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How to make your home a smart home?

 

Transforming your home into a smart home is one of the best things to make your life easier and more energy efficient at home. But if you’re not tech-savvy, you may find it to be a daunting task to get started. There are many options, many devices, and many technologies to take into consideration. Having options is always a good thing, albeit a bit confusing. Worry not, we’ll help you make your home a smart home.

 

Off-the-shelf smart home devices are good, but will they give you the perfect fit?

You know that you want your home to be smart and intelligent. And you must have come across plenty of smart home devices. But the current state of off-the-shelf smart home systems is tricky. Now don’t get us wrong, they work as they’re supposed to. But often these devices don’t play very well with each other.

Most of these devices come with their own proprietary ecosystems. If you’re not too careful, you may find yourself with too many different apps on your phone for each and every device in your home. Your home will be smart, but it won’t bring the efficiency or the comfort you’re expecting from a smart home. This may change in the future, but right now your best bet is to go for a custom solution.

And we at Smartify Homes have been through that and do acknowledge that it is very cumbersome to manage multiple applications and commands for each platform.

Choosing the network protocol for your smart home

First and foremost step, you need to understand what type of platform will be suitable for your home and budget. There are a plethora of proprietary and open-source platforms to choose from i.e., Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, C-Bus, etc. Each platform has its own pros and cons. They have different wiring/configuration/programming complexity (requiring a bunch of specialist trades to install), range/accessibility of devices, internet vs local, etc. Diving into these technologies is a different tangent to explore on its own – we will be doing a blog on it very soon.

Step two of building a smart home is to understand your goals

Once you have some basic understanding of each platform, bring that knowledge into the context of what you are trying to achieve: what is the user story? What are you trying to achieve through home automation? Do you want to control the gates and doors to your home? Do you want to reduce the energy consumption in your house? Which devices do you want to automate? Do you want voice control, or do you want a simple mobile app?

While defining this imagine how you’ll be using your smart home. You wake up in the morning, and as you’re getting out of bed, you can control the window blind with just the position that you want in the morning. While you’re making yourself a cup of coffee, you hear someone at the door. A quick glance at the intercom tells you that it’s the grocery delivery person. You open the door using a smartphone app or voice command and let the delivery person leave it inside through the intercom.

Sounds a bit too much? Or futuristic? Depends on the user.

Here’s a simpler one. You’re leaving the house for a vacation, and you’re worried about your house. How would you secure your house? Install a set of CCTVs around your home, and stream the video directly to your phone. Install a set of smart locks which you can check periodically. And you can also allow access to any delivery personnel or friends who might come knocking.

And that’s why user stories are important. Only you can tell what you need, and in fact, you shouldn’t let anyone else tell you.

As each home is different each user story will be different but you need to find a sweet spot with a platform that will support your story and will be expandable for your future needs. At the same time it has to be reliable enough.

Consider your future plans as well while defining your user story. Maybe you want to install just a surveillance system around your house for now. But do you have plans to automate the garden lights in the future?

Figuring out the components for making your home smart

The next step would be to isolate the components (maybe circuits wise) you’ll need i.e., door locks and gate openers or may it be an alarm, intercom or surveillance. Or maybe lighting, sounds, climate control. For example, if you want to implement secure access control, you’d want automatic door openers, you’d want a system to authenticate (to identify who it is, it could be a numbered keypad, or it could be a finger-print ID system) and you’ll want all the associated components to bring this all together.

With this cross-mapping done, you have almost got the hard bit sorted. You should be in a situation where you are choosing whether to DIY (where possible) or to hire someone (tradesman) from the industry to do it for you. Either way, you should be able to convey your design and requirements effectively to have your home automation project delivered. But if you’ve known exactly what you wanted, and you’ve gone through the above steps, you should have a hold on everything.

What to do after installing a smart home system?

One key aspect for each project is the maintenance and updating of what you’ve implemented regularly to suit your needs. Hence lastly, you should always think about how you are going to maintain your user story to keep it relevant to you and your family. And keep updating your systems as the requirements change. You want a system that works for you, not a system you work for.

Technology changes, time goes on, your requirements change. Keep updating so that the system works for you.

Comments (2)

The nice way in which you have described a smart home.

Thanks Sanjay! Your kind words keeps us striving for more in what we do. We feel that this market is quite niche, with some countries bit more open and advanced but there is a need for educating and drawing it out for many other non savvy home owners. Please follow us on insta @smartifyhomesptyltd to see more of our work. Something interesting is coming up soon…

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