Whether you’re a novice or a tech enthusiast, there are DIY tips for smart home automation to best meet your needs. Regardless of the brand, the next evolution of home automation enables compatibility between devices.
Tricking out your home with smart gadgets can be as easy as saying, “Hey, Alexa.” This article will focus on how you can customize your home while becoming more energy efficient.
Connectivity is at the heart of any smart home
Ideally, your smart home instantly responds to voice commands and keeps track of ways to save money on energy costs. But not all devices speak the same language. How do you get your Nest thermostat or your Ring doorbell to play nice with each other and other devices?
You shouldn’t have to clutter your phone with apps for each device and remember which protocol goes with which product. One of the biggest challenges of setting up home automation is interoperability.
Industry standards for this interconnectivity are still maturing. One of the leading standards is Matter protocol which is getting a lot of attention and aims to bring all IoT devices together. More than 550 tech companies have signed on, including Amazon. But there is still not one standard that all smart home solutions follow.
Moving beyond the cloud
You don’t have to wait for industry standards to mature or for one communication protocol to become the norm. You can bypass all that with products that are intelligent at the point of control.
Components that are truly IoT are the next evolution in home automation. The differentiator is that these products give you the flexibility to connect different devices without needing a cloud, a hub, or even the internet. All you need is Wi-Fi.
For example, you can add a relay to a light switch at the front door and without needing an app or anything else other than Wi-Fi, you can flip that light switch and the relay will send commands to other switches in the house to tell them to turn off or on.
These intelligent products have a built-in microcontroller and web server with application programming interface (API) that runs and executes locally. They’re compatible with your existing home automation setup and voice assistants, and work with your preferred ecosystem. The ability for each device to communicate and control other devices makes the capability virtually endless.
How to choose what to automate
The main reasons to automate your home are convenience, accessibility and energy savings. So how do you choose what to automate? Keep it simple – what are your needs?
Start with lighting. Adding a plug, bulbs or LED strips are easy and don’t require you to have any electrical skills to set up. Let’s say you purchase Samsung SmartThings as your hub of choice and you’ve been using that for years with Philips Hue bulbs. A voice assistant will integrate all of those things and smart sensors will work with any voice assistant.
You can you turn basically any household appliance into a smart gadget regardless of the brand. With a smart plug you can turn automate your refrigerator and operate it remotely.
Adding battery-powered sensors is an uncomplicated process and you can use an app to configure them for you. If you have a cloud server, you control everything through a voice assistant.
If you have accessibility challenges, home automation can be game changer. You may want to be able to enter your home and have certain lights automatically go on. Or if you have hearing loss, the doorbell can be set up to flash when someone is at the door. Whatever your needs are, chances are there is a way to automate it in your home at a price you can afford.
Smart energy savings
With the cost of heating or cooling your home on the rise, smart gadgets can tell you how you can be more energy efficient. In order to know what to automate, you need information. Intelligent products collect data which tells you when you should be setting your timers to take advantage of non-peak times.
For example, adding power measurement to electrical outlets lets you know how much and when power is being used. That enables homeowners to understand, adjust and/or automate electrical demand to reduce their electric bills. Or if you’ve got solar and it’s the afternoon and your production is decreasing, you want to automatically turn off things that you don’t care about so that they’re not pulling electrical from the solar panels and you can extend the period of time before I have to switch back to the grid.
You can use a smart sensor on your thermostat so you can know when it’s most cost-effective to automatically turn up the temperature. In addition, if you go out of town and forget to turn off the water heater, you can take care of that from 1000 miles away using an app.
For regions impacted by drought, you can put a sensor on your sprinkler system to track rainfall and use another sensor to measure moisture levels. You just use a weather API and gather information.
All of this data from your smart home automation enables you to make better choices that save you money on your power bills, as well as impacting your carbon footprint.
With the next evolution of smart products, you don’t need to be intimidated by smart home automation if you’re a novice, and the tech savvy homeowners can have fun setting up their home of the future, now.