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Five Tips on How to Make Your Home “Smart”

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If you need help setting up your voice-controlled smart home, you’re in the right place. A smart home is not all about super cool robots and gadgets. Almost anything in your house can be connected to the vast network called the Internet of Things (IoT), and you can control it remotely by using a smart speaker or a mobile phone. You merely need to replace your appliances with their automated versions (smart security systems, smart thermostats, etc.)

What is a smart home?

By definition, it is a home that has appliances, air conditioning, computers, TVs, lighting, heating, security and cameras, which can be controlled in real time remotely from any location or from any room in the house, because they are connected via the Internet and are able to communicate with one another. They are typically controlled either by using a voice-controlled device called a smart speaker, which acts both as a command relay and a playback device, or a mobile phone/tablet app. So how do you get started?

1. Choose a voice-controlled smart speaker

Smart speakers are wireless speakers which come with a smart, virtual assistant and an app. They are usually activated by using a “hot word.” The app is used for registering and accessing smart home devices, which can be controlled using voice commands via the speaker. There is a variety of smart speakers to choose from, and it is mainly the matter of personal preference and compatibility. The most popular ones are Apple’s HomePod, Amazon’s Echo and Google Home.

2. Install smart lighting

This one is pretty easy because it involves switching your old light bulbs for the smart ones. They do not only save energy but they also help you when you feel too lazy to get up from the couch to turn the switch off. You can buy them in the majority of shops selling standard bulbs. One brand offering starter kits and compatibility with almost all smart assistants (Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant) is Philips Hue.

3. Install smart plugs

Smart plugs are used to turn regular appliances into smart appliances. With the help of the smart plug which uses Wi-Fi, you can control your device from anywhere through an app. For some appliances to work, they need to be rather simple – meaning they only have an on/off switch and a single working mode. Some top-rated smart plugs are Belkin WeMo Insight Smart Plug, iHome iSP6X SmartPlug, iHome iSP100 Outdoor SmartPlug, and Aukey Wi-Fi Smart Plug.

4. Invest in smart appliances

Smart plugs can’t work for all appliances, so having smart appliances is the way to go. You can now buy smart TVs, ranges, cooktops and ovens, refrigerators, washers and dryers, dishwashers, air-conditioners and heaters, and even vacuum cleaners! And when you think there is nothing else that can be automated there is always Smartduvet, which can turn your regular bed into a “Dual-Zone Climate-Controlled Self-Making Bed.”

5. Set up smart home-security systems

Home-security has come a long way, from complicated panels to more secure, convenient and useful systems you can find today. You can use your mobile phone to control motion sensors, smart locks and wireless cameras installed at your home. A “starter kit” consists of a wireless camera and a few sensors, but some systems, which are on the pricey side also include adding more cameras and sensors and smoke and burglar alarms, as well. Smart doorbells use a camera to record who is ringing the doorbell when you are away from home, and they also notify you if someone is at the door. Some of the most highly-rated security systems are: Samsung SmartThings Starter Kit, Brinks Home Security, Vivint Smart Home and Honeywell Evohome Security Kit 2.

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