How to Build Awesome Smart Home – Guide for Beginners

How to Build Awesome Smart Home – Guide for Beginners

Imagine an evening where you are walking to your home, and right when you reach your driveway, the garage doors are opening up, and the light turns on. The air conditioning system turns on. Then the lights in the kitchen along with the oven turn on because it’s 7:00 pm and you make dinner daily at this time. Your home sets the schedule for everything based on your daily routine.

It is what a smart home is, and it seems like a plot of a sci-fi movie. But with the technological advancements in Internet-of-Things, home networking, and smart home technologies, creating this scenario in real life is not a big deal anymore.

Over 41 million households in the US, run some kind of smart home network, and the number is growing at a rapid pace.

Looking to jump the bandwagon but don’t know where to start, this comprehensive smart home guide will get you all sorted out!

So what is a Smart Home? What does it do?

what is a smart home? what does smart home do

To begin this smart home guide, let’s define what a smart home is. For beginners, a smart home is a place of residence that has various internet-connected devices. And with these devices, you can remotely monitor and manage different systems and appliances like lighting and air conditioning.

It is called the internet of things or IoT, where everything in your house is connected to your Wi-Fi. It includes your lighting system, your heating system, and various other appliances connected to your Wi-Fi. You can control them remotely with your smartphone from anywhere.

In simple words, you can turn on your coffeemaker and have your coffee ready till the time you reach home from your office. It is also known as home automation.

Now all the appliances and systems need to have Wi-Fi capabilities in them to be part of this home network. And today, manufacturers are integrating the internet and various other forms of connectivity into their products so that they can be part of your home’s IoT.

Coffeemakers, robotic vacuums, refrigerators, microwave ovens, grills and griddles, lighting and heating systems, televisions, home theatres systems, heck even baby monitors are turning smart these days. It is the power of the internet and connectivity, and we are ready to adopt it.

Preparation

Smart home preparation

More and more products are getting smart these days as their manufacturers are integrating them with the latest connectivity options.

If you are new to smart homes, you will be feeling overwhelmed. There is so much to consider here, and if you don’t have any experience, then it will look like a huge project. But any project becomes a lot easier when you adopt a methodical approach.

You need to focus on your needs and requirements first. When you have a list of goals in front of you, it will be a lot easier for you to plan your smart home. Your first question should be, why do you need a smart home? For conserving energy, or convenience!

For instance, if you are looking to conserve energy, you can begin with smart lights. They will automatically turn off when you leave a space and turn on when you enter. It can also be useful if you are looking for convenience. So smart lights check both the boxes, and they become must-haves.

Maybe you are looking to save water or want your oven to be preheated before you enter your home from work! In the case of saving water, it is a matter of conserving energy. In contrast, in the case of preheating an oven, it is a convenience.

This way, you will be able to focus on your needs and requirements and won’t end up wasting a lot of money on smart devices that don’t make sense at all.

Compatibility is another concern that you need to address. If you cannot connect your smart device to one platform, then this is not going to be a convenient option for you.

Most Common Smart Home Devices

Smart Home Devices

No smart home guide is complete without a list of the most popular smart home devices. The market is filled with a plethora of smart home devices. And as I have mentioned that their number is growing worldwide with more manufacturers integrating smart connectivity into their products.

After you have set your smart home goals and priorities, it is time to see which devices you can use to achieve your smart home objectives. I have listed down some of the most popular smart home devices that people nowadays use frequently in their houses.

Read more: 100 Smart Home Products You Can Buy Right Now

Assistants

We all already know about these assistants from our smartphones and tablets. The Android devices have Google Assistant, the Apple devices have Siri, and there is Alexa from Amazon as well. These assistants can be the central hub of any smart home.

But they are not mandatory for a smart home even if they make your life a lot easier. You can conveniently control your home network through voice commands. These assistants personify your home network, and you can instruct it as if you are telling someone to dime your lounge’s lights. I will discuss these assistants in further detail later on in this smart home guide.

