What Makes a Home Smart?
3 Essentials of Smart Home Automation
You may have heard of smart ovens, smart cars, and smart washing machines, but what exactly makes an item smart? And what determines whether or not you are living in a smart home in the Beaumont, TX area? We’re here to tell you that smart home automation isn’t as much about connecting your coffee machine to Internet as it is about turning all the lights on with your phone. Here are five signs you are truly living in a smart home, and why we think it’s worth your time and investment.
The Difference Between the “Internet of Things” and Smart Home Automation
The Internet of Things is just as it sounds – it’s connecting things to the Internet. So in a connected home, your fridge can give you the weather report, keep your calendar on hand, and send alerts to your phone to let you know you are low on milk. While this is pretty cool, it’s not exactly what we call automation or living a connected lifestyle. Connecting all the items in your home to the Internet doesn’t make your home smart. Those objects need to communicate with each other, and also start and stop tasks all on their own. It takes a sophisticated system to be able to connect your lights, shades, security, audio, video, and thermostat together so that by pressing one button they all turn on or off.
Here are those 3 keys to automated living:
#1: You Have One Interface to Control Your Home
Every time you buy a Wi-Fi enabled device, you get an app along with it. You buy a Sonos speaker, you get the Sonos app to control your music. You buy the Nest thermostat, you get an app to control the temperature. The resulting problem is app overload. Every time you want to use these smart features, you have to open up a different app on you phone. This creates iPhone or Android “app clutter”. You used to have a cluttered coffee table with 10 different remotes, and now that’s what your phone looks like. The key to having a smart home is using one app to control everything. Imagine opening up one smart home app on your smartphone or tablet and being able to pick lighting settings, change the TV channel, and turn on music in every single room. And you can even keep all of your favorite brands too – like Sonos, Lutron, and Nest. We’ll just integrate those items into the system so you can control them with one user interface.
#2: Your Home Can Go on Autopilot
Going on “autopilot” essentially means you allow the vehicle – whether it’s a plane, train or automobile – to drive itself. It goes into a self-governing mode. Hit “cruise control” on the highway and the car keeps driving at the same speed on its own and you don’t have to keep pressing the gas. That’s exactly what you can do with a smart home. The word automation means your house will act automatically based upon your preferences. So for example, you go into your one smart home interface and create a daily wake-up scene. At 6 a.m. every morning, your shades will go up, the lights will go up to 50 percent, your speakers will start playing your favorite song, and the TV in your bedroom will play the morning weather and traffic report. After you create this setting you can set it and forget it. Every day your smart home will automatically wake you up using this scene. You can do this for all kinds of needs, like going away on vacation, planning parties and saying goodnight. And you can change these settings at any time.
#3 You Have More Options for Control
Typically with smart objects, your main point of control is your smartphone. While our more complex systems do allow you to connect to your home via phone, you also have a variety of other options. We can install customized buttons on the wall to start scenes we can program for you, like the ones we mentioned above – “Wake-up” and “Goodnight”. The buttons can correspond to the specific uses of each room. So place “Goodnight” in the bedroom, “Movie” in the home theater, and “Away” at the front door. These buttons will give you quick and easy access to your favorite settings, because even though we are very tied to our phones we’re still used to pressing buttons on the wall. We also have different handheld remotes that can raise and lower shades, control your audio/video, and lights. Certain smart home systems even have voice control now, like Crestron for example. Say “Good Morning” and the house will wake up for you.
Of course our final, and in our opinion best, feature of smart home automation is how far you can customize your system. You can go out and purchase something “smart” or you can hire a smart team to set up your home for you customized to your exact personal preferences.