So you want a smart home. Good! But where do you start? With so many platforms, assistants, hubs and protocols out there, it can quickly get confusing. Here̵7;s what you need to know if you are ready to dip your toes into smart home automation.
Zigbee and Z-Wave
and Z-Wave are low-energy networks that allow devices to communicate with each other without using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. However, both Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols require you to connect a physical hub to your router to send and receive signals between devices.
You can find hundreds of Zigbee or Z-Wave devices from major brands such as, and . If you are unsure which one is right for you or which smart-home products you can buy in the future, no worries. Invest in a hub that or which works with both Zigbee and Z-Wave.
Some smart screens likeand smart speakers like the latest works as a Z-Wave or Zigbee hub, which means you do not have to buy a separate hub to add new devices to your home.
Not all smart devices require Zigbee or Z-Wave. Some products, such as smart plugs, can connect to your home’s 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network through their included app.
Products such ascan connect to your Wi-Fi by purchasing a Wi-Fi bridge or directly through the devices. Wi-Fi connectivity enables remote access from anywhere in the world as you have an internet connection.
While judging a hub is certainly more convenient and cost-effective, it may have affected your Wi-Fi and the devices connected to dozens of devices connected that way. If you connect to Wi-Fi via the device itself and not a Wi-Fi bridge, the battery life may also be affected.
Other products such asand requires your own custom hubs, often called bridges, that connect to your router. If you are interested in smart lighting but want to be hubless, have you covered. Their light bulbs connect directly to your home Wi-Fi.
No matter which way you automate your home, it is important to invest in good Wi-Fi, whether it means upgrading with your service provider or buying one., as .
Smart speakers and voice assistants
With your network sorted, you want a voice assistant to act as the interface between you and your smart home. Choosing the right speaker for you is largely a matter of personal preference, and chances are you already have a favorite in mind.
If you’re all Apple all day, you wantor as your smart home automation center. Do you love everything Google does? There are several smart speakers and screens to choose from. The same goes for Amazon Alexa fans. If you’re an Amazon Prime enthusiast, you can and are two good options. Google and Amazon offer affordable alternatives for around $ 50 (often less for sale), so adding smart to your home will not break your bank.
All three platforms have their pros and cons, but all three can also handle your smart home devices. If you have limited it to Amazon vs. Google, take oursto find out which smart speaker is right for you.
If you want to go the DIY route and dive deep into the brain of home automation,is a unique alternative with almost endless possibilities.
This small computer chip can be expanded with kits to create computer programs to run all types of tasks and devices around your home. However, it will take time, extra accessories and some technical knowledge.
Still, if you like programming and want to tip with smart-home tech, there are kits out there for creating smart speakers, cameras and more. Google(“Artificial Intelligence Yourself”) line of Raspberry Pi-friendly kits will help you do just that. Check out other cool things you can do with .
IFTTT (If This, Then That) is a free online automation service that enables smart devices and web-based platforms to interact with each other. The big plus with IFTTT is that it is not limited to physical devices. For example, you can create an IFTTT recipe (its term for “application”) that automatically saves attachments from your emails in a specific Dropbox folder.
In the smart home, this translates into recipes that connect devices that otherwise would not work together. For example, if your Nest thermostat goes into Off mode, turn off all your Philips Hue lights. You can also create recipes that are triggered when you arrive or leave your home with your mobile phone. One of IFTTT’s more useful (and fun) features is the ability to create custom commands forand .
While IFTTT is not all you need to build a smart home, it’s a great complement to a smart home, especially when you want to connect product actions to create a greater automated experience.
Stay calm and give your glitchy smart home a factory reset
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There are many options when it comes to smarting your home. It may take some trying to find what works for you or which products and services you prefer, but stick to it. Once you get started, you have a home that makes life smarter and easier.