The following is a guest post.
Nowadays, everything is connected. The thought of appliances having a mind of their own seemed like a scary idea at first, but with the advent of smart homes, we are learning the convenience of automatically turning on and off our devices to complete tasks and protect our dwellings.
Know the essentials machines you need for a smart home and learn how you can take advantage of the seemingly endless functions it offers.
Your Internet connection is integral to your smart home’s functionality, and what better way to maximize all your smart appliances but by providing a better network signal throughout your home?
- Update the Wi-Fi hardware or get the latest version, if possible. Wireless A/B/G/N are the older standards, so opt for Wireless AC instead.
- Consider a mesh network system if you have a big house. This works for any radio signals and allows your devices to link each other as nodes in a network, with each node spreading the signal further.
- Place your Wi-Fi and router in the right location, preferably in the center of your home, away from thick walls and other obstructions. Elevating the router and pointing the antennas perpendicularly can also help.
- Avoid using your neighbors’ Wi-Fi channels, as it may interfere with yours. To know which channel the best for your connection is, use a tool like Network Analyzer or WiFi Analyzer.
- Secure your connection better from those mooching your data by cloaking and frequent password change. Hide your connection’s SSID (name of the Wi-Fi network) and have those who want to connect type it manually instead. In addition, enable WPA2 password protection so that the password is encrypted.
- Spread the bandwidth to prioritize specific applications, especially those that are needed for the house like surveillance and lighting through Quality of Service. Applications like video chats, streaming, and online games can hog huge bandwidth and make the Internet slower for everything else.
More commonly known as your home assistant, your smart devices are linked to a hub using the Internet. Through the hub, you can automatically control these smart devices to do your bidding. All you have to do is say the words, as smart assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo work with a voice recognition software.
- Read and reply to messages: Much like Apple’s AI Siri, hubs can tell you if you have any unread SMS or email and will even let you respond with no typing required.
- Music and video streaming: With the help of music and video streaming apps, you can also automatically play songs and videos through the smart assistant. Simply connect your speakers, media player, or TV to the hub, and let your voice do the rest. You can also choose to play music or videos on specific rooms by designating a location-based name for the device and speakers.
- Shop: Hubs allow you to do your online shopping, whether it’s for personal use or something you need for home. The best part is it will calculate your total shopping costs including tax and shipping fee.
- Other third-party services: Aside from shopping, your home assistant will also let you utilize other services. Read up on which services are available for your specific brand of hub.
Go for smart LEDs and maximize your home assistant by controlling your light depending on your needs.
- Through the Internet, smart LEDs collect data to provide insights into your activity patterns, allowing them to adjust depending on schedule and lighting levels automatically.
- Motion detection: This type of smart lighting can be helpful regarding security, aside from being a convenient choice for when you pull up in your garage at night. In addition, this type can save you more than 35% of your current energy usage.
- Remote lighting: Your smartphone can also control lights—simply sync them to their accompanying smartphone app.
Security and Surveillance
Through smart locks and cameras, you’re more confident about your home security, especially when you’re away.
- Doors can now be locked and opened electronically with a keypad, RFID (keycard), Biometric (fingerprint), and Bluetooth.
- Depending on the system you chose, you can remotely lock, unlock, and even add another protection to your doors through a smartphone app. Smart locks can also send you notifications in case of emergencies.
- Your hub can also lock the door before you leave through voice activation and sensors.
- In case of forced entries, an alarm system—through the connected hub—will call for help and trigger a warning.
- Some CCTV cameras can be remotely operated via smartphone, allowing you to watch recorded footages.
- A camera connected to the hub can send you motion or person detection alerts, or provide a camera feed.
Tinkering your smart thermostat can positively affect your home and even save you money.
- Smart thermostats download weather data from the Internet, allowing it to heat up or cool down the room depending on the data or if it detects a person inside.
- The motion sensor, combined with automatic alerts, can also be used to secure your home. When a thermostat adjusts the temperature accordingly because it detects a presence, you can choose to receive alerts about it, especially when you’re not at home.
- Use voice control to adjust the temperature depending on your need.
- Smart thermostats study your manual adjustments. It picks up your typical usage and starts making automatic changes to help save energy.
- Maximize your smart thermostat by focusing on heating only the rooms you use.
On a smart home, household chores are made easy with a touch of a button (and with your voice, as well!).
- Make the most out of your smart washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, air-conditioner, vacuum, and other appliances by scheduling the task. Once you’ve determined the time the appliance is supposed to operate, you can turn it on remotely through your smartphone or your smart assistant. You’ll be notified once the job is done as well. Do your chores even when you’re not home.
- Another nifty feature tracks the items on your refrigerator, listing down what you need to buy and the expiration dates of the things on hand. This allows you to build a grocery list through your hub, which in turn will alert you once you need to do grocery shopping.
Keep in mind that despite all the benefits you can enjoy from having a smart home, you still have the responsibility as the homeowner to maintain your appliances, tools, and devices in top shape. With faulty machines and gadgets, you will never be able to maximize these advantages.
About the Author
Nina Pineda, consultant of PodM2M, the experts in global M2M / IoT connectivity, guiding M2M companies into the future.