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How to make your smarthome easier for other people to use

  A couple sitting on the couch controls all the functions of the house, such as wi-fi, heating, lighting, television through holography. Concept for home automation, automation, future, technology
HQuality / Shutterstock

Smarthomes is a convenience that can automate your home and give you easy control everywhere. But with children, extended family and guests things get complicated quickly. Here are some ways to make your smart home easier for others to use.

Smarthomes are just as powerful as the user

If you have already installed smart locks, a smart thermostat, smart lights, and smart plugs, you are well on your way to a home filled with convenience and remote control. But the problem is often with the people in your home who are not technically savvy enough to set up a smart home. They may be unsure of how to turn on and off devices and difficultly try to use voice commands. With a few simple steps, you can make things easier for small children, extended families and even first time guests.

Create Straight Forward Voice Commands

 Google Assistant App Shows Units Grouped In Living Rooms

] One of the best things about a smarthome tells what to do with your voice. Of course, you can control them in the traditional way, but the ability to talk to your house and turn off the lights, turn on the TV and change the thermostat is very satisfactory. But it is only true when it works at the first attempt. If you have trouble successfully using voice commands, everyone else will get a worse go at it. So be sure to group your units and name these groups and units enough.

If you have small children in the house, you may need to rename your units and groups slightly. Try to aim for words with fewer syllables that are easy to express. Both Google Assistant and Alexa perform admirably when listening to a five-year-old, and surprisingly good with a three-year-old. But the harder it is for a child to say a command, the harder it becomes for your voice assistant to understand them.

Shorter and fewer words are the best option, and it is one of the benefits of grouping items properly. With real groups they can say that "turn on the light" in a room instead of "turning on the light in the living room" or kitchen light, and so on. Family members and guests will also benefit from this, as it is less to remember to say.

Provide traditional controls whenever possible

  Two smart light switches and a third traditional light switch
The two outer switches are smart; The intermediate gear is traditional. The left switch is off.

Smart light bulbs are amazing, but if the others in your house are reluctant to use voice assistants, the only way to control your smart light bulbs is with an app. It is not always a good option, especially for children or housing. Another option is to use smart light switches instead. These look very much like an AC switch and have the advantage of checking several lights (if the switch normally should) while communicating with your smart home about the current light mode (on or off).

With a smart switch, your lights are never synchronized with your apps and voice assistants, and anyone who is reluctant to use smarthome options can still control the lights. The same applies to smart locks with a traditional keyhole or PIN code option. With a key or PIN code, your children and guests do not need to download an app to unlock your door.

Creating a control panel if traditional controls are not available

  Smart home, intelligent home automated remote control concept on smart phone / tablet with smarthome app
Alexander Kirch / Shutterstock

Sometimes it is just not possible to provide a traditional control options, such as with smart LED strips or smart plugs. Voice assistants can help, but if it does not work, it may be the best solution to repurposing an old tablet as a smarthome dashboard. An instrument panel can give an overview of the possible controls in the house and is easy to use as on and off buttons. If possible, mount the tablet somewhere so that it can be easily found.

Alternatively, the Google home page, Echo Show, Echo Spot and other smart screens provide smart screen control on the screen. They require some navigation to get to the right screen, but a dedicated dashboard can be a more intuitive alternative to guests and children.

Instructions in visual sites

If all else fails, especially with houseguests, it is sometimes useful to have well-written instructions in easy-to-find locations. Place signs in common areas with what to say to your Google home or Alexa next to these devices, such as "turning off the lights, say Alexa turn off" and maybe other useful suggestions like timers.

The more you facilitate your guests using voice commands, the more comfortable they will try them on their own. It can be helpful to have some suggestions outside the smarthome arena, such as hours and measuring conversions in the kitchen. If you need the characters often appear, consider something that fits in with your house's appearance as a painting for the kitchen.

You can also use Alexa drawings to create your own Alexa skills so people can ask Alexa for some basic instructions that you provide. Amazon offers built-in skills that you can quickly build to give instructions for accommodating guests, babysitters and even pets sitting – and they are also smart enough to give different instructions at different times of the day. But you can also create your own skills to help people learn how to control your smart home.

With some new technology, it is best to lower the effort barrier as much as possible. If you use your smarthome devices seem less scary, then children, family and guests will have more courage to experiment with what works and what does not. Often, that experiment can teach you some things about smart homes you didn't realize, or help identify areas that could be improved. Just avoid overwhelming people, and you should be on your way to a more useful smart home for everyone.

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