Home Automation

Computer on couchControlling devices in a home has come a long way over the past several years. The days of using light switches and thermostat levers are quickly becoming obsolete. In this age of technology, it is easy to become confused about all the new products on the market. You’re in luck though, because today we’ll help you understand which products are worthwhile and what makes them amazing additions to your home.

Before you start looking at devices that will turn your classic home in to a smart home, it’s important to decide what kind of technology you would like to take advantage of. There are several ways to connect all your devices. Some of the most used are: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Insteon, and ZigBee. Each type of technology has unique ways of keeping your devices connected.

Wi-Fi has been used to connect computers to the Internet for a couple decades now, and has become an extremely reliable tool. It can be used for much more than surfing the web or playing your favorite online game. Companies are now utilizing this technology to communicate between your home devices. All smartphones have access to Wi-Fi, so with the right setup, you can control the brightness of your lights or change your homes temperature right from the palm of your hand.

Bluetooth is another technology that, like Wi-Fi, has been associated with computers for years now. It has been used to connect a keyword and mouse to a computer, or headphones to a smartphone wirelessly, but it is now being used for longer wireless connections through Bluetooth 4.0, and can make your whole home connected together wirelessly.

living roomInsteon is a staple in the home automation community and probably the most reliable technology available. It works by creating a wireless and wired mesh network throughout your home. All the nodes on the network communicate when in proximity and if one fails, the other mesh will take over. This allows for consistent success when using a device.

ZigBee also creates a mesh network throughout your home. The mesh allows each device on the network to communicate equally. It is also very energy efficient, so your utility bill won’t be significantly raised by utilizing ZigBee.

After you decide what technology you would like to use as your network, you’ll most likely want to invest in a hub to communicate with your new network. The most popular and convenient hub on the market is the Samsung SmartThings Hub. This hub can actually utilize all the different technologies. For example: you could mix and match a Wi-Fi security system with an Insteon thermostat and a Bluetooth speaker. The hub makes life a lot easier and isn’t that the point of home automation in the first place?

After you have everything in place, you can get devices that allow for automation. These devices will run on the networks discussed earlier. A lot of things in the home can become automated. Some of the more popular automated devices include: lights, home security, sprinklers, and thermostats.

homeIf you want automated lights, Phillips Hue bulbs are absolutely stunning! You can turn on the lights, set the brightness, and even change the color. All of this can be easily accomplished with an app.
Home security is becoming a crucial aspect to every homeowner’s life. Wouldn’t it be nice to make sure the door is locked while you’re out shopping? How about checking a live surveillance stream of your home from your smartphone? These security features are no longer fiction.
A small device named August Connect will lock and unlock your door from anywhere. It’ll also let you know who enters and leaves your home with instant alerts sent to your phone.
Cameras are important when it comes to home surveillance. The Icontrol Piper nv offers exceptional video quality any time you wish to check in on your home, and even has night vision for security at night.

Sprinklers have always played an important role in lawn care. The Rachio Iro Smart Sprinkler will not only water your lawn at specific times, but will also check with the weather service to determine what the weather will be that day, and calculate how much water will be needed based on weather conditions.

laptopWe’ve saved one of the coolest devices for last. The Nest Learning Thermostat is a must have in any smart home. It has built in Wi-Fi, which allows the device to be remotely controlled from a smartphone. There are also sensors that can detect if you are away and shut down heating and cooling to conserve energy. The thermostat also tracks daily usage and provide a monthly graph. One of the best unique features is: the device learns from regular changes you make and will begin to automatically set your temperature based on gathered data.

These are just a few of the many devices that are designed to make life easier. With the proper setup, home automation can become an essential convenience. zzOnly the future can tell where these technologies are headed, but now is certainly a good time to have a smart home.

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