A Beginner’s Guide to Smart Homes
Today, it seems like everywhere you turn you will hear about smart devices or the Internet of Things (IoT). A quick search on Google gives you some basic definitions, but you still might not understand what they are and what they can do for you. By the end of this article, you will know what smart home devices are and why they are the way of the future for making your life easier.
What Is a Smart System for Homes?
A smart device home, by its simplest definition, is a home that includes electronics that are interconnected to larger systems and other items within the home. Smart devices talk to each other and perform tasks without any input from you. You can set them up as you wish and program them to do things at certain times of the day or week.
This is often referred to as the Internet of Things, or IoT. The IoT simply refers to a system of devices that communicate with each other and with larger systems to do things within your home like turn off the lights at a certain time or provide home security. Now, let's explore some of the various devices that are available and how they can make your life easier.
Why Consider Smart Devices?
If you search for “smart devices” on Google or Amazon, you might be surprised at the number of these readily available devices. On Amazon, you can find everything from smart light bulbs that will turn the lights off in your living room when no one is present to devices that adjust the thermostat so your home is at the right temperature when you arrive but does not waste energy when you are not there. (1) Smart devices can cut down on your energy bills and work even when you forget to do these tasks yourself.
One of the more popular applications of smart devices is security systems for your home. These devices allow you to set up remote cameras and watch your home and belongings even when you are at work or away. Many of these devices allow you to control your electronics, security, and the door locks remotely using your smartphone.
Most smart home devices work by using a central hub that acts as your control center. Amazon’s Alexa is a control system that can integrate with over 20,000 different devices. Google Assistant and Samsung SmartThings Hub are other popular device controllers. These are the most popular ones on the market, but there are also smaller systems that many people choose to operate their homes.
Best Devices and Types of Products to Start Exploring
Now that you understand what a smart device is and some of the things that it can do for you, let's explore some of the more popular devices on the market.
Clean Your Home Automatically
Yes, it's true. Smart devices are now available that will automatically clean your home on a schedule that you set. The Ecovacs DEEBOT is a robotic vacuum cleaner that will clean your hardwood floors and carpets all by itself at the time you set. It is self-charging, quiet, and vacuums your floors while you attend to more important things. (5)
You can also find self-cleaning litter boxes, self-cleaning dog potties, robotic floor mops, and a device to make cleaning your microwave oven easier. (5) These devices cut down the time that you spend doing these tasks so that you can spend more time with your family or doing things you enjoy, and yes, the Gladwell Gecko Robot even does Windows. (5)
Save on Utility Bills
We have already mentioned smart thermostats, but they can do more than turn your heat up and down remotely. They can monitor your energy usage and help you keep your energy bills as low as possible. Adding just a smart thermostat can make a big difference in your energy bills, but when you combine that with smart lamps, smart plugs, and smart light bulbs, the energy savings can be significant. (1) Many of these devices are now relatively inexpensive, so they quickly pay for themselves through cost savings.
Make You a Better Cook
The kitchen is a room of the home that has been the focus of smart device development over the past several years. Precision cooking devices help you manage temperature control and keep an eye on your dish from your smartphone. The Instant Pot Smart WiFi allows you to start and monitor your meal from your smartphone. This means you can start your dinner from work and have it ready for you when you arrive.
You can also find smart devices in larger appliances. You can find smart refrigerators, smart microwaves, and smart dishwashers that can be operated remotely. Smart refrigerators can read the steps while you cook. (2) They can create grocery lists that sync with your smartphone in real-time. You can also use them to set expiration dates and receive notifications about using food before it expires which helps to reduce food waste.
Your smart refrigerator can even create personal profiles for each family member and send them personalized notes and a to-do list. (2) This adds a new level to the refrigerator chore list. You can even see what is inside your refrigerator through a transparent touchscreen without having to open the door, so no one stands in front of it with the door open and wasting energy.
Smart microwaves can scan the barcode on packaged food and automatically download the proper cooking instructions. They can track your routines and your most commonly cooked foods. (3) They will allow you to create customized Quick Settings that are tailored exactly to your routine. Much like smart refrigerators, they can look up recipes for you and read the steps to you, providing step-by-step photos and instructions. You can even watch videos of your recipe steps. (3)
Keep You in Shape
The world of smart devices has also worked its way into your fitness and health. Devices such as the Peloton Bike can adjust resistance according to cues from a virtual instructor. It also pairs with your Apple Watch and can help you achieve your fitness goals. You are probably already familiar with fitness trackers, but now, companies offer exercise equipment that integrates with them to give you a personalized workout. (4) You can even purchase a smart brain sensing headband that will help track your brain activity during meditation to help you relieve stress. (6)
The number of smart devices continues to grow, and as you can see, they can make our lives more convenient and allow us to have more time to do the things that we enjoy the most. Now, you can find a smart device to do almost anything that you can imagine. These devices used to be out of reach when it came to price, but now, competition is driving prices down, and you will find that many of them are surprisingly affordable. The purpose of technology is to make our lives better and free up time for more important things, which is a good reason to check out the many devices that are available and consider making your home smart.