A smart home refers to a residence where internet-connected devices are used to enable remote management and monitoring of systems and appliances. The ‘smart’ appliances can be anything from a coffee maker where you can set the time to brew a fresh cup in the morning, or it can be a smart lighting system that automatically dims the lights after 9 p.m.
Though all modern homes have some degrees of smartness, you can always enhance it further. But, before you attempt that, you need to understand a couple of things about smart home IoT.
So, read on to know more about making smart home and all that it involves.
Table of Contents
- What are the Features of a Smart Home?
- What is the Need to Making a Smart Home?
- How do Smart Homes Use Data?
- How do I Make my IoT Home Smart?
- How Can I Keep an Eye on the Data Use of Smart Devices?
What are the Features of a Smart Home?
The first step of understanding what it means to have a smart home is to know about its features. Here are the five distinct features that you would notice in every IoT-enabled home.
1. Energy Efficiency
One of the best features of smart homes is their elegant way of saving energy. You wouldn’t be forced to restrict your energy consumption, nor would you have to do it yourself.
A smart home saves energy by keeping track of the rooms that you use and the times when you need them. Your thermostats, window blinds, and lights would be controlled to optimize your energy usage. All in all, it can take your average monthly savings to $98.30.
2. Smart Appliances
A smart system would control the power supply to home appliances. It is a highly convenient feature in a large home because, this way, most of the electrical appliances can be left on standby, as needed.
All the power supply links in your home would be linked to the smart system to let you control or automate the use of the appliances.
3. Lighting Automation
You will be able to control the timings for the activation of the lighting system in your home. For instance, you can automate the settings to turn on the lights in the living room and kitchen exactly at 8 a.m.
The lighting settings can be further customized to enable motion detection, which would activate the lights of specific rooms only when a person steps in. Voice commands can be used to check if the lights are ON in any room.
4. Enhanced Security
Smart homes let you remotely control the settings of the security alarm. You can arm or disarm the alarm, edit the key codes, and organize an intrusion detection setting.
It usually works by letting the outside lights detect motion, followed by the smart security system warning the homeowner or security personnel of any doors or windows being forced to open.
5. Home Entertainment
A smart home is incomplete without a fully functional smart entertainment system. The most commonly noted entertainment features are the ability for music to resonate in the entire household and syncing the lights of the entertainment room with the beats of the music.
What is the Need to Making a Smart Home?
It might seem indulgent and lazy to have a whole setup in the house to switch the lights or turn on the music when you are perfectly capable of doing it all yourself. However, not everyone is as fortunate as to do these simple tasks without any help.
Many disabled and elderly people, and those with special needs, find it hard to do the most basic household tasks. Home automation can make the difference between moving into sheltered accommodation and staying independently and happily. For instance, patients suffering from dementia can have automatic sensors fitted in the home to check if the sink is overflowing or the cooker has been kept on.
Besides, even if the issues as mentioned above, don’t apply in your case, the need to maximize home security is a definite reason to incorporate smart surveillance and safety features. Home automation systems place a premium on security measures, which is so much better than asking your neighbor to keep an eye out on your home when you are on vacation.
Moreover, it’s important not to confuse convenience with laziness. The ability to remotely control your home appliances makes life easier for you. Think of how you can make your house cooler just in time before reaching home from work. You can preheat the oven sitting in the car and start cooking right when you come home.
Finally, who doesn’t want to upgrade to the latest offerings in lifestyle technology? A smart home is amazingly flexible in integrating new and more advanced devices for your outdoor and indoor spaces. Better and more useful gadgets and appliances will come up each year. Your IoT-enabled home will always be ready to embrace their capabilities.
How do Smart Homes Use Data?
All the devices in smart homes are wirelessly connected to the home network. These devices can communicate with one another to offer a seamless user experience to the consumers.
The devices have software and sensors that allow them to communicate with the main network and the other devices. Data collection is right at the heart of IoT-enabled homes because that’s how the devices function. Constant collection of data from multiple sources helps the devices offer better user experiences.
The devices can track your daily usage rates and timings of various home appliances and systems, and set those devices to work as per your timings. You can always change the settings of the devices, as per your needs. One of the prime features of IoT is the ability to gather data from user behavior, and use it to deliver better services.
How do I Make my IoT Home Smart?
The rate of increase in smart homes is expected to reach 53.9 percent by 2023. This is a natural outcome because making your home smart is a lot easier than you think.
You will need two main things to use smart devices in your home fully:
● A consistent and strong Wi-Fi signal wherever the IoT gadgets are placed
● A tablet, smartphone, smart speaker, or the devices enabled by a smart speaker
You might need to connect the hub to your router or modem for some systems. It transfers signals between the smart devices and the network, but most systems work all by themselves.
The smart gadgets in the home can be used in any of the three following ways:
There are different kinds of apps available to control the smart gadgets in your home. You can use apps like Google Home to control various devices from your smartphone.
There are manufacturer apps available too, but these usually give you a tough time syncing with other brands.
Alexa, Siri (iPhones), and Google Assistant (Android) are the central hubs of a smart home that can be controlled through voice commands.
You can purchase a smart speaker having any of these three voice assistants in-built. Each of these assistants has a separate setting for controlling your smart devices, but that wouldn’t take too long for you to get the hang of.
Certain devices and apps can communicate with each other without the need for you to act as their mediator. There are third-party apps that can be integrated with IoT devices to drive automation in your smart home, in case the manufacturer apps are not syncing well.
How Can I Keep an Eye on the Data Use of Smart Devices?
By now, we have established that smart home devices are an exciting way to bring modern tech in your home. But, it’s also important to monitor the data usage of these devices because some of them might end up using too much of your data. Besides, with the amounts of data that a smart home generates, data protection and privacy are also crucial factors to consider.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind to save on data usage of your smart home:
● Don’t leave devices on a prolonged sleep mode. The data packets will be delivered in a short time and a high speed once the sleep mode is turned off, causing a spike in data usage.
● Set Wi-Fi cameras for home security to medium resolution, which would consume about 60 GB/month, but give you clear visibility. A high-resolution will take it to at least 140 GB/month.
● Smart bulbs connected to Google Home or Echo Dot would use minimal data, and that too, only for updates.
● Invest in a high-end internet security system and keep it updated regularly.
The amount of consumer interest already generated by smart home technology has led the biggest tech companies to sit up and take note.
With the biggest competitors racing to outbid one another in bringing you better tech, smart homes will see a constant innovation in the years to come. It means increased convenience, better security, and evident cost savings.
So, the question is: are you ready to smarten up your home?