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A Beginner’s Guide to Build a Smart Home

smart home

Building a smart home is not as intimidating as it initially was. If you start small, it’s pretty easy to set up. Once you understand how the basics work, you can expand it little by little.

A recent study says that 53% of people currently own smart home devices. You got it right; no singular or simple solution can flawlessly automate your entire home, not yet. You are going to need a handful of devices to build a smart home.

Essentials for Building a Smart Home

Before building a smart home, you will need some essentials like:

#1: Hub

It is a software or hardware that connects all the smart devices you will be using. There are pretty good chances the devices you will use for building a smart home are manufactured by different companies. How can they work together then? With a hub. It makes it possible for you to control these devices from your smartphone from even a remote location.

#2: WiFi Router

A smart home won’t work without the Internet. Those who already have Spectrum Select package won’t have to worry. It’s also important to have a router to keep your smart home up and running.

List of Smart Devices

The next essentials are smart devices themselves. Here’s a list of devices that usually are considered the key players in smart homes:

  • Lights

These are the smart bulbs that let you control an individual light or a group from your smartphone. Some lights can create different scenes by letting you adjust the brightness level and color. You can also set these lights to turn on or off automatically based on different triggers.

  • Thermostats

Smart thermostats let you adjust the heating or AC based on the time of the day. Ecobee is a popular brand with a great line of smart thermostats. They come with multiple sensors that you can install around different locations in the house. This way, you can see the temperature in more than one room.

  • Doorbells

Most smart doorbells these days come with a camera letting you see who is at the door. If you buy a doorbell and security system from the same company, you can also integrate the two devices. You can then create a system that detects motion and sends you an alert when you are away from home.

  • Security systems

The smart security systems are not just equipped with cameras, they have door sensors, siren, indoor motion sensors and so many other advanced features to let you monitor your home and keep it secure.

  • Smart TVs

How can we forget about smart TVs? Smart homes stemmed from smart TVs. They give you the liberty to integrate voice assistants and control multiple other devices at once.

  • Other devices

Smart outlets, kitchen appliances, sprinkler systems, smoke detectors, refrigerators, there are so many options when it comes to building a smart home.

IFTTT- The Smart Home Hub

You will hear the name IFTTT whenever someone is talking about a smart home. It’s like a smart home hub but in the cloud. It’s widely supported by a variety of smart home products and services.

It stands for “If This Then That” and it is one powerful tool to connect and control your smart home devices. The service is free. You just have to sign up with IFTTT and it’s ready to use. Using this service, an action by one device can trigger another device. Cool, right?

You just have to create an applet, point and click on the service/device you want to use as a trigger and link it to your account. Once the trigger is activated, you can control your smart devices whatever way you want.

Actionable Tips to Build a Smart Home

You might face some trouble if you are setting up a smart home for the first time. To minimize the fuss, follow these tips:

  • Upgrade your Internet speed

You are going to need higher bandwidth than usual to use some of the smart devices effectively. For instance, to capture HD videos, your security camera will need a higher bandwidth. And then, of course, you will need a good speed to stream those videos. Consider upgrading to Charter Double Play for more Mbps.

  • Get used to voice control

Are you using Alexa for the first time? It might sound weird initially. Want a piece of advice? Get used to voice control. Eventually, you will love the perks of giving commands from the comfort of your couch.

  • Invest in a smart thermostat

Smart devices can save you a lot of money. One of the most useful investments is a smart thermostat. Once you start monitoring and controlling the heating/cooling, your energy bill will reduce significantly.

  • Protect your privacy

Only buy products from trusted brands. Experts recommend purchasing self-hosted devices as they put you in control of your data. For example, get a security camera that records locally and doesn’t need cloud service to store footage.

  • Choose strong passwords

Each smart device will have its own password so setting unique ones will be a pain. Do not set the same passwords for all devices. Each one should have a different password. List down all your passwords and save them in a password manager for extra protection. You will only have to remember one password to access all.

  • Get a second router

To make your smart home network more secure, it’s preferable to get a second router and a separate wireless network. This is an extra expense but it will keep you protected.

Ready To Build Your Smart Home?

Are you ready to build a smart home? Great! You will just have to incur Spectrum Internet cost, get a hub and invest in the smart home devices that you wish to use.

If you are planning on investing in a smart home hub instead of IFTTT like Wink Hub2 or Samsung SmartThings, then keep on thing in mind. It must be compatible with your devices. This will maximize the value of your smart home investment down the road.

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