What Is a Smart Home and Why do I want one?

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What is a Smart Home?

As simple as the question might seem, there really isn’t a single answer! The term Smart Home has evolved as quickly as technology has, and although it’s now a buzzword we hear everywhere there isn’t a formal definition of what constitutes a smart home.

In short, I would say a Smart Home is any house equipped with one or more devices that can automate tasks you would normally perform manually. Of course, that seems even vaguer of a description, and it definitely is, but as ample as that definition is, so is what you can do in a smart home.

Some homes might be fully integrated, having devices that automate lighting, security, audio, video, appliances, and more, while some others might have simpler systems, enabling only automation of lighting, but I would consider them both Smart Homes.

Internet of Things

Many people ask, “Why would I need or want a smart home?” I would answer it in a couple of ways. First of all, an automated and smart home allows you to simplify repetitive tasks, have fun, and even save money while doing it!

Smart Homes are a way to personalize your home and interact with your surroundings in new ways, but in addition to that, new appliances as well as the systems in our home are becoming smart themselves. It might not be something we think about when we are loading the dishwasher, but nowadays, even dishwashers can decide how to wash depending on a few settings (That’s pretty smart already, isn’t it?)

Everything around us has evolved to include smart technology, think of cars today, and compare them to what they were ten years ago. Take your average car today, for example.  You wouldn’t necessarily describe it as a smart car, but if you think about it more in detail, cars today are quite smart. They can detect and analyze our surroundings constantly, alerting us to other cars in the mirror’s blind spot, or letting us know we are getting too close to the next lane. Just like that, 10 years from now, we will see homes are smart homes.

What Can I do with a smart home?

When it comes to answering that question, we need to tap into our creativity a little, because technology today lets our imagination be the limit of what we can do with a smart home! Let me talk about a few of the most commonly automated areas of our home and how they can help you!

Mood Lighting

Lighting is probably one of the most common aspects to automate in our house. Automating our lighting can help us create a mood when we want a quiet dinner, save time turning off all the lights when we leave, and even add some security to your house while you are away on vacations, making it seem like there is someone home. Let’s think of how this could make our lives easier for example. First, let’s suppose all your lights are connected to a smart system. Now, whenever it’s time for you to leave your home you can just press a button or ask a voice assistant for all the lights in your home to be turned off. No need to go room by room checking to make sure you didn’t forget anything!

Another fun example would be to install some mood lighting in your living room! Whenever you want to have a romantic dinner, you could have all the main lights dim, and your mood lighting turns on light orange, setting the perfect atmosphere for a nice intimate dinner.

You get the idea! We could go on with more creative examples, but for now, I’ll let your imagination think about how you could apply it in your home!

Sonos speaker

Another very common aspect of our home to consider is having a smart audio system. It’s very easy to do with many of the new audio systems, which are automatically set up for this! Think of systems such as Sonos, or Amazon Echo. These examples are natively connected to the internet allowing you to stream audio from different sources, select music remotely using your phone or your voice, and integrate it into your overall smart home.

Now, I’m sure you can think of a more entertaining scenario in which you have both lights and audio together. Imagine our previous example for mood lighting, but now, add your favorite playlist to the mix. As soon as we ask our home to set up a romantic evening the light will dim, and our music will start playing in the background.

This example only combines audio and lighting, but you can already see why smart homes become a lot more interesting and attractive!

Another large area becoming increasingly automated is home security! Having peace of mind when it comes to your home is critical, and automating it makes it a lot easier for you to have control over what is happening around your house.

Automating your home security will let you easily manage your alarm system, door locks, surveillance cameras, doorbell, sensors, and more. You can get an automatic alert whenever there is movement around your home, or simply answer the front door from your cell phone even if you are not home.

Smart Lock

I mentioned imagination is the limit, and that’s very true. You can probably automate and come up with creative ways to connect just about anything in your home! Why not include the TV’s in your home, allowing them to start the morning news by just asking them to tune into your favorite news network?

Or how about waking up to some natural sunlight as the window shades roll up while your coffee machine starts brewing your favorite coffee and your wife’s favorite cappuccino?  Do you often forget to get your laundry when it’s done? Let your washing machine alert you as soon as it’s time for you to get it!

We talked a lot about the fun and interactive part of smart homes, but there is another aspect to consider. Smart homes will also help us save money by ensuring we know exactly what’s going on in our home and controlling it in an automated way. A few examples of how your smart home might help you save money could be by ensuring we use electricity only when we need it. Don’t worry about turning your AC down when no one is home, the thermostat can do that for you! Let your home turn lights off automatically when you leave the house making sure you aren’t wasting money by leaving them on or even detect a leak in your home before you get an astronomical water bill. By having your home use and monitor what is going on we can make sure we optimize the use of our resources saving us money while we have fun.

I hope these examples got you thinking of ways you’d like to integrate smart technology in your home! Once you are ready to start considering your Smart Home System I invite you to take a look at “Getting Started with Home Automation”

Comment below and let us know how you would automate your house!

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