Smart hub

It is a hub or hardware that connects all the smart devices in your home to a home network. This hub controls all the communication between these devices. Smart hubs either connect locally or through cloud all those IoT devices that run on Bluetooth, Z-Wave, or ZigBee. These smart hubs don’t use Wi-Fi for connectivity.

Wi-Fi light bulbs

The light that comes with Wi-Fi connectivity enables you to turn on/off your lights using your smartphone remotely. You can also set an automatic schedule, but your lights need to be connected to Wi-Fi in your home.

Read more: Modern Light Bulb Guide: 15 Different Types of Smart LED Bulbs

Wi-Fi smart sockets

Instead of Wi-Fi bulbs, you can also use Wi-Fi sockets to achieve the same goals that I have mentioned above. The difference is just that the bulbs don’t come with Wi-Fi connectivity. Instead, the socket has Wi-Fi capabilities. You can just use your regular bulbs in these smart sockets.

IP cameras

An Internet Protocol or IP camera is a standalone smart device that will connect with your home automation network, such as LAN. These security cameras can send and receive images through the internet, and you can use them for surveillance. And unlike your typical CCTV camera, IP cameras don’t need any local recording device. They just need the internet.

Check this: 7 Simple but Important Tips for Home Camera Placement

Thermostats

Smart thermostats are among the products that you need to bring into your smart home first. With a remotely controlled or automated thermostat, your HVAC systems will work to keep your costs under control along with your energy consumption as well. They are best for controlling heating and cooling systems in your home.

Smart multi-room speakers

With these speakers, you will be able to listen to music in all your rooms. And you don’t have to connect the wires anywhere. Based on the system, you can either choose multiple tracks to play simultaneously in different rooms or choose to listen to the same music in all your rooms.

Switches

These smart switches are a direct replacement of those conventional switches in your home. They do work as your regular switches, but you can control your lighting system using your smartphone with ease.

Dimmers

These smart dimmers will work if you have a dimmable light. You can set a schedule to dim the lights at night time or brighten up during the evening, or you can send them a voice command to do the same trick.

Door lock

Another part of your home security is a smart door lock that allows you to remotely lock the doors in case you forgot to lock it when you left the house.

Doorbell camera

A smart doorbell camera allows you to see who is there on your door. It will turn on when someone rings your doorbell. You can also check who came to visit your home when you were grocery shopping.

Smart HVAC

Smart HVAC devices allow you to operate your HVAC systems more efficiently. These devices enable you to vary the speed compressors, altering the start-up as well as operating speeds based on how much increase or decrease in temperature is required.

Sensors

Smart sensors allow you to receive notifications if something is wrong going on in your house. Flood sensors allow you to take measures if there are any water leakages. Smoke sensors activate if there is fire. Door and window sensors are there to notify you of any intrusion. Motions sensors also achieve the same goal.

Smart indoor/outdoor temperature sensors

These sensors provide you with information on the ambient temperature in your surrounding areas. Some of these sensors also feature humidity sensors as well. You can direct your smart thermostat to turn on or off based on the reading and your temperature requirement.

Smart blinds

Smart blinds allow you to lower or raise the blinds on your windows according to the season and or day time. For instance, if you want your blinds to lower during the daytime in summers, then you can do that automatically or by using your smartphone. The blinds can be raised during the daytime.

Smart garden devices

There are smart garden devices as well, and they truly save your time. You can automatically turn on/off your smart water faucet or your sprinkler system on your lawn. And don’t need to waste a huge chunk of your day watering the plants. The sprinklers will automatically turn on according to a schedule, and during a rainy day, they won’t water the plants.

Smart table with wireless charger

If you are looking for a desk that allows you to charge all your devices, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones, then your search is over. These desks will start charging your device automatically when they notice that the battery is getting low. And there is no issue of overcharging.

Wireless chargers

Of course, the concept of smart tables with chargers came from the wireless chargers that we are so accustomed to seeing these days. Just place your device on the surface of the charger, and it will start charging. No wires, no hassles!

