What is a Smart Home?
A smart home used to mean a house incorporating one or more basic home automation systems, stereotypically controlled by a simple timer. Popular devices included automated outdoor lighting that would turn on at sunset and turn off at sunrise and mechanically programmable sprinkler systems that watered for 15 minutes three days per week. Early unsophisticated offerings could not be integrated into a single unified system and, generally, could only accomplish one automated function. However, they contributed to the home owners’ convenience by allowing them to “set it and forget it,” thus reducing the number of everyday tasks needed to be performed manually. In addition, the popularity of these early devices kickstarted the smart home industry which is only recently beginning to bloom.
The definition of what constitutes a modern intelligent home now varies greatly depending upon the marketing needs of individual gadget manufacturing companies. Although most end users still equate the term “smart home” with simple home automation, smart homes have evolved to include complex integrated home automation systems, user-centric environmental controls, active home security, connected consumer electronics and household appliances, whole-house digital media management, and voice-based user/server information exchange. In short, the new smart home resembles a livable 3,000 sq. ft. computer, but with more inviting aesthetics … and pillows.
How Do I Make My Home Smart?
To create the perfect Smart Home you need to: 1) pick your Smart Home System, 2) choose your Controllers, Hubs & Interfaces, and 3) add Smart Home Devices. It is that simple! However, if you are just beginning to research how to make your home smarter or have already added a few independent Smart Home Devices, “simple” is probably the last word that comes to mind. That is why we wrote this Smart Home “How To” Guide … to break everything down into its lowest common denominator and simplify the process of creating a Smart Home.
Much confusion is caused by the desire for a unified User Interface (ie. a single iPhone app or Amazon Alexa voice commands) and the inherent incompatibility between competing Smart Home Systems and individual Smart Home Devices. No one wants to open 4 different apps just to gain entry and set the mood upon arrival at their Smart Home. The solution is picking a master Smart Home System that can control the desired competing systems and/or individual Smart Home Devices from a single Interface or app.
In the example Smart Home System diagram above, you can see the master Smart Home System (Apple HomeKit) controls 3 competing sub-systems (Lutron Caseta, Eve Home, and TP-Link Kasa) and also controls an independent Smart Home Device (Sense Energy Monitor). The Lutron Caseta, Eve Home, and TP-Link Kasa, in turn, control Smart Home Devices from their individual product lines. Accordingly, the Apple HomeKit allows you to combine several competing and apparently incompatible Smart Home Systems into a single unified User Interface: the Apple Home iOS app for your iPhone/iPad or the MacOS app for your Apple computer. Such a system is much more efficient and user-friendly because it precludes the need for opening and closing several different apps to accomplish regularly used automations. This also allows for cross-platform automation routines (ie. Eve Home Motion Detector senses movement and turns on a Lutron Caseta Lamp Dimmer). The key is to pick the right master Smart Home System for your needs.
Which Smart Home System Is Best For Me?
The best Smart Home System is one that allows you to control and interact with all of your Smart Home Devices and Sensors with a single User Interface … ideally, one app like Apple Home or one voice command interface like the Amazon Echo. Therefore, in order to pick the best Home Automation System for your needs, you need to determine which tasks you want your smart home to perform and how you want to interface with your Smart Home.
Interfaces, Controllers And Hubs
Coming soon …
Smart Home Automation Devices
Coming soon …
Installation: Professional Or DIY
Coming soon …
Examples of Modern Smart Homes
Coming soon …