There’s a lot of excitement and talk about smart home technology these days. We live in an IoT (Internet of Things) world where just about everything is connected to the internet and can exchange data.
The Age of the Jetsons
Rosie the robot is no longer science fiction. Today, your fridge can automatically order food and your window shades can be programmed to react to light conditions without any human interaction. You can also adjust lights, vacuum or answer the door when you aren’t home. Heck, you can even ask your bathroom mirror about the weather or tell it to run your bath at exactly the right depth and temperature.
There are so many great things you can do with available smart devices today. But, all these choices and technology can also be intimidating. How do you know where to start or which technology to use?
To help, here’s a quick rundown on what smart home technology can do, and how to get started.
Smart Home Capabilities
Whether you are looking at smart home technology to add convenience, save money on electric bills, provide extra security, or boost entertainment functionality – there’s a device for that!
Here are a few ways smart home technology can make life better.
Lights & Ambiance
The Clapper served its purpose, but now turning your lights on is a whole lot easier with programmable smart lights. Now, you can turn your lights on or off, change colors to set the mood, or program lights to music—all from your smartphone. You can even add extra security by adjusting lights when you aren’t home, automatically turn on when the doorbell rings or set dimmers and motion sensors to match your needs.
Many smart lights are LED and come with energy saving features that are programmable to help you cut costs on your electric bill — and feel great about being green.
If safety is a concern, there’s plenty to choose from to help keep your home and family safe. Internet-based surveillance cameras let you watch your home (indoor and out) from your phone or computer. Want to know who’s at the door without missing your favorite show? Doorbell activated cameras can show you who’s at the door, on your smartphone or smart TV- from the couch or remote location.
Forgot to lock the door on the way out, or need to let the housekeeper in? Smart home door locks can let you do that with just a few clicks.
We live in a modern age of convenience. And smart home technology can help turn your home into a pampered sanctuary. Smart fans work with your WI-FI and smart thermostats to keep you living quarters at the perfect temperature. Smart shades can be programmed ahead of time to raise and lower depending on available sun or temperature. And, smart beds can calculate your level of comfort and automatically adjust temperature, height, and firmness to help you get a good night of Z’s.
There’s also plenty of smart appliances to ease the burden of household chores. Smart washers and dryers can automatically dispense detergent and adjust cycles depending on clothes sensed. While refrigerators come with a smart tablet interface that can tell you when its time to order more ketchup or when food is spoiled.
Feel like you’re living in a fairy tale? Try speaking ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall – what are the top headlines today?’ and see what happens. Kohler’s connected home devices let you do that, start the shower, or adjust water temperature levels with just a verbal command.
Need to vacuum but don’t want to wake the kids? Pick from a number of robotic smart vacuums that can be programmed to the layout of your house and tidy up while you’re away.
Smart home technology can be fun but can also provide big savings on your electric bill. Programmable thermostats allow rooms to learn your living patterns and automatically adjust to save energy while you are out of the room. Smart LED lights also cut electricity and can be programmed to go off while you’re away to save even more.
For specific smart home product reviews and information, check out these resources to see what the experts say:
So, now you know what smart home technology can do for your home – here are a few tips to jump-start the process.
Planning Your Smart Home- 4 tips to get you started
1. Get to know smart home protocol
In a smart home, all smart devices are connected to the internet and have the capability to exchange data. These devices must also be able to ‘talk’ to each other and to your smartphones so you can control them. The communication is enabled through wired and wireless protocols such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, ZibBee, WeMo, UPB and so on.
The challenge is the variety of communication protocols available, and not all devices use the same ones. To make sure your smart devices can communicate with each other the way you want them to, it’s probably best to choose one protocol or platform and then search for products that are compatible.
Take a look at this quick read on smart home communication protocols for more information.
2. Plan before you buy & start small
With so many options for smart home technology, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Simplify things by prioritizing your wish list of areas and/or functions to start with. Then shop around for the primary technology devices and check which protocol is compatible. From there, you can add on other pieces as needed but make sure you check for protocol compatibility for each, as well as cross-device compatibility where needed.
3. A smart hub may be necessary
Depending on how many and what kinds of devices you’re looking to add, a smart home ‘hub’ may be the first purchase to consider. Although many smart devices may not require a hub, it will be important if you are linking numerous devices.
Common smart home hubs include Google Home, Amazon’s Echo devices, Wink Hub, Logitech Harmony and Apple Home. Again, check hubs against protocol and primary devices selected to make sure your smart system will work together.
4. Always think security
Smart home devices are connected to the internet, and by nature involve a risk of security breach. To protect your security, always shop for devices from well-known brands and never purchase devices that don’t allow for customizable passwords and security settings. In fact, this may be one area that pays to get a professional involved setting up your devices on your network to ensure you are protected.
So, are you ready to make your home a little smarter? We’d love to hear about smart products you love – just follow us on social media and keep us posted. And, if you have questions about buying or selling a home in Frisco, give us a call anytime at 469-634-0932!
About the Judi Wright Team
Judi Wright/The Judi Wright Team is a real estate group specializing in the suburbs of Frisco, Plano, and surrounding areas. Named the “Best Realtor in Dallas,” by D Magazine eleven times and a Five Star Realtor with Texas Monthly, Judi is also a Company-Wide Top performer with Ebby Halliday and the #1 Top Small Group for Ebby Halliday Frisco.