Automatic gate

Automatic gates can work with your home’s surveillance system. And it will automatically open for you as per schedule if no one is there at home to open the gate for you. The gate will automatically lock once you’re in, and it will remain locked until you return home.

Garage door opener

Similar to an automatic gate, a garage door opener allows you to move your car out according to a set schedule. You won’t need the remote control for your garage door because it will automatically open and close on your command.

Smart outdoor lights

Just like the smart bulbs and switches for the indoor, you can use smart outdoor lights. They will turn on automatically when the sun goes down or will turn off when the sun comes up. You can also set a schedule for them to follow. Dimmable features are also available.

Intercom

Smart intercoms will automatically respond to anyone on the door. You can enter the details of your family so that the intercom checks and allows them in without any interrogation. You can also control it remotely for security reasons.

Robot vacuum

Nowadays, one of the most popular smart devices is these robotic vacuum cleaners. These devices are a huge convenience and, therefore, have been a part of many households for some time now. You can direct your trusty cleaner, and with a map of your entire house, it will automatically keep cleaning the house. It will also charge itself and get back to work; it is an ideal choice for a home with kids and pets.

Robotic lawnmower

Just like the vacuums, robot lawn mowers are great too, they can trim your lawn with ease, and you can set a schedule for them to follow. Your green area will remain well maintained at all times.

Check our guide about home robots: Robots For Your Home And Benefits Of Using Them

Electric fireplace

It will come in handy during the winters when you need those fireplaces ready to keep the warmth in your home. You can also automate the process according to your daily routine. Plus, you can increase or decrease the intensity according to your requirements.

Home Network Basics

Home network basics

Now let’s get to the core of this smart home guide, starting from the basics. Home networking involves so much technical terminology if we dig into the details. But don’t worry; I am not going to bore you with my tech-savvies. To keep things straight and simple to understand, I will only focus on some of the basics that are there for establishing a decent home automation network.

There are two options for you to consider: you can either go for wired networking or go wireless. They both have their merits and demerits.

Cables vs Wireless

Wired network

In a wired network, there are different devices connected through cables and a router. A router is a device in which you will plug in the network cable, and the other end goes into the smart device. These ports are called LAN ports. And to access the internet, you must connect the WAN ports.

Wireless network

In a wireless network, there are no wires, but the network works in the same manner as the wired one. This network is powered by Wi-Fi or wireless fidelity, an 802.11 network standard from IEEE. Setting this up is not a big issue at all because you just need to identify the access points and the Wi-Fi client.

Hub vs Switch

The debate between using a hub and going for a switch has been around for quite some time. A hub has one shared channel for all the ports. On the other hand, a switch has one dedicated channel for a single port.

In other words, the data transfer rate in sharing is going to be much slower through the hub for each client. Whereas, for a switch, the data transfer rate is going to be fast for each client because there is a separate channel for all clients.  The choice between these two options is pretty much up to you because you are the one who is going to decide what the network should be.

So Should I Choose a Smart Hub or not?

Though hubs prove to be the central nerve system of your smart home network, as they control all the components, they are not entirely essential. For example, if your devices are IFTTT enabled and they remain connected to wifi, they won’t need a smart hub to operate.

So, it all boils down to what kind of devices you have and what types you are going to buy. Smart home networks are still very new, even though they have been around for a considerable amount of time.

But as we have mentioned that these hubs are not mandatory for your home automation. But if you are looking to take complete control of your smart home network, then smart home hubs will allow you to do that.

Read more: Which Home Automation Hub to Choose?

With a smart home hub, you will be able to automate your home network a lot easier. It is because the apps and the interfaces have become a lot better over time. With the automated schedule, your home network will be able to act according to your instructions based on a set schedule.

Remember the example we shared with you right in the beginning regarding a smart home behaving just like those in a sci-fi movie! You won’t have to manually control anything ever again. Just set the schedules, and some of these systems will automatically adjust according to your routine.

