Your Safe, Secure, Smart Home (Failure to Plan is a Plan to Fail!)
Your home will be safer and more secure, everything will be more convenient, and your bills will go down.
Just some of the reasons that more and more people are making their homes smart. Control over everything - from lights to fans to air conditioning, home entertainment and appliances, door and garage locks and much more - is being put at your fingertips, on your smartphone. Or even your voice!
Start Secure, Stay Secure
Let’s begin with the end in mind. Security is a big priority in creating a smart home.
Today, to secure your home, you can buy smart cameras, motion sensors, and automated door locks. There are also alerts, alarms, and even fire, moisture, and carbon monoxide monitoring.
Digital security becomes even more important than before. Every smart device added creates a doorway into your digital life, your home network. The last thing you want is invaders accessing those security measures. Always plan to protect every digital device. Your family’s safety is the best outcome from your home network.
Every smart device added creates a doorway into your digital life, your home network.
Start Your Smart Home Planning
As with any project, begin with identifying and prioritizing your goals. Why do you want a smart home? Which of the many things it can do is most important to you? Begin by considering the reasons featured in this brief list:
It’s Just So Cool!
Probably the worst reason to do anything. But plenty of people might admit to it being their primary reason.
Next Step? Review the rest of this list! There are far more valuable reasons to build your smart home.
Safe, Secure Home
This is one of the primary reasons that people decide to invest time and money in a smart home approach. With wireless technology, it can be less expensive and easier to set up your home with sensors and cameras and then connect to a security monitoring service.
Next Step? Get a smart home hub. This connects devices on a home automation network and controls communications among them. Many smart home hub manufacturers also offer sensors and detectors such as door and window sensors, moisture, carbon monoxide, and smoke detectors, motion and temperature sensors. Include in your search smart cameras, doorbells, and thermostats providers. Products overlap among providers. Make informed choices when combining them.
Visibility of your home and loved ones
When we are not home, it's comforting to see that everything is alright through our smart phones. Think about instances when parents leave their children with a baby sitter. Or being away for a long period of time. Even when home, being able to see who’s at the front door, or trying to sneak in, is powerful protection.
Next Step? Start by thinking about your personal traffic patterns in and around your home. Where would you like to be able to view even when you’re not home? Here are some things to consider:
Wired, AC-powered cameras can be left on 24/7 recording mode.
Battery-powered versions only start recording when they detect motion. You may miss the first second or two.
Newer cameras include lights, microphones, speakers, and sirens. These enable you to speak to the intruder.
Some wifi doorbells have integrated cameras. .
Review the product selection and choose what best fits your needs. Also check prices for the associated cloud services. Just about all will store your recordings and make them available from the cloud.
Smart thermostats can be set to the right temperature depending on season and locale. With smart settings comes possibilities to reduce your electric, gas or oil bills and program when devices turn on and off.
Next Step? Take an inventory of the following:
What devices should have automated power on/off?
When should they be turned on and off? Note time and frequency.
How should your smart devices behave in relation to the other smart devices?
Most smart home hubs offer automation capabilities, but you may also want to check out IFTTT.com (If This Then That). Results from one wifi device triggers actions to other wifi devices. For example, you might want to turn several lights on in your house when someone rings your doorbell. Or sound an alarm when someone opens the gate to your back yard. You could even have the window shades close when the outside temperature rises too high.
Environmental Control & Safety
The best illustration is the extreme case. Imagine you’re in a building in Arizona or Florida at the height of summer, when temperatures rise to over 100. What would happen were your air conditioning to fail? Disaster! What if a pipe burst in your home while you were at work? Or something started leaking carbon monoxide while you were home?
Your smart home can spot these dangers and take action. Properly equipped windows can be automatically opened or closed. Emergency messages can be sent to first responders. New sensors and other devices are emerging constantly.
Next Step? Consider the following:
Smart thermostats can help control your home environment. They keep everything balanced, especially for those with multiple zones of heat or air conditioning.
Wifi based vent covers distribute heat and cooling throughout the house. With sensors, they open and close based on room temperature and presence of people in the room. Occupied rooms get preference. Empty rooms may be shut off completely, saving energy while keeping everyone comfortable.
You’re away from home but you’ve scheduled a contractor or cleaning crew to do work in your house. You don’t want to give them a key. With the right smart device, you can control remotely their access to your home. While they work, you can also keep an eye on them via your security cameras. You can turn off the lights remotely after they leave. You can be home from wherever you are.
Next Step? This brings us back to the smart home hubs. Examine the mobile interface for each smart device. Check to make sure you have full and secure access to the things you’d want to control when you’re away from home. The list could include: doorbells, cameras, thermostat, sprinkler systems, lights. All these and more should be controllable from your mobile device.
Smart home technology can automate certain tasks. Your voice-activated personal assistant can read your email to you. It can also check and set appointments. It can create your shopping list, answer questions, and much more - replacing the need for a personal assistant. Smart speakers with Alexa or Google personal assistant built-in provide enhanced auditory experience.
Next Step? Explore the artificial intelligence aspects of your smart device. Does it learn your patterns and predict future actions? While Z-Wave and Zigbee have been developed as standards for smart home control, not everything works. Resist the “cool” factor in AI. Focus on what will really enhance your life.
Identify your goals in building a smart home. Then follow these practical tips.
There are certainly other goals that motivate people to make their homes smart. Before you start selecting and purchasing equipment determine which yours are. This will inform each decision you make from this point forward. Just remember at every step to include how you will secure each device, each connection, and each app.
For more information, speak to the Sumos.io team. They've built hacker alerts for your connected devices. They help keep your home and loved ones safe from intrusions on smart devices you can’t live without.