Internet of Things (IoT) is currently one of the most popular technology trends out there. This is for a good reason, as IoT represents a set of innovative developments that could eventually result in nearly every digital device being connected to the Internet in some manner, including those in your very own smart home.
While the majority of today’s technology coverage is focused on futuristic and innovative developments such as smart cities and artificial intelligence, IoT technology is different because it is already easily accessible for everyone. Regardless of their technical experience, the average homeowner (or apartment renter) can now take full advantage of the power provided by IoT technology through the creation of their very own smart home.
As is often the case with buzzword-heavy technology topics, figuring out the best way to approach the creation of your very first smart home setup can be difficult, especially for those with little technology experience. Thankfully, leveraging the Internet of Things throughout your own home is now easier than ever.
What Makes A Smart Home Truly “Smart”?
By definition, a smart home is any home or apartment that has been equipped with appliances, lighting or even plugs that can be controlled remotely by users via smartphone or computer.
In other words, unlike many of today’s leading technology trends (which can be jam-packed with confusing technology terms and jargon) the concept of smart home technology is readily accessible for anyone to understand. Typically, a smart home can be thought of as a collection of connected devices that communicate with each other and work together to automate common everyday tasks or other chores.
From home security and robotic vacuum cleaners to controlling air conditioning while away, smart home technology can truly do it all. With this being said, the key piece that ties everything together with any smart home setup is the voice assistant-powered smart speaker.
You can think of voice assistants like Google’s Home Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s Siri as the brains behind any modern home. Most consumers rely on smart speakers, which tend to come preinstalled with one of these popular smart assistants. In reality, it is the artificial intelligence behind these voice assistants that really put the smarts into your home, as this technology enables users to control everything in their home with simple voice commands.
Every Smart Home Is Different, Yet Powerful
While most smart homes will incorporate common features like home security and voice-controlled lighting, today’s Internet of Things has allowed for the creation of literally thousands of distinctly unique smart home setups.
This makes sense, as a person’s home is typically a creative expression of their own sense of style and personality. Every smart home is different, yet powerful thanks to the numerous different smart devices that allow users to customize their setup to fit their distinct interests.
For example, everyday household products ranging from light bulbs to refrigerators are now offered with IoT-based capabilities. Many of the companies creating these products are even offering these advanced functionalities as standard features, which means that creating your perfect smart home is now more affordable than ever.
In practice, this means that the sky is truly the limit when it comes to specing out your home setup. The IoT allows homeowners to effortlessly automate everyday tasks and household chores, which brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “there’s no place like home.”
When newbies first go about creating their own smart home, they tend to buy numerous components all at once. Believe it or not, it’s not unheard of for some people to spend over a thousand dollars on their first set of devices.
Needless to say, this approach can lead to a lot of wasted time and money. Most individuals will only make use of a few key features, while the rest of the technology they buy will sit idle, never to be used.
Instead of going crazy with your first batch of smart home devices, we suggest sticking to a budget of only a few hundred dollars at the very most. Look to prioritize features that you know you will use, and create a strong foundation with devices like:
- Smart plugs, which have the ability to turn everything from regular TVs to smaller appliances into “smart” devices at a fraction of what a new smart device would cost.
- An affordable smart speaker, which will act as the hub and help tie the functionality of your new smart devices together.
- Smart lighting, which will effortlessly transform your regular light fixtures into cutting-edge, modern smart lamps.
- A few premium features, such as a multi-room audio system or smart thermostat, which can provide a premium experience while sticking to your budget.
As is the case with constructing a house, the creation of a great smart home starts with the foundation. After you’ve integrated a few key smart devices into your home, you will be free to expand upon your existing setup as you like with more premium devices.
While there are countless guides out there, many of them fail to cover a critical point. When it comes to creating your perfect home, keep in mind the sort of features and functionalities that you would want to enjoy every day.
Bear in mind that you will have to pay premium prices for premium devices, so it may be a good idea to add these pieces to your smart home over time. With this being said, premium devices such as advanced security systems, smart door locks, or automated vacuum cleaners can really take your smart home to the next level.
Most importantly, at the end of the day, the right smart home for you is the one that fits within your budget and provides exciting features that will be enjoyed for years to come.