Smart home upgrades have become hugely popular within the last decade, and many people are looking to get their hands on some of these great upgrades to make their daily lives a little easier. These devices are built to automate simple tasks (like a robot vacuum) or to complete the task much easier for you (like a wi-fi-enabled washing machine that alerts your phone when the load is finished), and that makes them popular with people of all ages. If you want to know a bit more about some smart home upgrades, keep reading to see X reasons you should consider these smart home devices.
What is Considered a “Smart Home Device”?
A smart home device is any device that allows you to control it from a different location (like your cell phone) or a device that controls itself after being programmed. These devices can be found in many different areas of the home, and there are plenty of other systems available that are likely compatible with your current cell phone or tablet.
Reason 1: They Appeal to Buyers
Smart home devices are designed to make your life easier, and that’s likely why so many people, and homebuyers, are looking for them to help with their daily needs. Being able to control it from somewhere else means that you can quickly turn it on or off when it is not needed, so there’s no need to worry about extra high bills from appliances being left on when they aren’t being used. They are also typically very user-friendly, which means everyone, from kids to seniors, will be able to get some great smart home automation benefits.
Reason 2: Plenty of Options Available
Upgrading your home to work for you might sound a little daunting, so it’s a good idea to start somewhere small and go from there. The first thing you want to consider is whether or not you wish to use a system that is built to be used together. Google Home and Amazon Alexa are popular smart speakers that are great beginner units for controlling small items, but they work best if they are used in conjunction with the same product line. Let’s look at a few other popular items you can start with if you want to make your home a little more high-tech.
Reason 3: Safety with the Nest Doorbell Camera
These handy little cameras have become incredibly popular with those who don’t want to stand by the door waiting for a package all day. The cameras are placed to face your front step, and you can set them up to give you alerts for movement or the doorbell. They are wi-fi enabled, and some come with a speaker option so you can let your courier know where to put your package from anywhere in the world with the push of a button.
These doorbell cameras are an excellent choice for anyone who wants to start with a simple, smart home upgrade. It’s also an idea for those with limited mobility or a large home, as you can see the approaching guest on your phone instead of rushing over to the front door. Many people also enjoy using these cameras for security purposes, and many people who have had issues with package theft reported that a visible Nest camera significantly reduced their number of stolen packages.
Reason 4: Convenience with Smart Lightbulbs
Everyone over a certain age will remember seeing commercials for “the clapper,” which was an outlet extension that recognized a clapping pattern and shut itself off. This was revolutionary at the time, but we have come a long way from clapping to turning off our lights. Smart bulbs are designed to be used with specific apps, and they allow you to turn the lights on and off (and sometimes change the colour or brightness) right from your phone.
Anyone who is concerned about their high energy costs should consider switching some of their most frequently used lights to smart bulbs. They are a bit more expensive than a regular light bulb, but it’s a great option for anyone who wants to start somewhere small. Being able to control the brightness is fantastic for your energy usage, and you will love being able to turn off any forgotten lights from your bed.
Reason 5: Save Energy using Smart HVAC Systems
These have become far more common in the last few years as many people have chosen to upgrade their HVAC systems in older homes. Installing a wi-fi enabled controller is very easy for seasoned HVAC professionals, and the system is often designed to be very user-friendly, which means you can figure it out quickly. This smart home automation can help reduce your energy bills by quite a bit, so it is well worth the small investment.
If you want to track your energy usage a bit more and save some money on your heating costs, this is a great idea to consider. You can control the heating or cooling from your phone, so you can turn off the system if nobody is home to enjoy it. You can also set your system on a timer so it can start up an hour before you arrive home, making coming home much better.
Reason 6: Save Water with Smart Irrigation Systems
If you have an irrigation system installed, it likely runs on a timer that allows you to control when the system runs, but there are systems out there that are far more advanced. Smart irrigation systems not only allow you to control when the water goes out, but it often tracks your water usage. Others even have a weather-related integration that ensures the system doesn’t run if an incoming rain is approaching, which will save you quite a bit of money.
These systems are a fantastic choice for an outdoor smart home automation idea that will keep your yard looking fresh and healthy without worrying about using too much water. These systems often use less water than a traditionally timed system, as they can be turned on and off when you need to. These systems are typically relatively easy for a landscaping company to install, and they’re perfect for anyone who wants their yard to look good.
Smart Home Hubs
We mentioned earlier in the article that there were a few different systems out there that work together, and these systems are designed to be used with a main hub. These hubs are speakers that are triggered by specific phrases, and they allow you to control many of the smart home upgrades we discussed. Let’s go through the two most popular hubs and talk about their advantages.
Google Nest with Google Assistant
Google is one of the most popular brands, and they have done a great job of building an entire line that can be controlled with their google nest speakers. These small speakers can be placed anywhere, and they are controlled with the phrase “hey, Google.” If you use Google for much of your communication, scheduling, or email, then using the Google system is a great idea.
Common uses include:
- Hands-free calling
- Multi-speaker sync for music playing
- Add events to your daily schedule
- Use voice search for instant responses to common questions
Amazon Echo with Alexa
If you are a savvy online shopper, then you probably heard about Amazon’s smart home hub, the Echo. Their system is fantastic for anyone who uses Amazon for their daily needs, and it’s controlled by using the name “Alexa” ahead of a question. The hub is a small speaker, but the Alexa assistant is also available through Amazon’s Fire Stick television remote.
Common uses include:
- Ordering items to your home using voice control
- Adding items to your amazon shopping list
- Music, audio, and podcast playback
- Games, jokes, and other fun Alexa skills that kids enjoy
Deciding What is Best for You
Both systems can be integrated with other products, but you have to make sure they are compatible before you start to buy everything all at once. The Google Nest hub is the most commonly used, so it is able to sync up with more products than the Amazon Echo. The Echo is great if you use Amazon often and you want something that will allow you to make simple purchases using your voice, but there are quite a few limitations to what you can actually buy using the system.
You should look at the specification for both devices (they are typically around the same price, so cost isn’t usually a factor) so you can figure out which one has the most features you will use.
Adding smart home upgrades to your home is a quick, simple, and inexpensive way to add some value, and it’s also a great way to make your time living there much easier. Starting small is a great idea for those who are a little nervous about all of the new technology, and once you are comfortable with using it, you’ll be itching to get more. These are just a few great ideas for smart home upgrades that you can find in many hardware stores and home improvement stores, but there are plenty of others on the market if you want to outfit your whole home with some helpful technology.