With over fifty percent of the world’s population owning a smart device like a phone or tablet, you’d think that smart homes would be more commonplace in 2021. However, the truth is that smart homes are still evolving as people learn how to connect them all into organized systems that work efficiently as a whole. Here in The Bay Area, most homeowners are in front of the curve when it comes to creating technology driven smart homes and they see the value and time saving benefits of leveraging technology in their home.
Smart homes are created by choosing a main controlling system, figuring out which home systems to automate, and connecting each disparate system into the main smart home system. Smart homes can automate many daily home control schemes such as security, lighting, sound, and temperature control.
Creating a smart home might seem like an overwhelming task if you’ve never done it before, but it doesn’t have to be. Going on a walkthrough of your home and figuring out which systems can be improved through smart automation can make the process much easier. Keep reading to learn more about how to set up your first smart home and how to pull it off.
What Is Involved in Creating a Smart Home?
When most people think about smart homes, they imagine a home out of the Jetsons that waits on them hand and foot, or maybe they think of Bill Gate’s automated home systems. In reality, the technology used to create smart homes is already available on the open market for anybody to buy and implement.
When you begin creating your smart home, you’ll want to follow these steps to get started:
- Set your budget. The budget for your smart home should include the price of the controlling equipment, the price of individual smart systems, the price of your Internet connection, and the cost of any ongoing subscriptions to wireless systems like Ring. While some smart home technology is very di it yourself, there are other technologies that may require a the assistant of a home remodeling company or at the very least, someone who is savvy in setting up a whole home network.
- Figure out which systems you want to automate. You can either build your smart home one home system at a time, or you can automate all of your home systems at once. Either way, you’ll need to take a look at your daily home activities and where you could use some technological upgrades.
- Get wired up. If you don’t already have a strong wireless Internet connection, you’ll want one so that your smart systems don’t get bogged down with poor connectivity issues.
- Buy your smart systems. For each system in your smart home that you want to automate, you’ll need a separate smart system to control it. For example, you’ll need a smart thermostat for your home that is Alexa-compatible if you intend to use the Alexa program as your smart home controller.
- Install your smart systems. Many smart systems are simple enough to be installed by a layman, such as Ring security camera systems. However, some more advanced smart home systems may require installation by a third-party technician.
- Organize your smart systems. Once you have your smart systems in place, you’ll want to have all of them synchronized to the smart device you carry with you so that you can control all of your home systems from a single device. You’ll also want to set up your home controllers and speakers for voice command capability.
Setting up a smart home system is simple if you know what kind of technology you need ahead of time. It’s also a good idea to know how you want your smart home systems to work together.
Technology You Need for a Smart Home
Before you get started setting up your smart home, you need to consider what technology you’ll need to get it going. This will influence your budget and which smart systems you ultimately invest in. If gardening and landscaping are important to you, you’re more likely to go with a controller brand that can easily integrate these components into your overarching smart system.
These are the basic technological necessities for creating a smart home from scratch:
- Wireless Internet connection: Having a strong wireless Internet connection is vital to maintaining a smart home system. For every twelve smart devices you connect to your smart home, you’ll need a dedicated 5-10 Megabytes-per-second (Mbps) connection.
- Smart device: While many smart home systems can be controlled via voice command, the primary mode of communication with the main smart home controls will be via a smart device such as a smartphone or tablet.
- Main speaker systems/hubs: Most smart home systems include speakers with listening devices (such as the Amazon Echo) that accept voice commands from the user and relays these commands to the individual smart home systems. For example, you can program your smart home to lower the lights or start music on command.
- Secondary technology: Along with the main controller of the smart home system, you’ll also need to purchase the secondary technology involved in running your smart home systems. These include items such as automated smart locks for your home, surround-sound audio speaker systems, or security cameras.
Once you have the above technology together, you’ll have all the parts you need to create your perfect smart home.
Choosing the Main System for Your Smart Home
The most important part of creating your smart home is choosing which controller system you’ll use to organize everything. Different technology brands have different advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few of the smart home controller systems you have to choose from:
- Alexa: Alexa is Amazon’s smart home assistant, and Amazon offered one of the first smart home controller systems on the market. Because of this head start, Amazon is able to offer more Alexa-compatible smart home devices than any other smart home system on the market.
