A lot of homes are now getting smarter. Today, electronic gadgets and appliances can transmit data over wireless connections. Thanks to IoT technology, you are able to access data and control smart electronic devices in your home remotely. Here are important points to know about maximizing smart technology for your home.
1. Start with a Quality Network Router
The router you choose for your wireless network in your smart home makes a difference in how reliable your network functions. Using a new router will more likely give you better performance than a router that’s over five years old. Usually the newer the router, the faster the Wi-Fi speed. Be aware that wireless signals can be weakened by walls and large objects.
2. Grow from a Small Network
Start with just a router and a shortlist of smart devices that connect with it. Test the network out to see how fast and reliable your connection is. Think about other devices that can improve your quality of life as you map out your smart home for the future.
You can develop a smart infrastructure over time using a smart Wi-Fi router as the hub. It will allow for beamforming, in which a beam pointed at a device ensures a solid internet connection with it. You can also choose a smart hub that connects with a conventional router.
3. Simplify with Voice-Activated Devices
One of the easiest ways to interact with smart home technology is to use voice-activated devices and apps. Several functions can be controlled by a smart speaker. It’s a much quicker process to program certain vocal statements as commands that communicate with various devices. Some of the popular choices for smart speakers include Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri. It’s a good idea to make sure smart devices are compatible with at least two different smart speaker platforms.
4. Cut Costs with Geofencing
Geofencing simply refers to capability of your smart home turning smart devices on or off when you leave your home. You can customize settings for different devices, such as thermometers so that automation controls desired room temperature. Ultimately, geofencing allows you to ensure you are not wasting energy and money.
5. Update Your Home’s Wiring
Old wiring can hold your home back from developing a smart infrastructure. Many old homes lack a ground or neutral wire in switches, which makes them incompatible with smart devices. If you suspect your home’s wiring is outdated, talk with an electrician about bringing it up to code and compatible with hardwired smart devices.
6. Consider IFTTT Services
IFTTT stands for “If This Then That.” It’s a private commercial service that connects various smart home devices together. By using this service, you won’t have to worry about compatibility issues when you purchase new smart devices. “This” in the name represents a trigger to an event, while “That” reflects the action. Ultimately, IFTTT software is capable of automating web-application tasks for smart homes.
7. Learn About Analytics
Anytime you purchase a smart device for your home you should be aware of how it uses data. Where is the data transmitted and what does it mean? It’s important that you’re aware of any data that’s sent to manufacturers, utilities, marketers or other third parties.
8. Take Security Seriously
It’s possible for cybercriminals to tap into your network, which is why it’s best to build robust security layers. While it’s ideal to avoid passwords completely, if you do use them, make sure they are not simple or duplicated from passwords in other accounts. Passwords should be unique and hard to remember. You should also give unique names to devices and apps.
9. Add Smart Outdoor Devices
Even outdoor devices can be integrated with smart technology. Lawn sprinklers can be controlled remotely from your smartphone. Other outdoor items to consider for your smart home include a smart video doorbell and smart bulbs. Smart outdoor devices make your home more secure and luxurious. Smart lighting is the easiest to deploy if you’re not sure where to get started with developing your smart home.
10. Use Routines to Consolidate Tasks
You can control several smart devices at once through what Alexa and Google Assistant call “routines” and Siri calls “automations.” A single voice-activated phrase such as “activate all smart devices” can control all devices at once according to how each one is programmed.
11. Know Your Bandwidth Needs
It’s helpful to know how much bandwidth is required to handle multiple smart devices. About every dozen devices require about 5Mbps of bandwidth. If your home has smart video cameras, it will require at least 10Mbps of bandwidth. It’s also helpful that your router can accommodate twice the bandwidth you actually use. You will need plenty more than 10Mbps of bandwidth if you purchase high-quality smart devices.
12. Don’t Be Fooled by Tech Hype
With the wave of smart technology comes several devices that don’t live up to the perceptions created by the manufacturer’s marketing. Be careful with unknown brands that claim to offer revolutionary smart technology. Many of them are simply copies of other systems and don’t offer new features. It’s best to stick with reputable manufacturers and retailers when investing in smart home solutions.
13. Keep Smart Devices Updated
Make sure you regularly update the firmware on all your smart devices, which is usually done automatically. You should still periodically check to see that you are running the latest software versions for all your smart devices. Keeping software up to date is a security measure, as old software can become vulnerable and easier to penetrate for experienced hackers.
Smart homes are becoming more widespread and are no longer just a novelty for early adopters. Homeowners are becoming increasingly aware of how smart technology can cut energy bills, water bills and make life more comfortable. If you’d like to learn more about the best practices for transitioning to a smart home and more modern living, register and attend our “High Tech Homes: Smart Homes and Home Automation” webinar to receive our free infographic with all 22 of our suggested best practices.