Are you thinking about launching SmartHome? Big! But don’t jump straight ahead without a plan. This is how you end up making common beginner mistakes. Instead, before you buy anything, you should ask yourself a few common sense questions.
What changes can you make to your home?
The creation of SmartHome involves various levels of installation of new technologies. Some gadgets, such as smart plugs and loudspeakers, are just as easy to plug into a power outlet. Others involve physical changes to your home, such as changing locks or doorbells.
But, depending on your home situation, you may not be able to make these changes. For example, if you rent out, you may not be allowed to change locks without permission. In some cases, the answer may always be no.
In other cases, the installation of technology may require some expertise. Are you comfortable with electrical work? What about working with plumbing in your home? If not, it restricts you from installing devices that are connected directly to your home or connected to your pipes. You would have to pay a professional to complete the installation, which adds to the price.
What do you want to achieve?
Once you know what changes you can make, it’s time to ask yourself what you want to achieve. Manufacturers these days seem willing to slap the radio on just about anything just to call it smart and sell it to you. For this reason alone, there are all kinds of SmartHome devices that you should avoid.
But to figure out which ones are right for you, you need to have a clear idea of what you want your smart home to do for you. If your main concern is to reduce energy consumption, then smart light bulbs, plugs, and a thermostat are the starting point.
On the other hand, if security is your goal, you should invest in smart locks, video intercoms, and other cameras. SmartHome technology can satisfy different needs and desires, and in most cases they even solve more than one problem. But start simple. Choose one goal to achieve and go after that first. Then expand.
Do you want to do it yourself?
At How-To Geek, we often focus on do-it-yourself technology, but you don’t have to do it yourself. Various companies such as Control4 and Savant offer customized SmartHome systems that you can purchase. You typically buy a centralized hub (sometimes a traditional SmartHome hub, but more often a full-fledged computer like a Mac Mini) and a range of devices like smart plugs, light bulbs, and even smart shades for your home.
Control4, Savant and others offer a single app solution to control your smart home. And they usually work with external services like Google Home and Alexa. These companies do all the hard work for you, but at an additional cost.
If you prefer to save money, then you can go the do-it-yourself route, which means choosing your hub, devices, and managing them yourself.
How much do you want to spend?
Once you have decided on a complete system or DIY route, you need to determine how much you want to spend. Completed systems usually offer packages, so this is a do-it-yourself route that includes more choice and choice.
You can build a good starter smart home for around $400, but you don’t have to start with all of these devices right away. If you know your goal with voice-controlled lamps and want to spend less than $40, then Wyze lamps are a great choice. On the other hand, if you have a bigger budget, you can upgrade to Philips Hue lamps.
This issue is not a single scenario. You must plan the milestones: “How much do I want to spend now? In six months? In a year? »Deploying your smart home in stages will help spread the costs.
Which voice assistant should you get?
While automation is the real superpower of the smart home, the reality is that most ordinary people control their smart home with a voice assistant. If you want to use the cloud in your home, Alexa or Google Assistant may be the most intuitive and powerful component of your smart devices.
But they are not the same. For example, Amazon Echo devices have a wider range of form factors, while Google is better at handling natural speech and web searches.
Some smart devices only support Alexa or Google Assistant, while others support both. Even among those who support both, features are not always equal. The Schlage Encode Wi-Fi lock supports voice unlocking with a pin code and procedures in Alexa, but not in Google, for example.
It’s very similar to choosing Android or iPhone. Both are capable systems that can meet most of your needs. But the little details matter. Whether it’s a missing iPhone-only app, or a missing integration found only on Google Assistant.
Will your family and guests like your smart home?
Do you live alone? If not (and to some extent, even if you do), other people will interact with your smart home. If the family, friends, or roommates who live with you hate your smart home and don’t want to use it, it will be harder for you to use yourself.
This is true when guests also come. If you don’t prepare them for the reality of the smart home, they may feel uncomfortable about it and stop coming in the future. You can mitigate these issues with a few steps to make your smart home easier for friends and family. But it all starts with a conversation about the benefits of a smart home.
Ultimately, if you have a spouse or kids who hate the idea of a smart home, you may want to think twice before investing in smart gadgets. At the very least, you must address these issues in a meaningful way so that everyone feels comfortable at home.
Don’t make the mistake of diving right into the first smart gadget that wins you over. Properly planning your smart home will save you from having to fix mistakes and buy gadgets in the future. And you will enjoy your smart home more.