As we move deeper into the future that many science fiction movies, books and television shows predicted for us decades ago, the technology is starting to match that of science fiction. Included is the fact that everything is ‘smart’ now and tends to come with an app for our mobile devices. It’s not just watches and cars, either, as homes altogether can be converted into smart homes. What is a smart home, though, and is it the right choice for you, especially when considering the costs?
For starters, there isn’t just one project that you can undertake that will make your home into a smart home. Instead, you’ll have to work on one at a time, focusing on eventually bringing it all together. This includes the lighting, thermostats, audio, security, safety and even lawn and pool care. While these were all expensive when they first debuted, converting certain parts of your home into smart home features is easier and cheaper than ever.
Think of a smart home as an investment. While it might be seen as a luxury with a lot of fancy bells and whistles, smart homes bring a lot of features that will not just maintain your home’s value, but also increase it in the long run. Being able to lock your doors and monitor the premises through cameras will cut down on insurance, while lowering the lights when not in use, not running the sprinklers while it’s raining and turning the thermostat to a higher temperature when nobody’s home will save you thousands in energy bills.
There is one caveat to running a smart home, and it’s the fact that you’ll have to be connected to the internet. While your cell phone will still be able to pick up mobile data when the internet goes out, the same might not be true for your smart devices as these run mostly on wi-fi. Assuming that your internet is working, you can use your phone as a hub to control everything. User interfaces are becoming easier to use, as well, making it simplistic for even the most beginner user. Using this hub also lets you know how much you’re saving in energy and allows you to set timers to adhere to your schedule.
So is a smart home right for you? The answer is probably going to be yes unless you have problems with maintaining a solid internet connection or don’t have the money to spend at the moment. Since it doesn’t have to be done all at once, you can chip away at the costs with one project at a time. If you want to start off with something small, a device such as an Amazon Alexa can be a good hub for your audio needs and to set reminders as you work your way up with feeling more comfortable using all of the apps.
As for the internet, new technology is making it so that smart home devices can still run when not connected. This includes Thread, a technology that is helping with this issue. “ And looking at current use cases, the biggest elephant in the room in terms of bandwidth are cameras,” said Vividh Siddha of Thread and Apple. Once this issue is taken care of, you won’t have to rely on your bandwidth to keep your smart home at its smartest.