Budget vs Timeline

Smart Home Guide - budget

The smart home devices are not that budget-friendly. Their prices are coming down with time, but most of them are still pretty much right up there. If budget is not your concern and you have some experience with these smart devices as well, then you can go for the full-fledged smart home makeover.

But if you are new to this tech and don’t know where to start, better to go for an affordable smart home and then build your network step by step. Don’t get too carried away with the notion of home automation.

You can build up your smart home network gradually. Just familiarize yourself with these devices at first and keep bringing new ones. This practice will be much more budget-friendly and will make your transition smooth.

Network Security

Another integral part of your home network is that it needs to have decent network security. It is important that you secure your network with various measures. The network needs to have well-balanced signal strength if it is wifi based.

Too much strong signal will give the neighbors or any other hackers in the nearby vicinity to hack your network. But you need to keep this in mind if the network signal isn’t too weak then the smart devices that are present won’t connect with it.

It is better for you to protect your networks with a combination of passwords to ensure a decent level of security and keep changing them with time. With a good level of security and great signal strength, your network will perform at an optimal level.

Smart Home Internet Speed

Additionally, the home internet speed must be good, and it needs to allow all the devices to connect remotely. It is especially the case if you are using your smart home network to watch a live feed of a camera from a remote location.

But your internet speed needs to be right at the top if you want to use your home network at its optimal level. The speed needs to be right at the top if you want all the devices to remain connected seamlessly. It is important because you won’t lower your guard just because your internet connection is not speedy enough.

Smart Home Guide

Smart Home Guide

Now that we have gotten through the basics and have understood the different kinds of devices, let’s focus on how to build a smart home. In this smart home guide, I will provide you with some important information that will allow you to materialize your smart home plans.

You can choose different options to build your ultimate smart home. And some important components need to be there no matter which option you choose for your home.

Budget Smart Home

If you don’t want a smart home to cost you a fortune, you can go for a budget smart home option. You have the option to add expensive components later on as you get used to the idea of how home automation works. The budget option only focuses on what your basic needs and priorities are. A smart home on a budget is just about emphasizing the basics, and the purpose of this setup is budget-friendliness and safety.

Here are different devices that you can include in setting up a smart home in this fashion. These include:

  • Smart assistant
  • Wi-Fi light bulbs and sockets
  • Outdoor IP-camera
  • Wi-Fi smoke detector

Optimal Smart Home

The second option for you is to go to an optimal smart home. It will keep the basics in mind and will also introduce some new high-end systems and appliances in your network as well. If you have been accustomed to a smart home for a few months, then you can go with this idea. This setup emphasizes safety as well as convenience. It is a recommended setup for most of the homes out there.

The smart devices that you can include in setting up a smart home this way are:

  • All of the above-mentioned budget smart home devices
  • Smart hub
  • More IP-cameras (both indoor and outdoor)
  • Smart thermostats
  • Smart multi-room speakers
  • Door locks
  • Dimmers
  • Sensors for flooding or smoke detection

Awesome Smart Home

The third option for you is to go for a fully-featured awesome smart home. This kind of home automation network will feature everything that I have mentioned above in the smart home devices section. The focus on this setup is safety, convenience, and energy conservation.

It will be the pinnacle of IoT in your home. This setup covers everything, and it is the full automation of your home.

The devices included here in the following list are many. You can either add/remove devices according to your requirements.

  • All of the above mentioned optimal smart home devices
  • Sensors for doors and windows
  • Smart blinds
  • All Smart garden devices, including water faucets and sprinkler systems
  • Smart tables with wireless chargers
  • Automatic gates
  • Smart outdoor lights
  • Intercom
  • Doorbell camera
  • Robot vacuum
  • Robotic lawnmower
  • Smart HVAC
  • Smart pet feeder
  • Electric fireplace
  • Wireless chargers
  • Smart indoor/outdoor temperature sensors
  • Garage door opener

Smart home devices vs budget

Home Controller Systems

Now you might be thinking that these are so many devices, which will become part of a network and ultimately automate themselves. You would be in huge jeopardy working with so many devices at a time. But this is where home controller systems come in handy. For example, when you return home for work, you will have your automatic gate opened for you to enter and your smart garage will open automatically for you to park your car.

