Your Guide To Turning Your Home Into A Smart Home (And Must-Have Gadgets)
We used to imagine a smart home from movies – talking to friends on virtual screens, having robots that clean and cook. With more and more smart home appliances, such as robotic vacuum cleaners and smart bulbs, appear on the market, a smart home is now a possible and affordable reality. The emergence of home automation systems such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant also make tasks like controlling electronic devices and monitoring alarm systems become automated and effortless.
In this guide, we will talk about smart home, home automation system, the must-have smart home gadgets and a step-by-step guide to turning your home into a smart home. Furthermore, we will address the security concern and share practical tips on troubleshooting potential issues.
What Is A Smart Home?
A smart home is a place where devices can be controlled remotely through a mobile app or voice assistant. The devices are ‘smart’, since they can communicate with each other to perform tasks automatically. Not only you can set automated routines on tasks like vacuuming and mopping, but you can also have better control on their performance, therefore enhance energy efficiency, security and convenience.
What Are Home Automation Systems?
Home automation systems allow you to control smart devices remotely through the internet, usually on a central hub or mobile app. In a smart home, users relies on the home automation system to give commands to and monitor the performance of utilities and smart gadgets, simply on a user-friendly interface.
In 2022, the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) announced Matter, an open-source technology that aims to improve the compatibility and security for smart home devices. Previously smart devices can only pair with dedicated home automation systems, much like how the Apple products can only use IOS system. This makes the public hesitate from purchasing more smart home features because of how time-consuming it is to set them up.
With Matter, different systems can now communicate with each other. No matter what smart device you pick up, as long as it has a Matter logo on it, it will be compatible to their app, making the setup process much quicker and easier. The smart gadgets, regardless of the brand and models, will be able to connect with your current smart home system right away. From there, you can control all your smart home solutions on a single interface, one step forward in turning your house into a smart home.
Must-Have Smart Home Gadgets And Their Applications
Smart home devices are designed to simplify everyday tasks and enhance your lifestyle. Here are the must-have gadgets for your smart home:
Automatic vacuums are one of the most popular cleaning robots on the market now. They are designed to navigate around the room, avoid obstacles, identify debris and clean the floor, all by themselves. A smart vacuum and mop combo is also a highly sought-after option, automated two cleaning tasks at once. Once automatic vacuum cleaners finishes cleaning, they will find their own way back to the docking station to recharge. For some premium models such as ECOVACS’ DEEBOT series, the all-in-one OMNI Station* can even automatically empties the dustbin, as well as clean and dry the mopping head, ensuring a complete hand-free experience.
*OMNI Station: Available on DEEBOT T20 OMNI and DEEBOT X1 OMNI, the station features may vary dependant on specific model.
Smart lighting and bulbs are not only remotely controllable, but also allow the users to adjust colour and brightness to create different ambiences. You can even save your preferred settings to recall them later from your mobile, tablet, or computer. Other than that, by creating random lighting schedules when away from home, you can deter potential burglars away. Smart bulbs can also conserve energy by setting lighting schedules and automated lighting routine.
Smart home security systems work with motion sensors and cameras indoor and outdoor, allowing users to monitor the surroundings of their home remotely through mobile phone, tablet, or computer. With devices like smart doorbells incorporating cameras, you can see who's at the door, and deter potential burglars away. Also, you can use the smart doorbells to accept deliveries even when you're not home, saving waiting time for packages.
Smart entertainment systems, such as smart TVs, speakers, and streaming devices, allow control through mobile phones or voice commands. If you have several smart speakers installed in different rooms, simple sync playlists to all of them or play different tracks on each one, creating a personalized listening experience. They offer a convenient way to manage entertainment at home and enhance viewing and listening experiences.
There are many smart voice assistants on the market, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Homekit, as well as Matter as mentioned above. These smart assistants integrated different smart home gadgets and allow you to manage them in a single interface. You can also enjoy a hands-free experience by giving orders via voice control. From turning the smart bulbs on or off, to finding a song that you heard randomly, they offer a seamless control over the smart home system.
How To Turn Your House Into A Smart Home
Give a step-by-step guide to how the reader can get started on making their home into a smart home.
Assess Current Set-up:
Explain evaluating wire infrastructure, Wi-Fi coverage and device compatibility
The first step in turning your home into a smart home is to assess your current setup. This involves evaluating your wire infrastructure, Wi-Fi coverage, and device compatibility. Since smart gadgets and systems requires internet network to connect, ensure that there is a strong Wi-Fi connection is a priority. Also check if your smart devices are compatible with the home automation system, so that you will be able to manage them in one place.
Pick Smart Assistant:
Choosing a smart assistant ecosystem will determine the device compatibility and other factors moving forward. Smart assistants are not compatible with each others, therefore after you pick one smart assistant, the odds are you will have to buy other smart devices within that ecosystem. This may change over time with Matter, the smart home standard that allows different systems to communicate with each other. Yet for now, you will have to follow the family of product once you select a smart assistant system. Popular home assistants, or often called ‘smart speakers’, include Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. Each has its own pros and cons, for instance, Alexa is connected to the Amazon, making it easy to buy groceries from the site. It's always recommended to research on each and choose the one that works best for you.
