5 Smart Home Ideas & Upgrades That Will Change Your Life
August 28, 2020 | Cristina Dinulescu
While old houses have a charm of their own, which everyone loves and appreciates, modern buildings make a powerful impression when it comes to convenience and safety. With the latest advancement in home technology, you can equip your home with a wide range of time-saving devices, turning it into a smart home and significantly improving your quality of life.
More and more homeowners feel that investing in smart home automation is a good idea. This is reflected in sales, and according to current statistics, the smart home market is expected to hit 40 billion USD this year. The same report also tells us that:
- By investing in smart home technology, you are saving 30 minutes per day, 182.5 hours per year, which comes down to one week and a half.
- The most sought-after gadgets are the ones that can be connected to smartphones for simple and convenient monitoring.
- Among the preferred gadgets, smart alarms and locks, together with smart fans, thermostats and lighting occupy first positions.
- 70% of homeowners who have already invested in one gadget of this kind are planning to keep investing in smart home technology.
Check our list below with the top 5 smart home ideas and upgrades that will make your life easier, more entertaining, and even safer.
1. Smart lighting
For the majority of people interested in smart home automation ideas, lighting gadgets represent the entry point. Most of the smart lighting systems on the market function very well without needing a central hub. Plus, they can easily connect with other smart home gadgets. Some communicate through Wi-Fi technology, like the LIFX or TP-link bulbs, whereas others interact through your smartphone’s Bluetooth technology.
Of course, there are more complex smart bulbs, like the Phillips Hue or Sengled Element ones that require a bit more effort. These connect only through ZigBee radio, so you are required to have ZigBee-to-Wi-Fi bridge connected to your radio. In order to control, program lighting scenes or create schedules, you will need an app, installed on either your smartphone or tablet.
However, if your entire lighting system is installed in the ceiling and controlled by the classic switch on the wall, you might want to replace the classic switch with smart switches and dimmers.
The entire point of investing in a smart lighting system is to obtain convenience and control. That’s why Leviton, Lutron, Ecobee, TP-Link have designed smart light switches which do not need a central hub, and they operate using your Wi-Fi network.
Lamps can also be upgraded and integrated within the smart lighting system of your home They can be controlled using a smart plug, like Wemo Mini, through a smartphone app.
2. Smart speakers
Since we’re talking about convenience, what’s better than using your smartphone to control your lighting system? Using your voice to do so. Smart speakers can be linked to your system and you can control it with voice commands. When it comes to smart speakers, look no further than the Amazon Echo series and of course, the Google Home series. Amazon certainly deserves its leading position, having enjoyed great popularity among users and offering a larger installed base and displays for time (the first smart speaker on the market to do that).
The digital assistants – Alexa from Amazon and Google Assistant – we all love so much can be easily found in third-party products. Ecobee is known for its Ecobee4 smart thermostat and its Switch+ smart switch and Lenovo was the first company to market with Google Home gadgets, equipped with displays.
As smart speakers became more and more popular amongst smart home technology users, they quickly took on a new role. They can function as a central point of interaction for all of the smart gadgets installed in a home, everything from smart lighting to security devices.
3. Smart thermostats
Smart thermostats are a great investment if you’re looking to turn your house into a smart home. They can do so much more than create a heating or cooling program based on your own schedule. Smart thermostats can detect when you’re home on their own, so that your HVAC system only functions when necessary.
And it gets better. Smart thermostats can be equipped with sensors installed in the rooms in which you spend most of your time. This way, instead of triggering your cooling and heating system based on the thermostat’s location, it operates on yours. This is highly efficient in terms of costs and comfort.
At the moment, Ecobee4 is probably the most popular name on the market. The device comes already equipped with sensors and with Amazon Echo smart speaker integrated. Nest Labs is also a worthy consideration, having registered the most innovation on the smart thermostat market.
4. Multi-room audio systems
Yamaha(MusicCast), Sonos and Denos(HEOS) have entered the smart home technology through their sophisticated multi-room speaker systems. The systems allow you to connect speakers in different rooms in your house, and listen to music from your own collection or from popular services such as Spotify.
You can even enhance your movie or TV watching by creating a home cinema experience using soundbars. You don’t need a remote control for this system, only your smartphone or tablet. Some models have Amazon Alexa integrated, which makes everything even easier and more convenient.
5. Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
As said, increased security is one of the reasons why people invest in smart home automation. Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors keep your home safe, even when you’re out. Not only do these devices sound the alarm in case they detect smoke or fire, but they also send an alarm or notification to your smartphone.
In addition, there are some smart alarms, like the ones designed by Nest Protect, that come with integrated emergency lights. These help people quickly identify the fastest way out of a smoke-filled house.
Alternatively, the new First Alert Onelink Safe & Sound has really advanced features and has a smart speaker incorporated. If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, you could consider the smart battery alternative from Roost which makes the traditional smoke detector smarter.