- Google Assistant: Google Assistant is Alexa’s biggest smart home competition. Even though it isn’t compatible with as many devices as Alexa, Google’s association with major smart device brands such as Philips and Samsung means that many smart devices are compatible with both Alexa and Google controllers.
- Homekit: Homekit is Apple’s founding smart home software, so if you’re an iPhone fanatic from way back, this may be a smart device controller to check into. Homekit features strong and seamless integration with multiple Apple smart devices such as iPad, iPhone, Apple TVs, and Homepods.
- SmartThings: SmartThings is Samsung’s smart home software, and this controller can be used to organize and direct various devices around the house. SmartThings can control everything from motion detectors to individual light bulbs.
The best smart home controller for your home will depend on many factors, such as which software you already have on your smart devices and what kind of technology you need to automate. Do some thorough comparison shopping between these major brands to determine which one would be the best match for your needs.
What Parts Of Your Home Should You Make Smart?
So you know what you need to create a smart home. What parts of your home do you want to make smart? The answer to this question will depend largely on what you’re trying to accomplish by automating your home in the first place. Here are a few of the common areas where people look into setting up a smart home:
- Security: Security is one of the most popular smart home systems. Using a smart home security system, you can automate all of your home’s doors to lock or unlock on a voice command so that you can ensure the entire house is secured at once. Smart devices are also useful for reviewing and monitoring any video surveillance footage via smart apps.
- Lighting: Homeowners can use smart device systems such as Philips Hue to control all of their home lighting. Through a smart device, home owners can turn lights on and off, dim the lighting, or even change the color of ambient lighting for mood effects.
- Audio systems: Installing smart speakers in each room of your home allows you to request music on demand, adjust volume, or even use the smart system as an intercom system to call family members to dinner.
- Environmental control: Smart home devices make controlling your home’s temperature a snap, even if you’re not there. Monitoring and maintaining your home’s environmental controls with automated systems can help save you money in wasted energy over time while still keeping the home at a comfortable temperature and humidity.
If you’re creating your smart home one system at a time, it’s a good idea to start by installing your home controlling system before you branch out into each home system based on which ones you need the most.
When you’re picking what systems to invest in, think about your home situation. A homeowner in a crime-ridden part of the city might put more emphasis on strong home security than audio controls, while homeowners battling high energy bills might be more interested in a smart thermostat system than mood lighting.
Secondary Smart Home Functions
While environmental controls are the most popular home systems controlled through smart devices, there are also many other secondary home functions that can be controlled through a smart system and related voice commands.
Here are a few secondary home functions you might consider linking into your smart home system:
- Irrigation: For homeowners who are avid gardeners, setting up automated sprinklers as part of a smart home system can save hours of backbreaking labor and wasted time in maintaining their lawn or garden.
- Shopping: Smart home systems aren’t just useful for automating home functions. Through the smart home’s controller system, home assistants such as Alexa can be linked into your online shopping accounts so that ordering new supplies for the home is a voice command away.
- TVs and entertainment consoles: Many smart technology brands are integrating entertainment systems and gaming consoles into their smart home controls. This allows homeowners to verbally switch between modes of entertainment seamlessly without having to fumble for a controller or a remote.
- Cleaning systems: TVs and sound systems aren’t the only home systems that can be connected to your smart home controls. Automated vacuums such as Roomba and Braava are compatible with smart home devices, allowing you to activate them remotely and program them for daily maintenance through your smartphone.
As we get further and further along in the 21st century, more and more systems around the home are becoming compatible with smart home controls. Whether you want to automate your fish being fed or you want your home to wake you with a gentle alarm every morning, there is likely already a smart system in place that you can use.
Creating a Smart Home Requires Planning
If you’re considering automating your home with smart home controls, you’ll need to go through your home carefully and think things through before you commit to a smart home system.
Smart home systems often require hundreds of dollars of investment and hours of time in programming and installing them. You don’t want to commit too early to one system only to be unhappy with it later on. Be sure to look around and figure out what system works best for your lifestyle to end up with a smart home you’ll enjoy for years to come.
Looking to implement a smart home strategy in The Bay Area? Element Home Remodeling East Bay is a home remodeling company in Oakland. We specialize in modern and fresh home designs as well as smart home implementation. Contact us today to schedule a free consult.