And as you walk through the driveway the lawn lights are turned on and if the weather is clear, your smart sprinkler will start watering the plants for you. As you go straight to your bathroom to freshen up, smart lights in the bathroom will turn on and the smart tap will start running as well. The next thing you do is going in the kitchen therefore, the smart lights in your kitchen will turn on along with your oven.

Maybe, you have set a schedule for your smart coffee maker to make you a cup of coffee right when you enter the house returning from home. You won’t have to wait for that deliciously tasting coffee as your cup will be ready for you to drink.

Maybe you are expecting some guests at your home right after work. You have cleaned your house as well and you haven’t done the grocery. Why don’t you tell your smart robotic vacuum cleaner to get the cleaning done while you do the grocery. You can also save your time by instructing your smart oven to start roasting that turkey meanwhile.

leaving house smart home recipe

There are some times when you are in a hurry and getting late from the office. And in a hurry you forgot to lock your home. Why don’t you tell your smart home assistant to lock the house and keep monitoring for any intrusions until you return!

Your home controller system will manage all these devices according to a schedule that you want to set. And they will work together in one mega home network. You will be managing the entire network with the help of a mobile application. In case of any tweaks, you can contact the service provider for assistance.

Such a service will automate your entire home and every system or appliance in it that you have connected with the home network. It will follow a schedule that you have set through the app. You can also make adjustments to the schedule, or it will make automatic adjustments on its own while learning your daily life routine patterns.

Smart Home Assistants

Smart home Assistants

From the above section, you might have noticed the importance of smart home assistants. They have made an appearance in all of the smart home setup options as well. The reason these voice-controlled assistants are so important because we are already accustomed to using them through our smartphones, tablets, and laptops. These assistants are becoming more and more popular with time.

We are familiar with home assistants, so making them part of smart homes is a no brainer. Plus, the companies that are involved in making these smartphones and tablets and introducing these assistants in our life are also the driving forces behind smart homes. Their focus is using IoT, and so far, their idea is a hit.

Following are the top smart home assistants that you can use to make your home smart:

Amazon Alexa

The leader of the pack in this area is Amazon’s Alexa. It was introduced back in 2014, and since that time, it has come a long way. It is available on different speakers from Amazon, and many others, not from the same brand. Plus, it can reach out to all the smart devices in your smart home network and give them instructions as per your directions.

Google Assistant

It is the smart home assistant from Google, and it runs on all Android-powered devices. Google Assistant is one of the best assistants in terms of response, and it can conveniently forward all the instructions from you to your smart home devices. It works with Google Home and manages all the smart devices in your residence.

Apple Siri

The most popular of all the smart home assistants come from Apple, and that is Siri. It is the first assistant that was made available for the regular consumers of smartphones. It is compatible with all iOS and Mac-based devices and runs with Apple HomeKit.

AliGenie by Alibaba

This open-platform based assistant comes from China, and it entered the market back in 2017. It has all the features that you need to have in your personal assistant. It can run smart home hubs, play music, do voice searches, online shopping and also take voice notes.

Microsoft Cortana

Cortana was introduced by Microsoft back in 2014. It was introduced for several platforms, including Windows 10, Windows Phone 10, Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft Band, Xbox One, Surface headphones, Invoke Speakers, Amazon Alexa, Android, iOS, Windows Mixed Reality. And just like Android and iOS, it can do tons of stuff for the user.

Samsung Viv (Bixby 2.0)

It is a virtual assistant that comes from smartphone giant, Samsung. It was also introduced back in 2017. Viv is a major reboot of Samsung’s S Voice that was introduced back in 2012. Samsung announced that it would introduce this voice assistant in other devices and appliances as well. Ultimately we saw this assistant in TVs, refrigerators and other tablets from the company later in 2017.