Essential Components Of A Smart Home:
To set up a smart house properly, one can start by identifying key areas in the home for automation, such as lighting, security systems, and entertainment systems. In each area, ensure there is strong Wi-Fi connectivity for seamless connection. For weird corners and rooms located far from the router, consider adding an amplifier to strengthen the signals. On the other hand, check if there are enough power outlets to power all the smart home features, especially for smart doorbells, sensors and cameras, it is important to keep them on all the time for security reasons.
Understanding Wi-Fi, Bluetooth And Hub Control:
There are several connectivity options available when it comes to smart home systems. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are the most common connectivity options, and there are other connectivity options such as Z-Wave and Zigbee. When choosing a control hub, ensure that it is compatible with the devices you already have or plan to purchase, since some hubs work with specific brands, while others are more universal. Also check with they can accommodate new devices and upgrades in the future, and lastly, look for the security features such as encryption and user authentication to protect your smart home system from unauthorized access and data leaks.
Choosing Smart Devices for Entry-Level Automation:
Before going all-out and invest in every smart gadgets, it is a good idea to start with beginner-friendly smart appliances and slowly adding more devices along the way. Our DEEBOT robotic vacuum cleaners would be a good one to start – it can quickly pair with Google Assistant, and with premier features like TrueMapping technology, strong suction power, OZMO Turbo mop and the all-in-one docking station, it can automatically navigate around the space, vacuums and mop floors, then empty the dust and debris, self-clean the mopping head and recharge for the next cleaning routine by itself. By setting regular cleaning routines, you can completely hand off the cleaning tasks to DEEBOT and spend more time on other important things.
Set Up Wi-Fi Network:
In order to improve security, set up a separate Wi-Fi network exclusively for your smart home appliances. This prevents data leaks accidentally when you’re using your phone or tablets. Ensure that Wi-Fi networks are password-protected, and firmware updates are regularly installed.
While it is tempting to name your smart devices with funny names, it could get confused with more devices added to the list. Try grouping devices by location and types, for example, living room speaker 1 and bedroom light 1 & 2, so that you can identify the device easily.
On the other hand, creating automation routines can make your life more convenient. For example, set the lights off and turn alarms on when the sensors sense that you leave home, or dim the lights and turn the sound bars on when you put a movie on. Start by setting simple automation and routines and work your way up.
DIY vs. Professional Installation:
After picking up smart home solutions, install them properly is next. For smart home gadgets such as smart bulbs and robot floor cleaners, setting up is rather easy and most people can handle themselves. Follow the manual and simply plug them in, connect them to the Wi-Fi network and pair them with smart home, then you’re good to go. For more complex systems such as the security systems, it is advisable to hire a professional to ensure proper installation. If you have any questions, always consult with the professionals.
Addressing Smart Home Security Concerns
While smart homes bring convenience and efficiency, some raises concern about security and privacy. They questioned whether their private data will leak to the public once the smart home devices are connected to the cloud; or if hackers can hack into the smart home gadgets and reveal their private information. Since devices are constantly connected to the internet and collecting personal information, it's crucial to take steps to protect your data.
The first rule of thumb for preventing hackers from accessing the smart devices is to always use strong passwords and change them regularly. It is also recommended to use encrypted Wi-Fi, install a firewall and always buy from reputable stores.
Another concern is the collection and use of personal data. Set up two-factor authentication and biometric authentication whenever possible to protect privacy. Moreover, consider using a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt internet traffic. For old devices, disable them from the smart home systems. Another safety measures would be to avoid using a public network to manage your smart devices.
Finally, be mindful of who has access to your smart home devices and information. Never share login information with others, and always set up a separate Wi-Fi for guests.
Troubleshooting Smart Home Gadgets
Just like other electronic devices, smart home gadgets will experience technical issues. Here are some troubleshooting tips:
Restart the device
Sometimes the gadgets may be frozen and not responsive. In most cases, simply restarting the device can resolve the issues.
Next, check if the device is well-connected to the internet, and if the Wi-Fi signal is strong. A weak signal may cause connectivity problems.
From time to time, manufacturers will launch new updates to solve the bugs in the program. Update the software regularly is always a good idea to keep it running.
Reset the device
If the above troubleshooting cannot resolve the issue, you may try resetting it to its factory settings. Refer to the manual on how to reset the device.
Contact customer support
If you have any questions along the way, do not hesitate to contact the manufacturer for further assistance.
How do you make a house into a smart house?
To turn a house into a smart house, you can invest in smart devices such as smart speakers, robotic vacuum cleaners, smart bulbs, and smart security systems. You can control them remotely through an app or voice commands, making your home a convenient, efficient and secure place.
How much does it cost to install a smart home system?
Depending on the devices and smart home systems you choose, the installation costs varies. While some people with a certain level of knowledge may opt to do it themselves, for those who hire a professional for the job, installing a smart home system can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
What are the benefits of a home automation system?
There are many benefits by installing a home automation system. Since many house chores are automated, it increases convenience and allow you to spend more time in meaningful things. By monitoring remotely and setting automation routines, you can improve energy efficiency, enhanced security, and generally greater control over your home environment.