Smart homes are becoming more common and there are more and more appliances that you can connect to a smart home. But what is a smart home? A smart home is a house with appliances and gadgets that can connect to the internet through Wi-Fi. They can then be controlled by apps on your phone. These devices know when to turn your thermostat up or down, and when to turn your lights on, without any impact from you.
This sounds like a big step and yes, it can be. If you are interested in turning your home a little smarter you need to research the appliances and gadgets that are out there first. Many of the smart gadgets currently available will not communicate with other smart gadgets out there. It is therefore vital that you do your research so your gadgets all get along! An excellent source of information is The Smart Future with not only their buyer’s guides and product reviews, but also their facts and a look at the history of smart technology.
You need to buy smart appliances and gadgets if you want your home to be smart. But before that, the first thing you need to buy is a smart home hub.
What is a Smart Home Hub?
At the minute, you probably already have a hub in your house. You use this to connect your house to the internet. The hub or router brings the internet connection into the house, and then you can connect internet ready devices such as your TV directly into your hub. Your hub emits a Wi-Fi signal so you can connect smartphones and tablets without having to plug them directly into your hub. Well a smart home hub is just the same.
A smart home hub is a piece of hardware that connects your appliances and gadgets to their own network to allow them to communicate. It is the same concept as a traffic hub with vehicles coming in and going out. In this case, data from different devices is coming in and then being sent out again.
You may well have heard about smart bulbs as these were one of the first affordable bits of smart technology. Many people embraced these quite early on. You could buy these bulbs and control them with an app on your smartphone. However, if you have 2 makes of bulb you have 2 different apps on your phone. A hub will allow you to connect and control both.
You, the user, would control the actions of your hub by using a smart home app, rather than the apps of the individual devices. This allows you to monitor systems, schedule tasks and even automate some others. Your smart home hub allows your different devices to work together. But how do you get into this brave new world?
How to Start With a Smart Home Hub?
Most people start small and build up to a more connected home. You do not want to start by trying to automate everything at once. Do your research and buy the smart home hub that you think will be most suitable for your needs first. Then you can start thinking about which smart devices you want to bring into your home.
A lot of smart devices come with their own hub. You then need to connect these separate hubs together with a smart home hub. But which one do you buy? It depends what you want to do. It will depend how deep into the smart technology you want to go. If you want to control everything from your lights and heating coming on to watching what’s cooking in your oven, you are going to need one of the top range smart home hubs.
You may already have a version of a smart home hub in your house already. Yes, Amazon Echo and Google Home are types of smart home hub. They have the added advantage of being voice controlled. If you have an Amazon Echo device you can buy a smart device for example a smart lightbulb. Once the smart device is working in your home, you can control it with your Amazon Echo by using an Alexa skill. This then gives you voice control over your lightbulb. That may be ‘as much smart’ as you need.