Silvia by Cognitive Code

Silvia stands for Symbolically Isolated Linguistically Variable Intelligence Algorithms. And it was introduced back in 2008. It is the oldest of all the virtual assistants and exposed the users to a new era of technology that later other tech giants followed. Cognitive Code designed this virtual assistant to understand various internet speeches and directly interact with operating systems and their applications.

Alice by Yandex

Alice is a Russian assistant, and it is designed for Windows, iOS and Android operating systems. It was officially introduced back in 2017, and the assistant can perform common tasks including internet search, bring out weather forecasts and can also run various applications. Of course, you can do regular chit-chatting with it as well.

Mycroft

It is a virtual assistant designed for Linux-based systems, and it has a natural language interface. The code for this program was a copy left in the beginning, but later it was licensed. This virtual assistant takes care of user privacy through its open-source machine learning and has won several awards from various tech monitoring firms.

Clova by Naver Corp

The virtual assistant from Naver is designed for Android and iOS and was introduced in 2017. The company mentioned that this assistant would be used in their smart speakers for the Japanese and Korean markets.

Things to Consider When Setting up a Smart Home

Things to consider when creating awesome smart home

To get the best bang of your buck, make sure that you focus on your requirements and preferences first. Identify your needs, set your priorities, and then start thinking about what type of devices you should choose to build up your smart home network.

Being vigilant in your approach will ensure that you will be able to develop a network that exceeds all your expectations.

Smart Home Problems

There are some issues that you have to deal with as well when it comes to setting up your smart home networks. I have listed down some of the major concerns that you have to address to make your smart home more reliable.

Security

One of the major issues that you have to tackle is security. These days data leaks and cyber-attacks have raised many questions against the safety and security of your data online. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have chosen a service that understands this matter well and takes various measures to prevent any mishaps.

Privacy

Similar to security, privacy is another concern for many online users. As your entire home is connected to a network and intrusion will put the privacy of you and your loved ones at risk. Therefore, service providers need to make sure that all the necessary measures have been taken to stop such incidents.

Power outage

A necessary backup plan needs to be in place if your area experiences frequent power failures. Your home will become vulnerable if you need to have an emergency backup to prevent this from happening. Even if there is no power outage in your area, you still need to have an emergency power supply, just in case.

Network out of order

At times, the network of the internet service provider goes down for certain reasons like maintenance or power failure. In such a scenario, you need to focus on what you need to do if it occurs. You can also get in touch with the service provider on this topic.

10 Most Positive Things with Smart Home Solutions

Health

Many smart devices enable you to control the moisture or humidity level in your home. You can lead a healthier life when you have fresher air to breathe. You will feel more lively and active in your daily routine, as well.

Convenience

Without a shadow of a doubt, smart home solutions are all about convenience. They make your life a lot more comfortable by putting you in charge. You can save more energy, and reduce your costs and you don’t have to make any extra efforts for this.

Comfort

Comfort is another benefit as you have the peace of mind that you are effectively managing your residence in the most optimal fashion. You feel very good about yourself and are more relaxed because your assistant is at your service all the time managing different chores for you.

Electric bills

Conserving energy and reducing utility costs is one of the biggest advantages of using smart home solutions. No matter how much you are careful in conserving energy and lowering your bills, there is always an improvement that needs to be made. Your smart home solution will make that improvement for you, and you will be able to save a lot on your utility costs.

Security

Security is one of the concerns of smart home solutions. Still, it is also one of the major positives that this technology has to offer. As everything is automated, you can up the ante up installing surveillance cameras and smart door locks and control them all with your voice command. The security of your home becomes tenfold with such a system in place.

Flexibility

You have the flexibility to add or subtract devices from your network at will. Therefore, you can start small and ultimately go big once you get used to such a system. If you have found something useless, you can always get rid of it and add something new to the bunch.

