What is a smart home?

When we think of a smart home what is the first thing that comes to mind?

Skynet.

Apart from taking over the world and causing an apocalyptic war between robots and humans (The Terminator), smart homes have been designed to help make our lives more convenient, safer, cost effective and comfortable.

A smart house is a residence that uses internet-connected devices to enable homeowners to remotely control, monitor and manage appliances and systems, such as lighting, heating, and garage doors.

It provides a single point of communication for all devices connected on the network, which can be accessed anytime, anywhere from your smartphone.

What are the benefits of a smart home?

Smart homes is still a relatively new concept with many skeptical households operating the old fashion way, but turning your home into a smart home could be the best decision you have ever made.

The benefits of home automation helps you save on energy costs, create a safer environment for the family, and gives you full control of your home.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest benefits that a smart home provides.

  • Save on energy

Smart thermostats allow homeowners to schedule, monitor and remotely control their home temperatures.

The devices are also capable of learning your behaviours and automatically adjust the settings to provide you with maximum comfort and efficiency.

Smart lightning systems can detect when you or your family enter a room and automatically adjust the lighting as needed. They also regulate themselves based on daylight availability.

  • A safer environment

Smart locks and garage-door openers give you the power to grant or deny access to visitors.

They also have motion sensors which have the ability to detect when you are nearby and automatically unlock the door for you.

Smart cameras can be linked up to your home network where you can access live footage via an application on your mobile phone giving you full coverage of your home around the clock.

  • Take control of your home

A smart home gives you control of each aspect of your home, whether it is temperature, lightning or security.

With automation technology, you can know exactly what is happening inside and outside of your home at all times.

  • Live comfortably and conveniently

A smart home allows you to control everything all from the palm of your hand and through automation.

You can open the garage door using an application from your mobile or automate your coffee machine to brew your morning coffee at 7am every morning.

You can even set triggers between devices to automate your regular home processes such as setting your smart locks to turn on your smart lightning when you unlock the front door.

There are smart fridges that will keep track of expiration dates, create shopping lists, and even create recipes based on the ingredients you have in your fridge.

If you’re feeling lazy, like me, you can set adaptive lightning, sound, and temperature to create a synchronized environment catered to your needs.

How to turn your home into a smart home

Here are some simple tech upgrades to turn your home into a smart home.

Smart security

Home security cameras has been around for some time now and is usually connected to your home network that can be monitored from your computer.

With the introduction of smart home technology, you can now monitor any camera you setup within your home from your smartphone at any time.

Taking your home security to another level, smart locks or electronic locks can be placed on your doors which can require either a 4 digit access code or use bluetooth technology. These locks can be connected to your smartphone and unlock when you place your phone on the reader. You can even get fingerprint readers.

There are motors in the market that allow for Wi-Fi connectivity, such as the Merlin MYQ Commander from Gryphon Garage Doors Perth. This gives extra control and peace of mind if you’re away from the home and unsure whether the door is open or not. You can also set a timer for when the door will open and close. However you can convert most motors with a Bluetooth unit that allows you to open your door from your smartphone, usually costs around $300.

Smart lighting

Connect your smart lightning to your wi-fi and control it from your smartphone or voice activated assistants such as Amazon Echo or Google Home.

Smart plugs

Smart plugs give you the benefits of automation and smart home access for all electrical appliances when plug them into sockets around your home. They can be controlled via a smartphone application and help you monitor your energy usage and save on energy bills.

Automated climate control

Take control of your homes temperature with a smart thermostat that allows you to remotely control the temperature from your smartphone, tablet, or PC.

Smart entertainment system

Multi-room audio and multimedia systems provided by companies such as Vision Living, allow your music or radio to follow you around your home. By adding sensors to your home, they will sense when you enter or leave a room to have your entertainment follow you just like in the movies.

You can also group all of your favourite entertainment appliance controls into one mobile application allowing you to control it from the palm of your hand. Imagine turning the television volume down from your bedroom because the kids had it on too loud.

Popular devices that can be found in smart homes include a Google Home or an Amazon Echo which allow users to speak to the device just like asking Siri a question on an iPhone.

Is this the beginning of the end?

As technology continues to advance we are able to achieve far more than we ever could. From automatic brewed coffees, to self cleaning house robots, and even fridges that keep track of expirations as well as create recipes.

We essentially live from the palm of our hands, with everything remotely controlled from our smartphones.

But this is where skeptics have a leg to stand on. With great technology comes a greater need for cyber security.

With so many devices controlled and accessible on a single network, it becomes easy for thieves to hack into peoples homes. This allows them to unlock doors, control cameras and turn off smart  lighting.

In addition, many smart home owners are worried about the privacy of their data that is shared by their smart home devices.

Since smart home device and platform manufacturers may collect consumer data to better tailor their products to offer new and improved services to their customers.

At this stage it doesn’t seem like Skynet will be taking over anytime soon. Smart homes, just like smartphones, will eventually become an integral part of living as we look towards a safer but more convenient future.