Why Smart Home Technology Deserves your Attention

The idea of a ‘smart’ home isn’t a massive leap in logic from devices we are already used too. We rely on our smartphones every day to keep us organized and entertained; the concept of a “smart” device has been embraced by most. It has been over a decade since the first smart phones were released into the wild, and the technology has had time to mature.

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With refinement in smart technology came a new idea that is poised to change the way we live and enjoy our lives again. The internet of things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated machines, computers or other entities that have a unique identifier and the ability to transmit data to each other without the need for human to human or human to device contact.

So, what does this all mean for you? In a way, you may already have the beginnings of a smart home. If your smartphone and smart TV share the same network and can communicate, say, by casting your video to the TV, then the concepts behind smart technology may already be understood.  With smart home technology, you can take this further. Imagine being able to control not only your TV, but smart lights, smart fridges, and more.

There are a few core components of a truly connected home, but you can start small and add pieces over time as you see fit. All of these devices will need to be connected on the same network. Lets go through the components of a smart home now.

Smart enables devices

These devices could be anything from smart power switches to smart light bulbs. Essentially, these devices have the ability to transmit data through a wireless network. Smart lights can be controlled through a phone app, and some like the Phillips Hue lights series can change color and pulse patterns. Other smart-enabled devices, such as the power witch mentioned above, can be used to set up automation, this is a big deal, more on that later. Anything that has been designed to communicate with a smartphone or over a Wi-Fi network with other devices can be classified as a smart device. For brevity, we will include security systems in this category.

Voice assistants.

Products like Google’s voice assistant and Amazons Alexa are clever pieces of software that can recognize the user’s voice commands. These virtual assistants are housed in a speaker allowing them to communicate back to you or play music. These voice assistants are connected to your smartphone and can help you keep organized by keeping track of your schedule, notifying you of traffic jams and bad weather. Again, these voice assistants can play a huge role in a smart home, especially when it comes to automation.

Hubs and Networks

Hubs are a device that allows all of the smart-enabled devices to converge into one easy to understand place. Google’s imaginatively named “Google Home Hub” is a fine example of such a hub. These hubs will visually display information from your smart devices and allow you to control them without your smartphone. Think of this as a visual assistant instead of a voice assistant. These devices are especially practical; picture yourself cooking dinner, asking your home to show you recipes and instantly getting millions of recipes and even video instructions.

I have included networking gear and hubs as one category because these two systems are the “brain” of your smart home. All smart devices need to be linked through the same network; even if you want a single smart light, you will need a Wi-Fi network. In a single bedroom apartment, a basic router will be fine. For larger, more connected homes, more powerful networking solutions such as Linksys Velop will be required.

Automation

Now we know the essential components of a smart home, we can talk about why you would spend the money and go through the effort of setting one up! Automation is one of the coolest features of smart devices and opens up some interesting possibilities. With automation, you can turn your heater on and warm a room before you get home or have lights turn on as you enter a room.

Automation is taking the idea of a smart home to its full potential but requires some planning and a whole lot of smart devices and sensors. Home security can be streamlined by adding automation. For instance, if your system had a sensor light and a camera, with automation, you can set the camera to start recording if the sensor light was tripped.

Remote control

Setting up a fully connected smart home that comes alive as you come home sounds incredible, but it does require some effort. If you like to keep things simple, smart home technology still offers benefits. Being able to control aspects of your home remotely can simplify and improve your quality of life. Being able to view your security camera feed while on holidays is an excellent example of this.

Being able to monitor your smart home is remotely is energy efficient too. No more accidentally leaving lights or other devices on, you will be able to turn them off remotely from your phone. With smart locks, you can even unlock your home for a family member who has forgotten their keys.

Smart home technology has taken a while longer to gain acceptance in our lives and logically so. With all-new ideas comes a teething period and resistance from some who question the point of such technologies. Smart home technology has come a long way in a short amount of time, perhaps due to a surge in interest or general improvements in networking technology, and now it deserves your attention. The ability to monitor your home and control it remotely is the stuff of science fiction, but it’s here now. From the fun single, smart light in your bedroom, to a whole home designed from the ground up with smart devices, smart home technology could change the way we live forever

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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