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Smart Home 101: How to Outfit Your Home With Smart Devices
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Enabling your home with smart devices can be a great upgrade to any house, whether it’s allowing you to control the thermostat from your bed or keeping an eye on the front door while you’re out at dinner. There are plenty of options out there for automating almost every part of your home and several products and brands to consider. Use this guide to help you navigate your options and for advice on how to get started.
Homeowners choose to automate their homes for a number of reasons — safety being a chief reason. Along with making your home safer, smart home devices can help you manage multiple systems in your home, whether it’s managing the thermostat or turning on the lights in a different room. Smart devices can be controlled wirelessly with a smartphone or computer, making it easy and efficient for homeowners to automate almost anything.
There are a few prominent smart home systems: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Wink Hub 2, and the Samsung SmartThings Hub.
Amazon Alexa is a great option for homeowners who want a wide range of smart home devices. It has over 20,000 third-party integrations — meaning you’ll be able to do almost everything from your phone. Alexa allows you to lock your doors, turn on the lights, adjust the thermostat, and even play music around your home.
Google Assistant is another popular option for homeowners. It rivals Alexa in its breadth of pairable components, but its ability to answer questions and complete commands are better than Alexa’s. Google has a better reputation for recognizing people’s natural speech — meaning it will better understand your commands and more often than not deliver more accurate responses.
Wink Hub is sometimes preferred because it doesn’t require brand loyalty — users can pair devices from a variety of brands. The Samsung SmartThings Hub also allows devices from other brands, so you could have a mix-and-match set of smart devices.
Some of the most common smart home devices will manage your home’s power systems, security, and entertainment. Devices that help manage your home’s power systems include light controls, outlet switches, and your thermostat. Smart security systems will be able to lock your doors with a simple command, open and close your garage door, and even watch your front door with built-in surveillance cameras.
Many smart home devices will be able to pair with your entertainment devices, allowing you to turn on music, turn on your TV, and even search recipes online without touching your computer.
Smart devices can even help you save money on utilities. By getting a system that connects to your thermostat, you’ll be able to control the temperature of your home while you’re out of the house. That way, if you left the heater on and you’re not home, you can shut it off to save money on your heating bill.
If you’re ready to make your home smart, there are some key considerations to keep in mind. For example, it’s vital to boost your digital security to protect all your devices from cyberattacks. One of the best options is to protect your router with a strong password — it’s your first line of defense against cyberattackers, so make it hard to guess.
Another consideration is thinking about how to make your devices blend in with your decor. Many people use houseplants to help hide speakers or the system’s router. A router works best when it’s out in the open, though, so avoid tucking it away in the cupboard.
Whether you want to create a smart home to let you control the thermostat from the bed, or you feel you need to boost your home security, there are plenty of options for smart devices and systems. Get the system that’s best for your budget and your needs, and take care to protect your devices with strong passwords to avoid having a cybersecurity issue.
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