Just a few years ago, smart homes were a thing of science fiction movies and books, but that is no longer the case. In fact, you might already have some devices in your home that can be controlled remotely, as well as the means to control them in your pocket. We’re going to take a look at what you can do with smart devices in your home and what precautions you should take to make sure that you are being smart about your smart home.
One thing to note is that while there are other companies out on the market, the majority of all smart homes are controlled by either Google or Amazon Alexa. (We do not endorse either of these companies, and the links are not affiliate links.)
These two companies just offer so much flexibility in the types of devices that you can utilize and how you can control them that it is difficult for a contender to have a chance. Of course, if you choose to use only components from a single manufacturer for all aspects of your smart home, you might not need to use those two services, and there is also the option of having several different apps for different appliances, but as you can imagine, this will not be very convenient.
Who Do You Want To Use?
This should be the first question to ask yourself before you embark on your journey toward a smart home. While there are many similarities between how you interact with Google and Alexa, there are also some significant differences, so you should do your research before you settle for one or the other. There are also some devices that work with one of the systems but not the other, so if you have already invested in a smart device, you should make sure that it works with the service you want to use. Since a fully equipped smart home can be very expensive, more research is better. Once you have picked a system, you are better off sticking with it, since the switch can be expensive as well as confusing.
How Much Control Do You Want?
When it comes to what you want to control in your home, the sky really is your limit. It is easy to think of the basics, such as environmental controls, entertainment systems, and security, but a smart home can go much further than that.
You could have a smart fridge that lets you know what you are running out of and automatically add it to your shopping list.
You could have a smart vacuum that you can program to run when you are out of the house and then lets you know when it is time to empty out the dust.
You could even have smart blinds that will move up and down depending on how much sunlight you want.
In the end, it is up to you how much automation you want, and how much you are willing to pay for it.
What About Security?
Well, this is the question that might have held back many from taking the plunge into having a smart home, and it doesn’t help that there are a few technical aspects to having a smart home that can be tricky to get right.
We’ve all heard the horror stories about how parents have found their nanny-cams taken over by a hacker who is now speaking with their children. While these are extreme cases, we won’t tell you that it couldn’t happen to you, but it is very unlikely.
The large majority of smart home users do not experience anything like that, but the media does blow events like those out of proportion. There are, however, a few things that every smart homeowner should keep in mind to make sure that his smart home is as safe as possible.
First, your devices are only as safe as the network they’re connected to. Make sure that you have a secure, password-protected network in your home before you start populating it with smart devices.
Second, avoid the cheap, no-name brand devices that you can find all over the internet. While we all want to save money on these high priced devices, an unknown brand is much more likely to have security flaws and less likely to receive updates to fix any issues.
Third, find a balance between security and convenience. A system that has no passwords, biometric checks or two-factor authentication is going to be a lot easier to use, but also a lot more susceptible to being hacked.
Having a smart home can be incredibly convenient, and it can even make your home more secure if you set it up right. While some might worry that the technological aspect is too complicated for them, it has truly gotten a lot simpler over time.
If you feel like it is beyond you to do the setup, there are many companies around that are willing to do the work for you, even starting from the planning stage together with you as a homeowner. Using a reputable company to do that for you will ensure that security settings are applied from the start, keeping your smart home safe.
If you are looking for some information on Home Inspections, check out How Many People Should be on a Home Inspection? and What to do if a Defect is Found on Your Home Inspection.