Imagine controlling the lighting, media players, and air conditioning in your home with a simple voice command. Imagine knowing that your refrigerator can help you place online orders for grocery delivery when you need more eggs or milk. Imagine controlling elements of your home from a phone app—even when you’re traveling.
These days, smart home technology is growing more and more common for all sorts of common objects, including the ones we use constantly in our everyday home life. And homeowners can take advantage of these advances in technology by creating smart homes that are wired for maximum comfort and convenience.
What is smart home technology?
In a nutshell, a smart home features devices that can be controlled remotely through computers, tablets, phones, and apps. Smart home technology can encompass just about any element in your home—including heating, air conditioning, lighting, appliances, televisions, sound speakers, security systems, and more. These devices can be linked to your personal devices like phones so that they are easy to control from anywhere, anytime, with the touch of a button or a simple voice command.
What advantages come with having a smart home?
The ability to control many aspects of your home’s functions from your computer or smartphone comes in handy. When devices such as indoor and outdoor lighting features are controlled from your mobile phone, it becomes much more convenient to simply turn up or down the lighting when you are gathered with friends and family. You can adjust air and heat without having to interrupt an important conversation.
Smart technology also enables you to oversee your home while you are away on vacation or at work. You can check security cameras as needed, or switch on the A/C on an unexpectedly hot day, so the house is cool and comfortable when you return home. You can even have the refrigerator check to see if you have the ingredients you need to cook a meal, and place an order at the grocery store if you need anything, saving you time and effort.
How easy is it to make your home a smart home?
It’s not nearly as complicated as you might think. In fact, there are several tools that make it simple and convenient to use today’s technology to make your home life more comfortably wired. Here are a few areas to consider if you are interested in taking advantage of creating a smart home.
Smart home assistants
You’ve heard of Amazon Alexa, right? Who hasn’t heard a commercial with someone asking Alexa to do something? Or perhaps you have a device that uses Siri. These voice-controlled programs—also known as smart assistants—use Bluetooth technology to listen to your commands and act on them. They search the Internet for information when you ask, play music on command, and can be used to control features of your home such as lighting and HVAC.
To integrate a smart assistant into your home, you’ll need a speaker that picks up your voice commands, such as the Amazon Echo, Google Home, Sonos One, or a similar speaker that connects to the Internet.
Today’s home security cameras are designed to integrate into wireless systems with relative simplicity. These devices can often be used as either a standalone device or as part of a larger security system, depending on your needs and goals. Consider incorporating inside cameras such as the Wyze Cam and the iCamera Keep Pro.
Also, keep in mind that there are many security cameras that can be hooked up to a doorbell—making it easy to monitor who is standing at your front door. Once triggered, they record footage and can even send the footage to cloud storage for later review. Such surveillance devices add an additional layer of protection to your home.
New cars aren’t the only devices that feature high-tech locks. Your home can too. Keyless entry systems can be installed on your home, and can be locked or unlocked with a mobile device or smart speaker that uses Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple’s Siri.
It’s easy to control your home’s heating and air conditioning once you install one of the new smart thermostat systems on the market. Not only can these devices be activated by voice command, but also many of them can allow you to control the temperature separately in various rooms or zones of your home. Some can even play music and give you the latest news and weather, just like a smart speaker can.
Devices like smart lighting are not just convenient—they’re also energy efficient. Homeowners can easily control the use of electricity in the home with smart lighting, thus managing utility usage and potentially lowering bills. Once a wireless smart lighting system is installed, homeowners have many choices of how to illuminate their home—including bulbs that can wirelessly be dimmed or brightened, or even change color to create many different moods.
These days, smart technology can be incorporated into just about anything you can imagine. Kitchen appliances such as coffee makers can be activated by voice command. Vacuums like the Roomba can be left to run automatically in the background, keeping your home constantly clean. There are even robotic pool cleaners and similar devices to keep your outdoor areas under control.
Choose the approach that works best for you
With so many options on the market, the best approach for your home is one in which you achieve your goals while remaining within your budget. A little investigation and research can help you narrow down your choices to the ones that fit your home the best.
If you’re currently considering how to make improvements or upgrades to your home, be sure to ask your contractor how they can help you to incorporate smart technology into your plans. At John McCarter Construction, we’re excited about the possibilities that smart technology offers, and we’d be happy to work with you on incorporating smart technology anytime you’re planning other exterior home improvements.