In the last few years, smart home gadgets have really taken off and become more convenient than ever. You can now check in on your front door while on vacation and tell your oven to preheat from the next room.
Those Alexa and Ring commercials make it look so easy, but it can be overwhelming knowing where to start with your own smart home project. You may even wonder just what benefits smart gadgets will offer.
Convenience is a big reason that people use voice activated speakers and other smart home devices. 57% of Americans state that smart home products save them about 30 minutes per day.
Security also tops the list of smart home benefits. Smart security systems can alert you through a smartphone app when anyone is at your door and allow you to check on the kids while you’re at work.
Entertainment is a big area of the smart home world as well. Smart home theatre setups with surround sound and voice activated smart TVs are something everyone can enjoy.
Cost savings is also on the table. Smart home thermostats can help consumers lower energy bills through automated controls and smart lighting can do the same.
There are definitely several options out there when it comes to smartphone components. Just a few of these include:
- Smart security cameras
- Smart thermostats
- Smart lighting
- Smart appliances
- Voice assistants (Google Home, Alexa, etc.)
- Smart plugs that make non-smart household items “smarter”
- Smart detectors (smoke, carbon monoxide)
- Smart video phones
- Smart trash cans
- Smart locks
- Smart vacuums (Roomba, etc.)
- Smart fitness gadgets
The best way to build your smart home is to do it one step at a time based upon your family’s needs.
Steps to Build Your Dream Smart Home Setup
Add Simple Things First
If you try to go too big, too fast, you could end with a “less than smart” home that isn’t making your life any better because you’re not sure how to use everything.
Each smart home system is going to have its own learning curve and there’s no reason to ramp up them all at the same time. Once you’ve got one smart gadget down, then you can add another component and begin to integrate them.
You may want to start with something like a smart thermostat or smart light bulbs. Both can save you money by helping reduce energy costs, giving you more to spend on future smart additions.
If you start with something more complex, like smart locks, you could end up having major inconveniences with being locked out or in while you’re ramping up the smart home learning curve.
Use Internet of Things (IoT) Security Best Practices
One thing you want to do at the very beginning of your smart home project is to adopt best practices for smart device security.
The average amount of time it takes for IoT devices to be attacked after they’re connected to the internet is just 5 minutes.
Hackers know all the manufacturer default logins that too many people don’t change, and they use those to gain access to a smart device. Once a hacker has access to one device on a network, they can often get to others, like your computer or smartphone.
Any time you set up a new smart device, you should follow these safety precautions:
- Change the default username and password
- Use a strong password
- Download and install any firmware updates (and continue to check for these regularly)
- Disable any features you don’t need (UPnP and other discovery/sharing features)
- Create a “guest” network on your Wi-Fi for only smart devices to use
- Use a non-descript device name (not the brand, model, or location)
Add a Central Voice Control Like Alexa or Google Assistant
As you add more smart gadgets, you can make your entire home even smarter by connecting them all using a voice assistant.
Smart gadget controllers like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and others give you more control over your entire smart home.
By connecting all your devices to one of these central control devices, you can control smart gadgets via voice command instead of having to manipulate an app.
You can also connect smart gadget functions. For example, you can have your smart light in the hallway glow red when your smart doorbell camera senses someone at the door.
The central voice controller allows you to bring all the parts of your smart home together to make your devices even more helpful and convenient.
Check Integrations as You Build Your Smart Home
Once you’ve got a smart voice assistant controller in place, you’ll save yourself some grief by checking that any new smart home devices are compatible with it before you buy.
Some smart home products will be compatible with more than one controller, while others will only work with Alexa, or Google, etc.
Get Help Building Your Dream Smart Home
Two River Computer technicians are experts at smart home setup and maintenance. We can ensure your smart New Jersey home is set up securely and efficiently.
Contact us today to learn more. Call 732-747-0020 or reach us online.