Easy management

Another huge benefit of using these smart home solutions is that you can conveniently manage them from your smartphone. You also get the option to control it from other devices too. But your smartphone is a device that stays with you all day, and you are very familiar with it. Therefore, management becomes super easy.

Controlling remotely

One of the top features of these smart home solutions is that you get to control the entire network in your home from a remote location. Therefore, you are at home, even if you are not. If something happens while you are not home, you will still be in control of the situation up to a significant extent.

Home management insights

With such a network in place, you can easily access data on various activities that you do at home. For instance, for how long do you watch your TV on a day or see your various energy consumption habits. Insights like these allow you to make changes to your lifestyle if something is off.

Better appliance functionality

Another advantage of these smart home solutions is that you can use your appliances at an optimum level. For instance, your smart TV can tell you what kind of programming you prefer to see and shift to that automatically. Additionally, your smart oven will not over or undercook your chicken ever again.

10 Useful Tips on Setting up a Smart Home

Map your smart home network

Make sure that you draw a map of your smart home network before you lay it down in place. You might only have a couple of devices in your network, but the number can grow pretty quickly. And when the number grows, you need to be a lot more creative, and with a diagram, you can be practically creative and see your alternatives with ease.

Use LAN whenever possible

Wireless technology has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years. But it still tends to run into issues, and there are various signal interferences as well. Therefore it is a good choice for you to use a local area network using CAT6 to keep the connectivity reliable. It will be a mandatory action for you if you also have different high-speed bandwidth-consuming devices like security cameras and video streaming.

Find those dead spots

Most of your smart devices connect through Wi-Fi, and these networks tend to become more congested as more devices join in. Don’t go for the new networking equipment, use a Wi-Fi analytics app on your phone and locate those dead spots.

Getting used voice commands and controls

If you are not used to it, talking to a device might feel weird, but it’s perfectly normal, and you just need to get used to it. Make your assistant part of your family because it will become the most common way to interact with your other connected devices.

Look for the switches without neutral wires

If you live in an old house with an outdated wiring system, there won’t be a neutral wire in your light switches.  A circuit with this neutral wire can turn the light off even when it is delivering the power to the switch. Your smart switch will lose its power when you turn it off if the system has no neutral wire. And without any power, it cannot communicate within the network. So watch out for those switches without neutral wires.

Use Alexa as well as Google Assistant

Many people make a mistake while choosing their favorite assistant. Just choose according to the convenience. You cannot connect all your smart devices to both the assistants at the same time. So, whichever service is convenient, use it.

Easy acceptance by non-techies in your family

If you are tech-savvy, then good, you can use the entire service with ease. But you also need to consider everyone else in your family, especially those non-tech-savvies. Your network needs to be designed in such a manner that everyone can use it conveniently.

Prefer smart switches over bulbs

You need to go for smart switches instead of smart bulbs. These switches allow you to use them as conventional switches. However, a smart bulb won’t remain smart if someone forgetfully turns the wall switch off.

Don’t wire those smart switches together

You don’t need to wire those smart switches together. Just link them with any other smart device in your network. There is a misconception that they will work only if you connect them, but that is not the case.

Learning Geofencing

Learning Geofencing is critical because it is an imaginary boundary around your home. The GPS on your smartphone will trigger a variety of alarms if you cross this fence. It will allow the smart home network to determine how far you are from your home and make adjustments to the network accordingly.

10 Most Common Uses of Home Assistants

You can use these home assistants for a variety of purposes. These assistants enable you to make your home smart negating any complexities. As most of these home assistants are open source, you can use them free of cost and even extend their use according to your needs. You don’t need to buy any additional hardware but can achieve so much with your home assistant. Some of the most common uses of these home assistants are as follows,

Presence Detection

Using your smart home assistant you can conveniently guess whether your family members or friends are home or not. this program will scan your local area network and also scan through those bluetooth devices that are in range. It can also use any of those third party services.

