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Home Automation 101: Where Do I Start?

Smart home systems are all the rage these days. With fancy commercials showing you automated home assistants ordering your Uber and brewing your coffee, it’s only natural that your first instinct is to immediately equip your home with such technology. If you’re serious about investing home improvement software, however, there are many factors that need to considered at the outset.

This week, we’ll be breaking down some of the basics for anyone keen to install the systems of the future, in their homes. Take a look at a few of the most important factors to consider before purchasing home automation software.

Identify your needs

With an almost overwhelming range of home automation products on the market, picking the right tool can become downright confusing. In this process, it’s important that you first figure out what your needs are and then identify the corresponding product to address this. For instance, if you have an extremely busy lifestyle and are always on the go, a smart home assistant would be ideal for your home. Most systems can now perform a range of functions including ordering your groceries when you’re running low, automatically lock your doors and draw your blinds when you leave, among others.

If all you’re after is simply home improvement software on the other hand, appliances such as automated mood lighting, temperature control and security systems, are more appropriate for you. Basically, what you would invest in ultimately depends on the level of automation you’re going for and what your day-to-day requirements are. Identifying these will help you choose your products wisely.

What type of home do you live in?

Before getting carried away with the excitement of purchasing home improvement software, determining how effective and useful these will be in your living environment, is key. If you live in an apartment for instance, does your building permit the installation of smart devices in your home? is your heating controlled through a central, building-wide system? If it is, you may need to reconsider what you can invest in. These are crucial factors that need to be look at, before any investment is made.

For instance, it may be more practical and efficient to go with emerging smart home technology that is optimised for entire apartment complexes. These include automated security features for example, such as smart locks and cameras geared to cover entire buildings.

Product compatibility

Ensuring product compatibility is an important process in your path towards home automation. If you’re starting from scratch, ensuring that all your products use the same protocol (command language that enables it to operate and interact with other devices and systems) makes running a smart home all the more easier. Some of these protocols include standard bluetooth operated devices, those with Wifi capabilities, X-10 and Z-Wave, to name a few of the more commonly used systems.

If you’ve already made a few investments and are operating in a semi-automated home, there’s nothing to worry about. Products can be set up to interact and operate across various protocols with the right gateway and a smart hub in place.

Strong WiFi connectivity

If the devices you purchase runs off the WiFi protocol, it’s important to ensure that your wifi connection can handle the operation of these devices without interruption. While these systems don’t consume excessive bandwith, making sure that the signal reaches all corners of your homes, as well as maintaining a steady connection without crashes every too often, will contribute to the enhanced effectivity of your home improvement system.

Bringing all your devices together

With multiple smart devices, you might be wondering how to manage and run each of these efficiently. Smart hubs do just that. This allows each of your devices to be controlled from a central point, regardless of their manufacturer or protocol.

Hubs or controllers usually come with a centralised app which can be run on a smartphone or any other handheld device, and sometimes even through a separate remote which pairs with the controller in question. From controlling your smart home entertainment systems, heating, lighting or just about anything else, all of this is maintained and operated through your smart hub. Usually, devices such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home allow you to bring all your smart devices together, allowing them to be voice controlled from anywhere in your home.

Key takeaways

Planning ahead of your home automation aspirations is the key to making the most of your investment. Paying attention to the environment you live in, your lifestyles as well as your requirements is important if you are to make a substantial yet sustainable improvement to your home, as well as to the quality of your life. While getting carried away with all the improvements you can make is a natural part of this process, making smart and practical decisions is what will make you experience one you will replicate, across the course of your life.

How do I decide which smart home devices are for me?



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