A smart home is a living space that has been equipped with electronic devices that perform automated tasks. These tasks are usually related to security, home management, energy management, entertainment, or communication. The definition of “smart” varies widely from system to system depending on what function they serve within the home. This leaves much room for customization across various homes in different locales based on their needs and affordability levels. A “connected” smart home allows these gadgets to connect wirelessly with each other while communicating with outside systems like the Internet or home networks.
Why would you want to make your house smart?
There are many reasons why people opt for a smart home system, so the list below is by no means exhaustive:
Convenience – Controls within smart homes can be controlled remotely through laptops, smartphones, and dedicated control devices like touch-screen panels. With this level of control, one does not even need to be at home to perform tasks like locking doors, controlling climate or lighting systems or activating security alarms. A growing number of services allow users to monitor electricity usage within their homes in order to better manage their resources. One can also program automated appliances like refrigerators and washing machines via smartphone apps if they are running low on supplies or when laundry cycles are complete.
Security – Smart home security systems can be programmed to alert homeowners if there is a break-in, fire, or flooding. They allow homeowners to monitor these activities remotely wherever they may be via internet connection or mobile device. Cameras are often integrated allowing users to keep watch on their properties when away from home for extended periods of time.
Entertainment – Today’s technology allows for entertainment devices like TV sets and stereos to be controlled with smartphones and tablets rather than through dedicated remote controls. A growing number of services allow you to control your lighting, climate, music & av equipment through your tablet or smartphone in case you’re not at home too!
Flexibility in Home Design – Modern electrical systems are designed to allow for easy integration of smart home technologies. All one needs is a basic knowledge of electrical wiring, smartphones/tablets, and internet connections to get started.
How does a home become smart?
A smart home is programmed to perform various functions. The most common types of automated tasks in a home include lighting and heating/cooling control, security systems, entertainment devices, and communication networks. There are three basic ways to implement a smart home system: 1) buy a prefabricated “hub” with all the gadgets already integrated 2) assemble your own hub by buying each gadget separately and 3) add on gadgets as they become available
Different types of systems for making homes smarter… Lighting & HVAC
The most common areas in which smart homes differentiate from standard living spaces are undoubtedly within the realm of lighting and heating/cooling.
Lighting – Smart homes can be equipped with automated lights that are programmed to switch on automatically when users enter a room or are remotely controlled using smartphones. Also equipped with occupancy sensors that turn off lights when rooms are empty for prolonged periods of time.
Heating/Cooling – Smart home heating and cooling systems can be programmed to adjust according to the temperature preferences of owners as dictated by their schedules and location. The system can also detect if there is an intrusion into the house and alert homeowners immediately.
Entertainment – Entertainment devices such as televisions, stereos, video game consoles, etc., can either be connected directly to smartphone hubs using Bluetooth technology or controllers like Apple’s Siri Remote can be used to play media content wirelessly without needing any special equipment connected directly to the device.
Communication Networks – Smart homes can be connected to the internet for constant operation and access by users, or be placed on a local network separate from the main system. The more areas of your home that are connected to the internet, however, increases your exposure to security breaches and hacking attempts.
While residential smart homes may still be far from reaching mass-market appeal and affordability, the benefits associated with such living spaces will undoubtedly drive up consumer demand in coming years as technology improves.
How do I convert my existing house into a smart home?
Step 1: Determine your needs based on how you’ll use the system. A good place to start is by listing all the devices in your home that rely on buttons or remotes so you can replace them with smarter automated systems. Make an itemized list of each device and its function, then research available products on the market that serve those functions. Many new appliances today come with integrated wireless communication which allows users to control their appliances remotely via mobile apps or web applications. If not built-in, you can purchase dedicated adapters that plug into your appliances and allow them to be controlled through your smartphone or tablet.
Step 2: Once you’ve drawn up a list of all the devices in your home, research what smart home systems are compatible with each device. Some examples include Z-Wave adapters for lighting systems, Insteon modules for light switches/dimmers, Nest thermostat for HVAC units, etc. You could also look to upgrade older appliances with newer internet-connected models. Make sure the technology is still around when it comes time to sell your house so you don’t end up stuck with old outdated tech that no one wants!
Step 3: Educate yourself on basic electronics and how they work in homes built before the technology was widely available. This is because not all devices can be controlled wirelessly as newer appliances may be. Switches, thermostats, and timers are some examples of older electrical devices which require manual control or integration with smart home technologies to operate automatically.
Step 4: Which smart home systems do I choose? There are many options on the market today catering to different budgets for individual homes. One should pick a system that best suits their needs while at the same time staying affordable enough to get started properly. A free option would involve setting up an old PC/laptop running Windows XP or Linux into your house wiring closet in order to function as a “gateway.” You could then install applications on your laptop that allow you to monitor and control your smart home system.
Step 5: Once you’ve chosen the best setup for your needs, it’s time to get started! You could begin by purchasing some basic wireless adapters that can be plugged into your devices allowing them to communicate with other modules/devices in your home. This is typically the most affordable way of getting started on a budget. However, if you want more advanced features like remote access or lighting automation, you’ll need to opt for higher-tier solutions which usually require custom wiring through the walls of your house in order to function properly.
Is converting my existing house into a smart home financially viable?
Yes – It is indeed possible to convert an older style dumb home into one that can communicate with homes outside your immediate property! There are plenty of affordable entry-level systems available on the market today that serve as a great starting point to get you going with basic home automation. Once you’ve grown accustomed to how it all works, you could then begin looking into higher-end smart home technologies to add greater functionality and control over the system.
5 Mistakes to be avoided
When converting your home into a smart home, there are several things you can do to make the process easier and more efficient. However, there are also several mistakes that can easily be made during the process. Here are five of the most common mistakes people make when converting their homes into smart homes:
1. Not researching the products available – It’s important to do your research before purchasing any products for your smart home system. Not all devices are compatible with all systems, so it’s important to know what will work with what.
2. Installing incompatible devices – Another common mistake is installing devices that are not compatible with one another. This can cause problems and confusion when trying to operate the system as a whole.
3. Not planning the layout – It’s important to plan out what you’ll be placing where. This will help avoid mistakes that can cause problems in the future like overloading one circuit or not having enough outlets for certain devices.
4. Not doing your research on pricing – Pricing will vary based on supply, demand, and geographical location; always be sure to shop around for the best deals available before making a purchase.
5. Purchasing too many gadgets – Purchasing too many gadgets can cause confusion when trying to operate everything together smoothly. Smart homes are meant to make life easier, so it’s recommended not to install anything more than necessary in order to avoid making things complicated!
In Closing – The smart home technology industry is still in its infancy and growing rapidly thanks to lower costs associated with building better gadgets and appliances meant for a more connected future. With a little bit of effort and patience, one can easily turn their average house into a fully automated smart home which allows for seamless integration between devices/appliances inside the house controlled from anywhere in the world at any time.