It wasn’t too long ago that smart homes were a-pie-in-the-sky idea, straight out of The Jetsons. Nowadays, from Alexa, to home security systems, to automatic lights and water fixture controls, a smart home is more within our reach than ever before.
But are the benefits worth the rather significant costs?
First of all, it may help to define exactly what a “smart home” is. What technology does a home have to have in order to qualify as a smart home? Well, many people define it as a home where devices communicate to EACH OTHER in some way. Let’s dive deeper:
Based on what we just said, a typical home security system wouldn’t count as a smart home feature, because it’s just a control panel with sensors. A smart home security system would be one that connects to your smartphone or other devices, so that you can lock/unlock your home and get inside your house using just your phone.
You could use your smart device to view surveillance footage, and to control cameras, alarms, or motion sensors.
You may be wondering why smart home security is better than basic security, for the average person. It’s not like you’re a celebrity who has to watch out for robbers and paparazzi on a daily basis, or anything!
Well, for one thing, it’s nice to be able to remotely control your locks, just in case you’re ever unsure you or a family member locked up all doors properly when they left.
Too bad there’s no app for checking if you forgot to turn your oven off!
(Actually, we lied, there IS. You can buy a stove monitor that pairs with an app on your smartphone, and sends you a notification if you left your stove on.)
Also, even if you don’t see a need for beefed-up camera security around your home, most people agree that a video doorbell is a great way to either communicate remotely with the people on your doorstep, or to make sure that no one steals your Amazon packages!
Lights, Camera, Action!
Now that you’ve got the camera situation figured out, what about the lights?
In Bill Gates’s house, everybody gets pinned with a tracking chip. As you move through rooms, lights come on immediately, and they turn off in the room you just left. Also, music and TV shows will follow you around the house, on speakers and screens.
…Maybe that’s a little too far.
And it sounds expensive! But if you want to go less drastic, there are smart solutions that will actually save you money in the long run. For example, smart light switches. If you have a lot of lights in a room, like recessed lights and lamps, it gets expensive if you forget to turn them off.
If you have a “smart light switch” system, you can program all the lights wired to one switch to turn off whenever you want, like on a schedule. You can also save money by buying smart light bulbs. These smart bulbs let you control your life using your phone or Alexa. Plus, these smart bulbs tend to be LEDs, which last longer and are far more energy efficient.