It’s fair to say that the first wave of smart home devices has ended. It’s no longer “mind-boggling” whenever we hear about a new home automation gadget; we have grasped the general notion of it, we have normalized it. We have no idea what the second wave of home automation will be like – we can only bet it will definitely happen and it won’t be long until it comes – but now, having those smart home devices around for quite a while, we can already separate what’s really cool and useful from the unnecessary bandwagon-y smart house technology items.
First, to understand the concept of use to the smart home devices mania, we need to think of the benefits smart house technology brings. It’s basically two things: it saves the homeowner time by being super practical and money by being super efficient, thus economical. Over this axis, here are the truly essential smart home devices to any real estate property:
Solar power system
If there’s a way that smart technology can save you money its via the whole solar power system of solar panels and solar batteries on your house. Actually, it’s not even saving money: you can make money! Some energy companies will buy the excess of energy produced by your solar power system.
There is only one setback: this one can be a little expensive. It should pay for itself in the long run, but the initial cost can be quite substantial, especially if you just moved in. If you can’t outright buy a solar power system, you could try doing a lease, but just watch out for two things: first, if you are still in the early installments of your mortgage, chances are your credit quota will be stuffed and you might have the lease denied hurting your credit score, and, second, if your credit score is fine and the loan does get approved, beware of The Solar Panel Trap.
The energy consumption of smart home devices is crazy! More and more solar power systems will come with built-in monitoring devices, making them cheaper and efficient and showing you the “leaks” of your energy consumption. But right now, monitoring devices like CURB are a must to any home automation adept. It can help you have a more precise overview of where and how your energy (your money!) is being poorly spent.
Monitoring devices usually give you a detailed energy stats analysis broken down by each appliance and room, so you can even figure out beforehand if your fridge or blow-dryer needs repair.
Voice recognition devices
Those are the ones people think of when someone talks about smart house technology, right? And, while people love to make fun of it – indeed you feel a little dorky talking out loud with a machine – voice recognition devices are not a prop; they are essential.
What most companies promote in connection with voice recognition gadgets is usually the possibility of asking for entertainment options of your location, and all sort of Google-able trivia, But voice recognition devices really come into play within home automation as the easiest way to remotely control everything. No wonder almost all smart home devices are integrated with Alexa, Google Home and whatever voice recognition technology you prefer.
Plus, you can control them from anywhere via your smartphone. That means you can control virtually any home automation you need while being away from home. How great is that? Sure, there’s a lot we need to figure out about privacy – because they are collecting data from us all the time – but voice recognition devices are definitely here to stay.
Think of those as the smart home devices that control the overall “feeling” of the house. Smart thermostats like the Ecobee makes its cooling (or heating) decisions by taking several things into account. They read the presence of people in rooms through sensors, they read the temperature outside and inside, they analyze the house’s unique energy profile and other smart data… they do it all and, in the end, you have much more affordable air conditioning in your house.
But also smart home devices like the Phillips Hue that provide your home automation lighting solutions. They are basically smart light bulbs. You can, via voice recognition devices or your smartphone, turn on and off each specific light bulb, dim it and even change its color! Plus, they are LED, so the energy consumption is minimal too. The only minor downside of smart lighting solutions is that every time it requires a system update (and it’s been surprisingly often) you have to go the old-fashioned way and turn the switch on and off.
But when you combine those two – thermostats and light bulbs – using voice recognition you understand how home automation is priceless: you can program it in a way where you just say something like “Alexa, movie time!” and it will set the air conditioning to sub-zero – so you can go under the covers – the lights will dim, creating that movie theater feel, and the TV will turn on and log into Netflix. All within seconds! It’s modern magic!
Smart Home Security System
This is obviously an essential one. You have to look out for your family’s safety and you also need to preserve the investment you’re doing after buying all those sought-after smart home devices, right? There are several reliable home security systems, but the smart home security system and its gadgets are on the rise right now. You have several crafty individual solutions that are fantastic.
Ring Doorbell, for instance, is great. You can see, hear and speak to anyone who rings your doorbell. And you can do that from anywhere in the world, via your smartphone, tablet or personal computer. But you have also home automation gadgets designed to alert you to dangers of flood and freeze, children and pet monitoring, car and garage status, door locks and a whole multitude of smart home security system solutions that, again, you can track from anywhere in the world and activate just by the sound of your voice or the GPS of your phone – like, say, the doors and windows will automatically lock and the house alarm will automatically turn on when you are 10 feet away from the house.