Weather information

Your home assistant already has the correct timings of sunset and sunrise in your region. Just set the location within the configuration file and you will find all the weather information about your location as well. Some of the other weather components are also available like pollen sensing components as well as air quality index.

Traffic information

If you integrate Waze sensors, you will be able to get traffic information in your area as well. not only can you use your coordinates but also use your device or a sensor to get the information in your area.

Mail & calendar

You might find out that your home assistant is not the most appropriate tool to process your appointments or emails but you can get the job done if you want. you can see the number of unread mails and also see the messages. Apart from that you can also integrate various types of calendars and to-do lists as well.

Product price follow-up

If you are looking to buy different products and want to keep an eye on their price then your home assistant can do that for you. You will get all the alerts from your home assistant regarding any price fluctuations as soon as they occur.

Stock tracking

There are various plugins that you can use to monitor a variety of data, including stock exchange. By adding a component to your home assistant you can trace different stocks with ease.

Package tracking

Another benefit that you can enjoy with your home assistant is to track your packages and mails with ease. whether you have sent or are expecting something through postal mail, your home assistant will be at your service at all times.

Play music in any room

You are not limited to your music playing devices anymore. ask your home assistance to play music at any time and anywhere in your house. you can also play different tunes in different rooms simultaneously   or you can play the same tune in all your rooms.

Order Dominos Pizza

Another very interesting and delicious thing that you can do with your home assistant is that you can order your favorite pizza. However, this feature has only been introduced at a very basic level. you can’t make any amendments to your order and the service is only available in the US. but you will see more features regarding this service pretty soon.

Automate your lighting system

Another excellent feature of these home assistants is that you can tell them to turn the lights on and off and you can do so with various sections of your house. For example, you can direct your assistant to turn on the lights in your lawn after sunset and turn them off at sunrise. An automatic scheduling option is also available here.

Past & the Future of Smart Home Solutions – A Contrast

Smart Home evolution - past and future

At the end of this smart home, guide, let’s discuss some of the ideas from where smart home technologies originated and where we are heading with them.

The Past

The idea of home automation was there when electrical wiring was introduced into buildings and structures to lighten up the room when it was dark. With further advancements, home TV came in the 1950s, and then a remote control was introduced to control it.

The concept of point of control came into the origin, and the correspondence between two devices started to develop and take shape within other areas as well. Then in the later 60s, Kitchen Computer ECHO IV was invented. Though the device was not sold at the industrial level, it was a brilliant device. It could easily store and record various shipping records, turn apparatuses on/off and also control the home temperature.

But due to poor advertising, the idea failed until the invention of the internet in the 90s. And now we see that the internet turned into Wi-Fi and a means of connectivity in various apparatus in our homes today.

The Future

There is a tone of research going on. With the development of IoT and the integration of artificial intelligence into these smart home technologies, things seem pretty bright ahead. In the future, smart homes would provide all services necessary, including energy, medical, communication, security, entertainment, and utility.

We are moving into the next generation, and we will see that more and more devices will feature smart connectivity. There won’t be any manual input from the humans required. Data mining computers would use regular day patterns and habits as well as behaviors and will execute different commands.

For example, if you lock the door daily at 7 pm, a smart home could do that for you whether you have asked it or not based on the past patterns. Apart from that, data mining commuters will also enable the appliances to detect and run a present program automatically.

For instance, a washing machine checks the type of clothes and starts running the cycle accordingly. These are the goals that the current tech engineers have in their minds. And for this, they’re not only working data mining computing but on big data computing as well.

Conclusion

I sincerely hope that you have found my smart home guide very thorough and informative. All-in-all, there are various aspects that you need to keep in mind when you are looking to convert your regular home into a smart home. Therefore, you need to consider what your smart home goals are. Whether you are looking to conserve energy and reduce your utility costs, or are you focusing on convenience and facilitation.

To get to the answer, you need to identify your purpose of smart home automation and then start looking for the devices that you need in your home. Make sure that you start with budget-friendly options and go for the affordable smart home options. With time, you need to introduce more devices as per your needs.