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What is a Smart Home?

A girl with a smart device.

When you think of home automation, you possibly dream of a futuristic world where machines have taken over and do everything for you. Well, this isn’t too far from the truth, but it is far less dramatic than it sounds. In recent times, home automation has become a lot more accessible. Once a luxury reserved for the affluent or tech-savvy, today’s home automation services are more affordable and accessible than ever before. They have thus become a need of the hour for all the contemporary houses because of their advantages like ease of access, added comfort, enhanced security and child safety. 

Smart Home refers to a home that is fully automated and the devices therein can communicate to each other to perform tasks. Rather than controlling individual devices like lights and thermostats manually, you can instead use an automated system that lets you manage these functions with the tap of a smartphone app. Additionally, it involves digitization and digital networking of the devices in your home so that they can operate through voice commands, taps or other inputs to manage their functions individually or as a whole. From lighting and security to media streaming and temperature controls, home automation systems can operate nearly any device in your house with just the press of a button—or in some cases, without ever needing to lift a finger. through a smart speaker.

Home automation is not a new concept by any means. The first automated systems date back to the 1920s when manufacturers like General Electric began offering remote-control devices as options in their home appliances. Nowadays, technology is cheaper and easier to install than ever before. Gone are the days of hiring an expensive electrician and installing a complex system wired to your home’s electrical system. Today, the most essential wireless systems are easier to install and less expensive to maintain.

Which Devices Can Be Automated?

There are a lot of devices that can be controlled with home automation. Lighting is often the first thing people think of when it comes to automation, and for a good reason. Lighting makes up a large part of any home’s energy consumption, so being able to control it remotely can save you money on your electric bill. Many systems allow you to set a schedule for your lights, so they can turn on when you arrive and turn off automatically when you leave. Some systems even allow you to set up light timers, so you can do things like have a lamp turn on an hour before you get home from work. Other devices that can be automated include thermostats, appliances, and even smart blinds. With the enhanced popularity of smart home technology, it’s easier to automate almost anything in your house.

A man controlling smart blinds.

Smart Home Security

Perhaps the most crucial aspect of any home automation system is security. These  systems can make your life easier but they also introduce a new vulnerability in your home: internet connectivity. This is why security features are an essential part of any smart home system, as almost everything is hooked up to the wi-fi. You don’t want a hacker to be able to gain access to your lights or thermostat and have them wreak havoc throughout your house. While no computer system is ever truly 100% secure, today’s smart home systems are pretty robust. Most systems use encryption to protect data between the devices and your home network and offer two-factor authentication for added security.

Smart Home Appliances

Another way smart home systems can save you money is by controlling your appliances. For example, if you have a smart water heater or sprinkler system, you can set it to turn off or on from your phone. Smart appliances are also a great option for those who are visually impaired. For example, you can set up voice controls to turn on the microwave or oven without seeing what you’re doing. Smart appliances are also more efficient than traditional models, many are built with energy-saving features, like a washing machine that will run only as long as it needs to clean your clothes.

Smart Homes Can Have Smart Windows and Doors

One significant feature of a smart home system is that it can be expanded to regulate other aspects of your home, like your windows and doors and even garage doors. Automatic window shades have been around for a while, but today’s systems are even more robust. For example, you can set up a system that allows you to control your window shades anywhere, keeping your home private while letting in the right amount of sunlight at the correct times. Many home automation systems also let you control your doors remotely. For example, you can set up a home security system that enables you to unlock your door from your phone with smart locks.

Different Window Treatments for Smart Homes

With automated window blinds, there are so many features and things you can do with them. Motorized blinds and smart shades are compatible with smart home devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home, giving you the ability to control them with voice commands. Also, you can have them sync up with your smart thermostat and smart lighting network, allowing you to have the best control over your home’s light and temperature.

The smart shades also come in a variety of different types. From insulating cellular shades to motorized exterior solar shades, there are so many different ways you can dress your home and yard. As a smart device, they will also be interconnected with the rest of your smart home products, creating a mesh for you to control your smart home through.

Is Installing A Smart Home System Worth It?

Whether or not a smart home is worth it depends on your needs. If you’re looking for a quick, energy-saving fix, there are plenty of gadgets you can buy to help you out. But if you want more comprehensive home automation, installing a system will cost you some money. The initial investment can be costly, Basic systems start at around $200, but they can cost as much as $1,000 or more, depending on your devices. However, it’s important to remember that a considerable chunk of that cost will be recouped in the form of energy savings throughout the lifetime of your system. So the real question you should be asking yourself is: Are you willing to spend to save money in the long run? If yes, any smart home system is worth it if it helps you save money and keep your home safe.