What is a Smart Home?
What is a smart home? I remember going to a model house more years ago than I would like to admit. Home of the future, it was called, but really it was the beta version of the 2022 smart home.
Smart homes were created to be energy-saving, convenience-increasing modern homes. Today, products like Google Nest, Alexa, and other smart hubs are the backbone of the modern home. Smart home hubs allow the homeowner to control a multitude of devices like thermostats, lights, TVs, door locks, and home appliances, all conveniently from their phone or tablet.
Smart hubs, what are they really? A smart hub is a device that allows you to link all your smart devices together to be controlled by one centralized app or software. These devices use Bluetooth or Zigbee/Z-wave protocols to communicate rather than WiFi. Perhaps the most important consideration when choosing a smart hub is the compatibility of your already owned smart devices.
SmartThings is Samsung’s smart hub this widely used and versatile. It is compatible with both Zigbee and Z-wave technology. SmartThings is a user-friendly smart hub that is fast and simple to set up and easy to operate. SmartThings hub currently does not support Bluetooth but already has the hardware for future updates to allow this feature to work.
Hubitat is another very powerful smart hub similar to SmartThings. However, you need to be very tech savvy to use its advanced features when setting up automation and skills. Hubitat is not for the causal user; even advanced users may find it difficult to set up.
Many people have heard of the Google Nest thermostat, but there is also a Google Nest Hub. The Google Nest Hub has a display that will allow you to quickly look at what’s going on in each room. Google Nest Hub also comes with Google Assistant, allowing for voice activation. Google Nest Hub works with all Google smart devices but may be limited when it comes to other brand devices. Be sure to check that all your previously owned devices will work with this hub.
Home Assistant is different than the previously mentioned smart hubs as it is software, not a hardware product. Home Assistant is an open-software designed for home automation and can be used with voice assistants like Google Assistant or Alexa. Additionally, it can be used through third-party apps for Android and iOS alike. If you are interested in home automation but are not as tech-savvy to take advantage of Hubitat, Home Assistant might be a good choice for you.
HomeKit is Apple’s contribution to smart home hubs. It is compatible with all Apple smart devices and many other brands. However, HomeKit still lags behind Google Nest Hub and Amazon Alexa, who partnered with thousands of brands to HomeKit’s few dozen. HomeKit would be a good option for your smart home if you own all Apple devices.
Alexa is a voice assistant that has partnered with thousands of companies to make home automation simple and quick for even novice users. While most Alexa devices are not smart hubs, Amazon has recently put out a few devices that incorporate smart hubs as well. The new Alexa 4th gen Echo Plus and Echo Show are two devices that include BLE and Zigbee technologies that further increase the power of these units.
What are Smart Devices?
What are smart devices? The most common smart device is the smartphone, but many more devices are available for your home automation and convenience.
One of the best smart devices is smart thermostats. With a smart thermostat like the Google Nest, you are able to control your home’s temperature from anywhere. You can also set up schedules to keep your home cool at its optimal temperature when you need it to be.
Smart locks are also a very convenient way of securing your home. Smart locks allow you to lock and unlock your door from any location. Laying in bed and wondering if you locked the door? Check the app. Need to unlock the door for the cleaner? You can unlock it from your office or from the beach. Some locks allow you to program unlock codes, which is convenient for your short-term rental.
Smart plugs allow you to power anything on that you plug into to the wall socket. Smart plugs work for basic items like lamps and accent lighting.
Smart switches can be used to control lights and ceiling fans. Smart switches can be used to cycle the power on and off. Creating schedules adds security to your home when you are going to be gone on vacation or out late.
Your home security can also be a smart device too. There are several WIFI systems that can be self-installed and some that work without WIFI too. You can set up a series of indoor and outdoor cameras that can be monitored on your TV. Your home alarm can also be a smart device, a DIY kit installed and monitored by a security company.
Voice assistants are one of the best ways to add convenience to your life. With a smart hub, you can control your home automation with verbal commands. Most of us are well aware of voice assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. We use them to give us the weather, play our favorite music, or search the web. When you dive deeper into home automation, you will see the vast possibilities that voice assistants offer.
Power outages – What Happens to Your Smarthome When the Power Goes Out?
This is a very common question with a very simple answer. Unless your home has a backup generator, most of your smart devices will not work, that is, if they do not have battery backup power. When people ask this question, they are normally referring to smart locks and alarms, so when purchasing items like these, be sure they have the battery backup feature.Back to Blog