You know that little nagging feeling you get when you leave the house… “Did I turn the coffee maker off?”. Or have you ever found yourself wondering if the kids got home from school safely? With a smart home, these worries and nagging thoughts are a thing of the past.
You’re able to connect your appliances, security cameras, and more to your smartphone or tablet. This allows you to connect to devices so you can monitor them (or the area around the device) when you’re not home. This article aims to explore smart home technology(as of June 2021), and help you decide if you could benefit from a smart home.
POPULAR SMART HOME TECHNOLOGY
With the rise of smart home technology, the concept of If This Than That (IFTTT) was born. The idea behind IFTTT is that if one item in your home can be smart and connected, then all the items in your home can be. So, if you get an automated assistant such as Alexa from Amazon, and are able to ask her to turn on your lights, then you should be able to ask her to turn anything in your home on and off…such as your coffee maker.
The IFTTT concept has driven more and more technology to be connected. Below are some of the most popular smart devices making their way into our homes.
- AUTOMATED ASSISTANTS/SPEAKERS: We mentioned Alexa earlier, she was a pioneer in AI. Since then, Google Home and the Sonos One have also introduced their own voice activated assistants. All of them have similar talents including playing a song request, telling a joke, playing the news of the day and controlling the rest of your smart home. You can ask your AI to turn on the tv and play your favorite show. You can ask them to dim the lights, raise your thermostat and more.
- HOME SECURITY: It’s impressive and comforting how many intelligent home security systems are available now. Many of them require a monthly monitoring or cloud storage plan, but the costs are much lower than traditional security systems. Your home security can be as simple as a smart doorbell, which allows you to talk with your visitors. Smart locks are available, there are also additional cameras and security lights that all work together. The Ring Doorbell was one of the original devices on the market, since then Wyze, Google Home and more brands have launched intelligent security tech.
- MONITOR YOUR FAMILY: Nanit has released a series of baby monitoring devices, with excellent night vision. Furbo has released a dog camera that also dispenses treats on your command and allows you to speak to your dog.
- SMART PLUGS: Finally, if you have a device that isn’t smart, but you’d like to be controlled by your smart home, there are a variety of smart plugs available. Anything from an antique floor lamp to a humidifier can be controlled through it. PC Mag rates Wyze, ConnectSense, and TP Link as the best smart plugs and power strips on the market.
The IoT: HOW SMART TECHNOLOGY WORKS
Smart technology is made possible by the Internet of Things (IoT).It’s a term for all the products that are interconnected as well as identifiable through online networks. Thanks to IPv6 we are actually physically able to connect - not just every computer to the IoT, but any and every object on earth.
For example, by connecting a tree in your backyard to the IoT, you would be able to visually monitor your yard, as well as monitor environmental factors such as the temperature and humidity. The IoT is being used in dangerous work situations to monitor machinery and more. This prevents a human from having to risk their safety. We’re also seeing the IoT in vehicles, monitoring the status of our cars and warning us of potential safety issues.
SETTING UP YOUR SMART HOME
Renovations and upgrades are a good time to think about installing this intelligent tech into your home. If you’re updating your kitchen, for example, you may want to consider a smart fridge or light fixtures.
Most smart technologies are designed for the average homeowner to install on their own. You need Wi-Fi and will often need to input your Wi-Fi password into the devices. Some of the devices such as smart locks are programmed through the actual device, while others such as lights need to be set up through an app on your phone.