How smart is your home?
Picture this. You are miles away from your home on a family vacation and suddenly you realize you have not switched off a gadget at home. And you are not in a position to go home soon nor is there anyone to do it for you. Gone are the days when you had to fret and fidget about it. With rapid advances in technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) touching all facets of life as we know it, this level of home automation is not a scene out of a sci-fi, but a reality. So, what are these common gadgets and how useful are these? We try to find out.
Let us start at the beginning. We hear the term smart home often and it is any home that is fitted with gadgets connected by networking protocols like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. And you need not necessarily be home to activate these gadgets – all it takes is a swipe of a button.
Hubs and Controllers
Smart home devices let you turn your home into an automated voice-activated and app-controlled hub. And you can turn on your AC machines, keep an eye on your pets or the maid with just a swipe on your smartphone. This brings us to voice automated virtual assistants like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home. While Amazon Echo is activated by the wake word “Alexa“, Google’s Home is activated by the wake phrase “Okay, Google”. After waking up the speaker, you can get it to automate a wide range of activities.
The basic aim of both the devices is that it should be able to answer almost any question and carry out hundreds of tasks performed on your smartphone. If you are an Apple fan, you have to wait a wee bit longer for the Siri backed Homepod which is due this year. The need for a hub rises when you have a couple of smart devices and you require a ‘brain’ for their activities. Manufacturers are now bundling hubs into other devices like security systems and mesh WiFi routers making it easy to handle for beginners.
A smart hub, is the Rosetta Stone for your smart home, says CNET because it marries Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Z-wave, and Zigbee, with your device. If you are looking at something simple, quick and cheap go into a smart outlet. Anything plugged into this outlet can be controlled, automated and worked using a smartphone app.
Do you worry about small kids at home with maids? Do you wonder what your pet is up to when you are away from home? Surveillance cameras are very popular these days. With just a swipe on your smartphone, you can see what is happening at your house. The arrival of security cameras has given a higher level of reassurance and reliability. Some security cameras come with high-level features like night vision sound and motion alerts and round the clock video streaming.
Adding smart locks that detect movements or unwanted break-ins increases the safety of homes.
More people are investing in smart light bulbs compatible with Android and IoS and technology allows for switching them off and on from anywhere you are. And light bulbs are not the only gadgets that are getting a smart makeover. From air conditioners to fridges and faucets, smart is the new hallmark. The best part, not every gadget will burn a hole in your wallet. In fact, it is cost-effective in the long run.
Live Safe. Live Smart.
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