Smart homes are homes that have a high degree of automation and devices connected to the internet that exchange data with each other, making it possible to perform functions remotely or just by voice command. The purpose of connected homes is to transform homes into places that are easier to manage, safer, and more comfortable, all being customizable by their residents.
If all that automation made your eyes shine, follow along and learn how your home can become a smart home.
How to Build a Smart Home Within Budget
Although it is a concept that should become more common over the years, there are currently two main ways to transform your home into a smart home.
Andy Griffith, CEO of Garden Furniture says “Before turning your home smart, the first is to hire a company specialized in this type of service or to get your hands dirty and do it yourself at speed your time and budget allow”
Andy further adds “In the first hypothesis, after a meeting between the owner of the house and the service provider to determine what the degree of automation and the resources involved will be, the contractor will be responsible for all the installation and configuration of the necessary equipment for the magic to happen”
Although it seems quite comfortable, this option requires paying a large budget, in addition to being more viable in housing projects not yet built so that the system can be designed and installed to measure.
The second option is to unfold better because it is the most accessible and not so complicated if you try to understand some concepts.
Five steps for you to transform your home into a smart home without breaking the bank
1. Have a good internet connection and a good router
Having a good internet connection with a good router is the primary thing you need to make sure of before turning your house smart. It is widespread for people to worry only about the connection speed of the internet package they hire and end up disregarding some equally simple items, such as having an excellent router to distribute the internet signal with quality and positioning it correctly in the environment so that the entire location receives the signal. The best position for the router is usually at central points in the house.
2. Determine the level and form of automation in your home
Jerryll Noorden, CEO of We Buy Houses in Connecticut says “The most initial level of automation is done through controls of isolated devices or with wifi and Bluetooth connection controlled through the cell phone. In this way, it is possible to send commands to lamps, curtains, TV, radio equipment, air conditioning, among other items and products that have such connection technologies. But this configuration lacks a central unit that manages an entire room or even all rooms in the house”
Jessica further adds “Devices with a Wi-Fi connection have the advantage of presenting the user with information about their use on the cell phone screen. Still, to have a smart network, this solution is not very convenient, especially in devices that require an own application for each device.
To concentrate multiple functions in one place, smart speakers like Google Home and Alexia from Amazon, devices with support for home automation that allows users to control compatible appliances and other devices by voice command, provided that everything is integrated into the same wi-fi network.
3. Buy an excellent hub to control the devices
Gregory Markov, CEO of Cerber Tech Inc. says “First, you need to make sure to buy an excellent hub to control the devices. But before that it is necessary to understand what a Hub is and how it can work in the gear of a smart home. In a simplified way, we can define Hubs as universal remote controls capable of sending commands to different devices and devices. They are the intermediaries between devices without an internet connection and your home’s internet network”
Taking as an example a home connected with a smart speaker, when sending a voice command, the speaker communicates with the router via wifi connection, and the information leaves the router for the Hub, which converts the power to an internet signal without infrared wire or radio frequency signal, two standard signals in home appliances and electronics. Therefore, when requesting that the curtains close, the Hub receives the information via the internet and encodes it with the signal compatible with the curtain motor system, radiofrequency, or infrared.
Gregory further adds “It is necessary to pay attention to the Hubs’ compatibility with the smart speakers because Google googles Home. The resources are even more restricted, connecting and disconnect devices via voice command, mainly related to Broadlink. Already with Alexa, which has been in the market for a longer time, the three hubs work with more possibilities and offer more adequate controls of the devices by voice commands, such as increasing or reducing the television’s volume and the temperature of the air conditioning”
4. Purchase compatible devices
All this preparation was necessary and made a difference in the process, as it is easier to buy smart home devices already knowing what your speaker and Hub are. In the case of devices without an internet connection, all you need to know is the device’s remote control system (radio frequency or infrared) to tell if your home’s Hub is compatible. To exemplify, normally, TVs, stereos, and projectors are compatible with infrared and wi-fi, already ceiling fans and blinds with infrared, and automatic gates with radiofrequency.
In the case of devices with a wi-fi connection, the search is more straightforward, just knowing if the product is compatible with the smart speaker that you chose to install in your home. This information is usually quite visible on the device’s packaging.
5. Positioning the Hubs
The position and number of Hubs will depend on which devices will be controlled by it and their location in the environment. The infrared signal does not have much quality over long distances and in the face of physical obstacles, so devices controlled by infrared must be located close to the Hub or, at most, in the same room. The devices that work through radio frequency can be controlled from greater distances and do not require a Hub’s proximity.
For the best configuration, the ideal is the presence of a Hub capable of emitting both radiofrequency and infrared, located, for example, in the room, to communicate with the environments closest to the room and with all others via radio frequency added to mini Hubs with infrared signal only in other rooms where this type of call is needed—remembering that all Hubs will be connected to the same network.
The steps listed so far serve to make all the home connected and smart or just some residence environments. It is easier to start with only one room, the room being the easiest to set up and with the largest number of devices that can be connected. This factor will already give you an idea of the current technological possibilities and then leave for the rest of the house.
Interesting Related Article: “Modern Smart Homes and Why You Need Them“