Last Updated November 28,2018
Modern technology has impacted all spheres of our lives including our homes. There is a wide range of smart gadgets available that make our life easy and save us time and effort. Just as our cars and phones have become smart, so can our homes. Any homeowner can upgrade their current or new home into a smart one by opting for these devices.
If you are someone who has or is going to move into a new house and want to make it a smart one, here are a few steps on how to build a smart home from scratch.
A smart home hub is the most important device to build a smart home from scratch. A smart hub is a central device that can connect to all other smart devices installed in your home. It allows you to operate every gadget from a single point, thereby acting as a universal controller and reducing complexity. It also enables you to access your smart devices from a remote location such as your office or even when you are shopping.
Some hubs facilitate communication between smart devices that use different protocols (such as ZigBee, Bluetooth etc.). They may require a connection to the Internet for functioning especially for remote access to devices. Smart hubs also provide access to virtual assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Assistant. These voice assistants not only allow you to control your smart devices via voice commands, but they can also perform a wide array of tasks. They can manage your calendar, order your groceries and pizza, and even book a cab.
Google Home Hub and Samsung SmartThings are two popular hubs. Many companies are replacing smart home hubs with smart speakers that come with integrated voice assistant support and can connect to other smart gadgets. These include Amazon’s Echo speaker lineup (for Alexa), and Apple’s HomePod (for Siri).
All-new Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen)
These smart hubs and smart speakers can connect to other smart gadgets including most of those listed below. You can control the gadgets using voice commands via the smart hubs.
What is the benefit of a smart home if it is uncomfortable to live in? Many companies manufacture smart thermostats that enable you to control the temperature in your home. These thermostats attach to your HVAC systems or air conditioners and allow you to control the ambient atmosphere in your home.
The smart thermostats can detect the number of persons in the room and adjust the air conditioning system accordingly. Some of them also come with sensors that prevent hot and cold spots in the room for maintaining a consistent temperature throughout.
They can also shift the HVAC system to power saving made and reduce electricity bills. You can remotely monitor and operate your HVAC system or air conditioner using a smartphone app. A few thermostats also allow you to switch the system on or off at a particular time. Your room will be refreshing and inviting by the time you arrive at your home.
If you are looking for one of the bestselling thermostats, then pick up the ecobee4 Wi-Fi. It allows you to adjust the temperature of the room and includes a room sensor for ensuring a consistent temperature across the room. You can also purchase additional sensors for large rooms. It also has Amazon’s Alexa voice service integrated into the device. Nest Learning Thermostat is another great option when it comes to smart thermostats.
ecobee4 Smart Thermostat with Built-In Alexa
The next step in building a smart home from scratch is to set up your living room or den with a smart entertainment device. While traditionally, homeowners used to opt for televisions and DVD players, nowadays projectors are the way to go. There are many smart projectors available from different brands. These projectors have dedicated processors, storage and speakers. They are preinstalled with an Operating System such as the Android OS. You can even install applications from content providers and streaming services on the smart projectors.
They enable you to play movies directly from a storage media such as a USB drive. Some of them can connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet and can stream content using websites or applications.
JMGO N7L, available at Aliexpress and Amazon UK
The JMGO N7L is an excellent smart projector that will fit right into your living room. It has a unique round-shaped stylish design with a premium neutral-colored finishing that will complement all décors. It has a compact form factor, meaning it will occupy minimum space in your living room while also being portable. The JMGO N7L is able to project images in full HD (1080p) resolution.
It supports ±45º vertical and ±45º horizontal keystone correction for rectifying image distortion and has inbuilt autofocus for projecting clear images. The smart projector is powered by the JMGO OS based on the Android platform. It comes with HiFi speakers and can also function in Bluetooth speaker mode. Connectivity options include a dual-band 5G Wi-Fi, HDMI port, Ethernet port, and USB ports. The JMGO N7lL is a great device for making your entertainment room a smart one.
Take your smart home to the next level by opting for a smart home lighting system. Smart lighting enables you to control the lights and bulbs in your home remotely and schedule the lights to turn on or off at a specific time. It also allows you to control your home’s ambiance as per your desires. You can adjust the brightness of the lights, while RGB LED bulbs and strips even allow you to change their colors.
If you want to watch movies on your home theatre, you can dim your ambient lighting, and if you are in the mood for a party, you can set the lights to something vibrant and flashy. You can also change the colors of the lights if you are simply bored with the current look of your room and want to give it a new appearance without having to spend a great deal of money.
Philips Hue is one of the best ecosystems available today. It is sold in different kits that come with a hub and a few bulbs. You can extend the setup by adding more LED bulbs and strips. It is compatible with most home assistants including Alexa, Siri and Google Home.
Philips Hue Lighting Kit
If you want to convert existing table lamps of your home into smart ones, then you can consider using smart plugs that can connect to home lighting hubs.
Convert your existing home appliances and electronic devices into smart ones by powering them with smart plugs. They are plugged into existing power outlets in your home, and you plug your devices into the smart plugs instead of directly plugging them into power outlets.
Smart plugs allow you to control your home appliances remotely. Some of them can connect to home hubs via a Wi-Fi network and allow you to operate them using voice services like Alexa, Siri and Google Home Assistant. Others enable you to manage your appliances via your smartphone.
They provide you the energy consumption information of your devices and can assist in cutting down your electricity bills. You can monitor the number of hours a device runs in a day and schedule them to turn on or off at a specific time of the day making them great for parental control. You can also remotely turn on or off your home appliances from the comfort of your sofa and even your office.
WeMo smart plug from Belkin is a great option if you have a hub or device that supports Amazon Alexa, or Google Home Assistant. Siri users can consider connected plugs from iDevices. There are a few other brands that manufacture smart plugs including TP-Link and Lutron. You may check their features for choosing the best option for you.
Wemo Mini Smart Plug
A smart home must be protected with a smart home security system. There are various smart devices available that allow you to protect your home by enhancing its security. They include wireless cameras, video doorbells, smart locks, motion sensors and floodlights among others.
Video doorbells allow you to see who is at your door and interact with them. They record visitors at your door when you are not at home. You can also monitor your home remotely when you are at the office or on vacation. Ring Video Doorbell is one of the best smart gadgets available today.
Wireless cameras keep an eye on your dwelling and record activity. Some of them also come with inbuilt remote sensors that notify you when they detect some activity. They also enable remote monitoring and alerts.
Arlo has a great collection of home security systems. Their packages come with a base station, and you can opt for one or more wireless cameras. You can also store the recorded footage locally as well as on cloud storage. Ring floodlight cam is another excellent cam that has two lights that can switch on when any movement is detected.
Arlo Pro - Wireless Home Security Camera System
Smart locks with keypads, motions sensors, and entry sensors can further enhance your home security. While locks with keypads restrict entry to your home, entry sensors can alert you whenever any door or window they are installed on is opened. SimpliSafe home security systems are affordable options for buyers. Their $270 package comes with a base station, a motion sensor, four entry sensors, and a keypad. You can also extend the security with a SimpliCam to add video monitoring.
Is a smart home truly smart if it can’t clean itself? Smart vacuum cleaners make it possible. These vacuum cleaners automatically gather dirt, dust, and hairs from different rooms. You can program them to clean at specific interval every day. They will automatically clean your house whether you are at home or away.
Irobot manufactures different models of their Roomba smart vacuum cleaners. They have different suction ratings and will suit homeowners with varying needs. Besides vacuum cleaners, there are smart lawnmowers also available from different companies. They can trim your lawn and keep it neat and tidy. Husqvarna, Worx, and Robomow are a few companies that manufacture robot lawn mowers.
iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi Connectivity