any device that is interconnected in your home. In the broadest sense, everything connected to the internet, but also objects that “talk” to each other—from simple sensors to smartphones and home security, thermostats, lighting, and much more.

And forget about hardwired systems. Most devices rely on the magic wireless connectivity, and that is what gets the sages behind most excited. So, how does a smart home hub work?

In most smart homes, devices in your home are interconnected and can be accessed via one central point such as a smartphone, a tablet, laptop, or even a game console. Instead of the inconvenience of controlling home appliances using different devices, you have the convenience of using a single device. All you need is to choose a home automation system and connect it to any of the aforementioned devices. From your device, you can manage your door locks, home monitors, electrical outlets, refrigerator, and other appliances remotely. You can create convenient schedules or ‘scenes’ when certain changes can take effect—like dimming the lights or playing music.

Once connected, smart home appliances form part of an Internet of Things (IoT), a network of physical objects that have the capability to gather and share electronic information. Fortunately, smart home appliances are equipped with self-learning skills that enable them to learn the homeowner’s schedules and adjust accordingly. While you may opt for hardwired systems, wireless systems are much easier, cheaper to install, and are ultimately very cost-friendly.

Smart Lighting

Smart bulbs use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and a variety of wireless technologies to work, so they are more expensive than traditional bulbs. Different bulbs make use of different approaches to get the job done. It may be built-in Wi-Fi radios that directly connect with your router, which will enable you to remotely control them as long as you have an internet connection. Others may utilize Bluetooth technology to connect directly with your phone as long as you’re within 50 feet of the bulb.

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If you want to control these bulbs while further away, you’ll require a hub so that signals can be relayed to your router and then to you through the cloud. The good news is that, with the increased number of offerings from players large and small, smart bulbs have become pretty affordable. With our smart home lighting guide, we’ll help you invest in affordable smart outlets and smart light switches. Once smart lighting is enabled, you’ll cut costs on electricity.

Smart Home Security

Security is one of the key drivers of smart homes. Home security systems operate on the principle of securing entry points such as garage doors, windows, and gates. They also secure interior space where valuables are stored. Irrespective of your home size or the number of crucial security points that you need to protect, the only difference lies in how many security components are deployed in the home and under the monitor of the control panel. Such components include a control panel, sensors, security cameras, and sirens or alarms. Besides, certain security devices, when automated, can detect any motion within the home when the homeowner is away and immediately alert them. Others will even contact the authorities such as the police or the fire department when danger is imminent.

Smart Speakers & Displays

A smart speaker is a type of speaker and voice command device with an integrated virtual assistant that offers interactive actions and hands-free activation with the help of one “hot phrase”. For instance, Amazon’s assistant is called Alexa. She responds to questions about a variety of subjects. Once the virtual assistant understands your command and recognizes your voice, you’re good to go.

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Apart from the virtual assistant, a smart speaker also features other ‘skills’  such as turning on lights or adjusting the thermostat using a simple voice command. Most virtual assistants can even learn your accent and vocabulary over time to become more efficient. Now you know!

Smart Thermostats

Heating your home uses more energy and costs more money than any other system in your home—typically making up about 42% of your utility bill. Want to save on this cost? The remedy lies in a smart thermostat. With one, you can control your home’s temperature remotely using a mobile phone or other internet-connected device. It’s not only convenient but also gives you greater control over your heating and cooling—ultimately saving on your energy.

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A smart thermostat has three components. The first directly plugs into your HVAC system and then communicates with thermostat control, which is the second component. The third component is the smart thermostat app installed on your phone or other devices. With this technology, you can control your home temperature from any location as long as there is an internet connection. In advanced thermostats, there are more features such as smart learning models that make programming of the thermostat unnecessary. The thermostat can track your smartphone or adjust temperatures as you get home.

Smart Video Doorbell

A smart video doorbell is an outdoor camera mounted on or near your front door. It can be powered by a battery or hardwired into an already existing doorbell and chime. What makes video doorbells so valuable are their capabilities—and how they work. First, they generally feature a high-definition 1080p camera, a buzzer, and two-way audio. All of these features connect to your smartphone or another smart device via a smart app.

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That means you’ll get a notice on your mobile app when someone pushes the doorbell. A notice will also reach you as soon as the camera detects movement or a person. Interested? Here’s what to look for in a smart video doorbell.

Smart Multi-Room Audio Systems

It is amazing how multi-room audio, in a very short span of time, has transited from a costly fantasy to an affordable reality for just about anyone. With a multi-room smart system, the inconvenience of installing wires or complicated control systems in order to get your favorite melodies across rooms is a thing of the past. By the touch of a button or the sound of your voice, your favorite melodies will flood your entire home.

With the multi-room audio system app on your phone, all you need are several wireless speakers that will communicate with one another. These wireless speakers will be controlled from your phone, tablet, or computer. The beauty of it all is that you can play a single track in all the rooms, or different tunes in different rooms. The choice is yours!

Smart Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors

Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors do not just sound the alarm; they also alert your smartphone, tablet, or computer—wherever you are. Using your home’s Wi-Fi, the alarms can talk to one another and synchronize to alert you if there is a gas leak or fire.

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You can also control it from your device through an app, so you can silence the alarm or get notifications on your phone. In case of danger, the alarm goes off, and you will receive an audio alert and details of the problem, whether it is a fire or carbon monoxide, including the severity of the smoke.

Wi-Fi Body Composition Smart Scales

A smart scale doesn’t look different from a traditional bathroom scale. But unlike a conventional scale, it can measure several metrics crucial to your health, store them, and share them with other connected devices like fitness trackers. While doing so, the scale delivers a broader, easy-to-use health management system.  Buying one could be a smart decision for you and your family’s health. Before you do that, you need to know what to look for in a Wi-Fi smart scale.

Are You Ready To Start?

So, is smart home technology worth it? Believe it, a smart home hub always pays off in due course despite the technology and installation price. It adds value to your home, especially when you’re considering resale, and saves a lot on energy.

Whether you want to want to complete your technology-laden dream home or start your smart home journey, we’ve created a guide to walk you through the intricacies of the three main smart home ecosystems—Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit.

At WirelessWizard, we aspire to optimize every aspect of your wireless life. With our smart home buying guide, we will help improve your home value.

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