Internet of Things: How to Make Your Home Smart
According to a Statista report, by 2026 smart home technology will be used by 579.1 million families worldwide, and the total share of users will reach 25.2% compared to 12.3% in 2021.
However, the idea of smart homes is still a new concept. And there is so much information about what a smart home is, how it works, and how to set up the equipment, that it is simply not clear where to start.
Our guide will break everything down and help you quickly figure it out. Let’s go!
In this article:
- What is a Smart Home?
- How Does a Smart Home Work?
- Where to Start Making Your Home Smart?
- What Smart Home Devices Should You Get?
- How to Get Instant Notifications From Smart Devices?
What is a Smart Home?
In a narrow sense, a “Smart Home” is a house/apartment equipped with devices that take over and automate routine tasks that are usually performed by people. For example, turn on/off the light, control the air conditioner, start the kettle, etc.
In general, any system equipped with at least a couple of smart devices can be called a smart home. That is, if you use a smart speaker with a voice assistant and, for example, a video surveillance camera, you can already proudly be called a smart home user.
How Does a Smart Home Work?
Smart devices are called this way because they learn as they work. Complicated software is responsible for this. It allows devices to remember your habits and preferences and, over time, understand your needs better and adapt to them.
As a rule, all smart appliances in the house are interconnected and united in a common ecosystem. Technically, this can be done via wireless or wired systems. The difference is that wireless systems are cheaper and easier to install. Wired systems can cost several times more, but they are considered more reliable and harder to hack. The choice is yours.
Once connected, devices become part of the Internet of Things (IoT), a network of physical objects that can collect and exchange electronic information. Users can remotely manage each device using the control center. It can be an app on your smartphone/computer or a special hub. With the help of them, you can, for example, view recordings from cameras, adjust the temperature in the rooms, start washing, and so on.
Where to Start Making Your Home Smart?
The easiest way to create a smart home is to purchase all kinds of smart appliances and devices (smart bulbs and sockets, sensors, CCTV cameras, etc.) and connect them to a hub that will unite them all into a single system. This way, they can interact with each other, and you will manage everything from one place.
Yes, it is really convenient, but also, often, really expensive. Still, it is not at all necessary to rush into the pool and immediately buy everything that stores offer you. If you want to save money and your requirements are much more modest, start with a few products that will really become your home helpers.
The most important rule is that all smart home devices must be compatible with each other. Now it becomes quite easy, and you don’t even have to buy devices of one brand. Firstly, there are a number of special applications that help build a single smart home system and replace an expensive hub. These include Home Assistant, Node-RED, Homebridge, and others. Secondly, new technologies come to the rescue. For example, the new Matter standard brings together smart devices under the Google, Apple, and Amazon brands. Just study the information in advance and then, in the future, you can easily expand your smart home system by adding new devices.
What Smart Home Devices Should You Get?
So which smart devices should you buy first? According to a recent Reviews.org survey, the TOP-3 smart home devices include smart speakers, smart TVs, and security cameras. These devices are the most popular among users. We added a few more necessary items and got a list of 7 must-have smart home devices:
- Smart speaker. Speakers with voice assistants, such as Apple's Siri, Google's Assistant, and Amazon's Alexa, not only make it easier to control smart home devices but also help you perform simple tasks and brighten up your leisure time. You just need to speak a simple command like "Alexa, turn off the lights", "Assistant, make a shopping list" or "Siri, turn on the music."
- Smart TV. Smart TVs are no longer new to anyone, but they are strongly associated with the smart home system and complement it perfectly. A number of built-in applications and services will not let you get bored. And artificial intelligence will always offer content tailored to your personal preferences. When used in conjunction with a smart speaker, you don't even need a remote to turn it on.
- Security camera. Another device that hardly needs an introduction. By installing the camera inside or outside the apartments, you will always stay aware of what is happening, watching the broadcast from your smartphone or computer, wherever you are. In addition, smart cameras often come with face recognition and can send you a recording when it detects unfamiliar subjects.
- Smart lighting. The simplest solution is smart light bulbs. Outwardly, they do not differ at all from ordinary ones, but the built-in microcomputer and wireless communication module, plus multi-colored diodes and temperature sensors significantly expand the functionality. You no longer have to get up from the couch to turn on or off the light. And yet, you can set up automatic scenarios for different situations and times of the day.
- Smart sockets. This device allows you to control the equipment connected to it, thereby making any electrical appliance “smart”. You can remotely turn on and off household appliances and monitor their status. For example, start the kettle 5 minutes before you return home.
- Video doorbell. This relative of smart cameras is another option for implementing video surveillance, but with an intercom. Although the video doorbell has a fixed panel, you can easily set up sending calls to your phone and communicate with guests from a distance using the built-in microphone and speaker.
- Smart thermostat. These devices automate the process of adjusting the temperature in your home by connecting to your heating/air conditioning system. For example, on the way home, you can set the desired room temperature to warm the house in winter and cool it in summer. This optimization of energy consumption will help reduce utility costs.
How to Get Instant Notifications From Smart Devices?
After you have chosen and bought smart devices for your home, combined them within a certain system, and learned how to manage them, there is one more important step. It's about setting up sending notifications from these devices to your smartphone, tablet or PC.
And, it turns out, this is also not difficult at all, because there is Notify.Events! With this service, you can combine notifications from all smart home devices in one place and receive them in a convenient way - for example, via a message to a chatting app (Signal, Telegram, Viber, Microsoft Teams, etc.), as SMS, push notifications or voice calls.
Notify.Events makes it easy to manage notifications from smart home and IoT devices. You just need to register in the N.E system and add the desired service to your channel - the event feed - as a source. After you complete a simple initial setup, you will receive notifications to the selected communication tool(-s).
For example, you can receive a message with a photo in Telegram every time the camera records movement in your house. Or you will get an alert in Signal when the robot vacuum cleaner finishes cleaning and the washing machine finishes washing. You will monitor all important events in the house in real time and can quickly respond to them if necessary. Convenient, right?
At the moment, “out of the box” integrations are available with 7 large smart home systems. These include Google Home / Nest, Homebridge, and Home Assistant.
Read more about how Notify.Events works in this article.