A smart home guide for beginners
So for my first post I thought it would be best to make an introduction in to the world of smart home technology and home automation. So get yourself comfy and discover the fantastic technologies that are now available to us. Here we will find out what technologies are available, the pros and cons and how they can benefit you in the Smart home guide for beginners.
Why have a smart home?
This is actually a valid argument here, after all you can just flick a switch to turn off the light correct? Perhaps like me you believe it is more of a gimmick and would disappear like so many other technologies. However, once I started I quickly realized that certain things around the house were far more convenient than they used to be. Everybody will have their own reasons but for me it was having a small child.
Having a smart home has helped in many ways with having a little one. For starters while I was putting him to sleep I could slowly dim the lights either controlled via an app or voice. The same could be said for when he woke up! Instead of blinding him with the full light and having a hard time of settling him off again I could just set his light to 10 percent. I am a new father so I did not understand what a blessing this was until I actually had it.
It is not all about convenience either these light bulbs can also save you money in the long run. Some have the ability to change colors and with accent lighting you can instantly change the mood of any room. You can also operate these lights away from home or even automate them to come on and off at certain times. So any criminal thinking of going for your home might think twice when it seems someone is there.
For me I started with lighting but it doesn’t end there. You can get personal assistants which can answer all your questions, tell a joke or play music. The assistants can also operate many smart home devices with voice alone. You can also get smart locks, some which can unlock via an app, key fob and so on. No more locking yourself out and needing a lock smith, (not that I have done that).
The list is pretty much endless and there are more brands popping up almost daily, Because of this it can get quite confusing.
Are there any problems with smart home equipment
Technology wouldn’t be technology if there weren’t some mishaps and glitches a long the way. There have been many times my Alexa personal assistant has just gone plain crazy and started speaking gibberish. Also, personal assistant devices like the Alexa/Echo range are cloud based and will not work at all without internet. Any problem with your network then there will also be a problem with your assistant.
Then there is compatibility as not all devices work with other devices. I found out the hard way by purchasing something, getting excited to plug it in only to find my set up either didn’t work well or not at all. I would advise to read all descriptions and reviews on any product you want to buy to save your self money and time. There will be also be reviews for technology I have used and I will make sure to add what works and what doesn’t.
Then there is the security aspect and how safe is using this equipment. Do we now have any privacy? This is such a large topic which I do intend to tackle soon but needless to say anything online comes with a certain amount of risk. You can cover and protect yourselves much like you would do for your Facebook account but you should always take care of security and your privacy online or not.
Isn’t this expensive?
The short answer here is yes, the prices on top brands especially are very high and the entry point is pretty steep. However, there are cheaper brands I have found that work very well and in some cases better. You don’t always have to buy the best name just make sure you get the right product for you and at the right price.
I am also not a rich man, I earn an average wage but still have managed to grow my smart home. Rather than getting every cool gadget and spending a fortune you could get one item and see how it works for you. If it works well and you are enjoying it then why not treat yourself to another item? That’s what I did and the impact was not so bad financially.
Another good thing is I am starting to see deals and reductions from what I started with. The more people that adopt the technology the cheaper it gets. If you are afraid of investing just yet perhaps keep an eye out instead.
OK so where to start and what rooms can I do?
Literally any room you have in your home can be made smarter and even traditional “dumb” technology can be given a smarter edge. Your hallway can have smart sockets that can turn on or off, sensors to switch lights on for that midnight when nature calls moment. Your bedroom can have a smart assistant which can control the lighting or set an alarm for the dreaded start to the morning. You could even put L.E.D. light strips under the bed to set the mood for an evening with the other half.
There are a range of security smart devices and recently outdoor smart lights are popping up and gaining popularity. You can even get smart devices for the kitchen but these are still very expensive at the moment.
For me the most logical thing to start with was the place we would spend most of our time. The living room is usually where everyone spends large amounts of time, watching TV, playing games or spending time with family. This for me was where I wanted to start my little smart home hobby. I also wanted to do the baby’s nursery so that was high on the agenda.
Where you start is a matter of choice and taste. Would you need an assistant more in the kitchen to set timers and listen to some music while you cook? Or would you prefer like me to start in the family room?
Getting set up with a smart home I believe is always a good idea to start with a personal assistant. They are pretty cheap, fun to use and are very useful. They can be your entertainment, your music player, reminder, calendar, some can make calls and others can play Netflix/YouTube on your television.
Its amazing to think that a few years ago that would have been many devices dotted around your home and now it comes in the form of a tiny speaker. I am a technology geek!
So having a smart home can be a wonderful new way not only to automate mundane tasks but to bring new life in to your home. It is often funny, entertaining, useful and before too long you will wonder what you did without it. However, it doesn’t come without its problems and having a stable internet connection, privacy, price point are all things that you may want to consider before you make the plunge. I personally feel like I am in the future and absolutely love it but that is for you to decide.
I hope you have enjoyed this smart home guide for beginners and have managed to find some value in it. It is only basic for beginners because I couldn’t possibly write it all in one post. There will be more in depth posts in the future so please feel free to comment I would love to hear off you all.