Top 5 Steps to Make Your House Smarter

It's a brave new world of smart gadgets and friendly at-home virtual assistants. It's a lot to navigate (and enjoy!), so here are our best smart home tips to help you do just that.

The future is now, and with many gadgets in science fiction movies now becoming a reality, you need smart home tips to make your house smarter. Unbelievable innovations in technology have made home living intelligent and convenient. Pre-programmed thermostats, robot vacuums, sensor-activated soap dispensers and voice-activated lights are something you can actually buy right now. However, when you start shopping for intelligent home products, you’ll be flooded with options. Where do you even start?

Here are our top five smart home tips needed to make your house smarter:

1.) Decide Your Command Preferences

Command Preferences - smart home tips

Esurance Blog

Having a smart home doesn’t have to mean that you need to have a smart hub for voice commands. Many intelligent appliances have their own corresponding app that you can easily download onto your phone or tablet. When you need to control your smart appliance, you can simply open its app to, for example, turn things off or on, alter the temperature or set a timer. Therefore, if you’re not a fan of voice activation, you can skip Step 2 and head on to Step 3.

2.) Get a Voice-Activated Device

Voice-activated devices - smart home tips

If the thought of being able to control parts of your home with just a vocal command sounds appealing to you, then you have a few great devices to choose from. Today there are two big competitors in voice-activated home automation: Amazon and Google.

The Amazon Echo, which also has many variations like the Echo Dot and Echo Show, uses the AI assistant Alexa. These Amazon devices can receive your voice commands after you prompt Alexa to listen to you. Alexa is compatible with many products that control lighting, alarms, garage doors and much more. In fact, to list all the devices Alexa can control would take a long time. We have a full list of different products we recommend to use in the process of smartening your home!

Google Home has also taken homes by storm since its debut at Christmas 2016. This device is two years younger than Alexa, so it falls slightly behind in home automation integration. However, this doesn’t mean that it still can’t do many things! It works well with Nest, Philips Hue bulbs and SmartThings, which means it can control your home’s lighting and indoor temperature. Google Home is also more adept at giving directions, locations of local hot spots and summoning an Uber. As Google Home stays on the market, its list of compatible applications will only grow, so stay tuned!

3.) Choose Your Smart Home Products

smart home tips - Smart Products

New York Post

One of the most important smart home tips is to determine what products you want to become “smart.” This decision is entirely based on your lifestyle preferences and needs. Some people may be fine with a home decked out with smart appliances, while others may just want to turn their lights off and on remotely. Wherever you fall, there are smart home products and applications that meet every comfort level possible.

One such product is the Nest Cam from Google. Unlike traditional security cameras, with the Nest Cam you no longer need to change a tape every few hours in order to prevent a lapse in coverage.

The Nest Cam is specifically designed to capture both audio and video 24 hours a day. Depending on your needs, you can install cameras outside the home or anywhere in your home.

With the advanced software inbuilt in these cameras, everything can be organized into a single platform for easy viewing and easy storage.

Another cool thing about the Nest Cam is that you can use the two-way mic to voice your opinion to anyone who enters uninvited or to simply tell the cat to remove itself from the counter. With a high resolution and the ability to interact through an app, this is a fun and handy smart home device to have.

Most products are run by Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth. Consider which ones are appropriate for you. Are you mainly on the go? Then Bluetooth-controlled devices might be better for you. WiFi products can save you on data charges and are appropriate for devices that you’ll mostly use when you’re at home, like lights and appliances.

Another smart product to make your home smarter is the smart TV. A smart television only takes a few minutes to set up, and most have Bluetooth/Wi-Fi features.

These smart TVs allow you to download apps and streaming services right to your set. It eliminates the need to buy expensive accessories for streaming content since an operating system is built right into the TV itself. All you’ll really need to do to do is punch in your Wi-Fi password and download some apps.

4.) Download the Correct Smart Home Apps

smart home tips - how to choose your smart home apps

If you are going with voice activation, every device or appliance that can be voice controlled will be controlled by a corresponding application. One of our best smart home tips is to first download Alexa or Google Home on your phone, then sync your AI assistant with your smart devices. If you’re just using a phone or tablet without voice activation, simply download the apps directly to your phone and start using your smart home products.

Not all smart speakers are built equally, and some only work with certain services. Apple’s HomePod, for instance, only works with Siri, so it won’t work for Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa fans.

5.) Set Parameters

smart home tips: set parameters

3D Perspective

Once you have the products and can control them, it’s now time to set all your preferences. For some products, you won’t need to do anything except turn them off and on. However, if you have a thermostat or a home alarm system, then pre-setting setting alarm schedules or temperatures can prove useful.

In this way, you can save yourself time and money by doing something as simple as changing your thermostat to energy-efficient temperatures while you’re at work or asleep. Bonus: You’ll save on your electric bill, too.

You’re five steps away from a smarter home.

Making your house intelligent is easy when you know the right steps to get started. Top 5 is passionate about helping people find the best ways to do things and select the right products. If you have any questions about our expert recommendations and insights, then explore more of our website or contact us anytime.