Have you ever wondered how far are we from having a completely automated life?
This is closer than you think. In 2021, there were 258.54 million smart homes across the world. Having an automated home can bring a lot of benefits. Forgot to lock your door or to turn off the stove? You’re Smart Home has our back. The definition of a smart home consists of a group of devices and appliances that the homeowner can remotely control via smartphone, computer, tablet, etc., it doesn’t matter where you are.
Nevertheless, not many people know the important aspects of smart homes. That’s why in this article we gathered experts in automated homes and devices to give you the best insights to encourage yourself and others to transform your home.
Q: What are the most benefits of smart thermostats compared to a regular one?
Smart thermostats can bring much more comfort and energy savings than non-programmable and programmable thermostats. Smart thermostats give you the ability to get the right temperature at the right time without lifting a finger or heating at total capacity all the time. This is all thanks to many smart features like geofencing, automation, scenes, and compatibilities with voice assistants. Some apps will even provide charts to track your energy consumption and savings.
A smart thermostat pays for itself in only a couple of years. If you’re building a new home or condo, it’s definitely something you should look into, especially considering the price difference. And if you’re upgrading your home – it’s a nice addition that you will love.
Désirée Larocque | Sinopé
Q: What needs to be considered when buying a robot vacuum to ensure it is the right one for you?
Don’t get obsessed over suction power or battery life. What really matters is that the robot gets used frequently. Robot vacuums are like the tortoise (not the hare). They work best when they can be deployed every single day, slowly and consistently cleaning. Your robot vacuum should have an app that allows you to create a schedule for daily cleanings (mine does its job every night while I’m sleeping). In addition, a strong mapping system (VSLAM technology) with the ability to create no-go zones will keep it out of trouble. Once scheduling and mapping are in place, the only intervention needed from you is to empty the dustbin. Some models have auto-empty dustbins which allow your robot vacuum to operate for a month or more without any intervention from you.
Eric Blank | The Smart Cave
Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to create a home assistant dashboard?
When creating a smart home dashboard, you first need to determine what you want to achieve with it. Because a truly smart home is (almost) fully automated, so the dashboard is only there to inform and help you. There is really no need to control each individual light bulb from your dashboard, instead, you want to see the status of your smart home at a glance and be able to select different scenes for your lighting. Keep in mind that less is more when creating a dashboard.
Rudy Mens | LazyAdmin
Q: How do smart indoor gardening units works?
An indoor smart garden kit is like what the name suggests, a tech gardening appliance that is controlled by a PC or App. Their size makes them ideal for indoor use. Essentially, the device provides self-watering, artificial light, and nutrients to the plant. Most are super easy to use and sport a small footprint. More importantly, there is no messy soil, the seeds are provided in biodegradable pods inserted into the wi-fi-electric powered unit, and the water reservoir is filled. That’s it. Smart garden kits are very popular among apartment dwellers and busy people, as they take up little to no space and they are practically self-sufficient. And of course, if your thumb isn’t a bright green, these devices do all the gardening work for you.
David Novak | Gadgetgram
Q: What part does a router play in home automation?
A router can enable you to monitor and control your home from a computer, tablet, or phone anywhere in the world. It connects all of your devices to the internet. This allows you to monitor and control any device that is connected to your network from an app on your smartphone or from a website on your computer. Thus, for home automation to occur, you need the internet and the router is the unheralded device in the home automation process since it connects the home automation gadgets to the internet for ease in monitoring and control using either voice commands or through manual input.
Aloise | Technology Reviewer
Q: How do you keep track of all the logins for smart devices and keep them secure?
Smart devices are great, but they are a potential security risk, and keeping track of the login information for each one can be a hassle. Thankfully, there is a simple and safe solution – password managers. A password manager stores your login information securely, encrypting the data so that only you and the people you share it with have access. Many are designed for individuals, while others make sharing passwords with friends, family, and coworkers a breeze. Good ones generate unique passwords that are nearly impossible to crack. For homes, a password manager that allows users to store private information and share joint logins work best. And those that can be accessed through a browser or mobile app are even better. That way, everyone in your smart home can get the access they need when they need it.
Tony Caccavo | TeamPassword
Q: How Smart Sprinklers works?
To replace your traditional irrigation system, you can now use Smart Sprinklers. These are smart irrigation controls with advanced sensors used to water your plant in the most efficient way. These systems use weather apps to get accurate information and to adjust accordingly. This will prevent the sprinklers from running when nature takes over the job of watering your garden. They also learn your watering patterns to provide the perfect amount of water needed by your plants. It is often possible to install smart watering technology on your existing irrigation system, cutting your water usage by 20 to 40 percent! Using your smartphone, laptop, or tablet, you will be able to give the system’s app inputs and manage your system remotely! This will work thanks to your data or your Wi-Fi network.
Simon Li | Wellbots
Q: What part does biometrics play in smart home technology?
Biometric technology is an integral part of any smart home system. Fingerprint recognition, face and iris scanning are extremely popular and very well integrated to allow only authorized users to enter homes. Cameras installed in different homes constantly scan the faces of people in a room to ensure that there are no intruders in the home. Voice Biometrics ensures that only a registered person’s voice can control different smart systems within the house.
Danny Thakkar | Bayometric
Q: What is the most important thing to consider when choosing a smart security system?
When choosing your smart security system, it is critical to fully understand what you want out of the system. Security systems can do much more than keep intruders at bay, many integrate smart home technology that offers enhanced benefits. If you’re “security-first” look for a system that supports critical add-ons such as smart locks, door/window sensors, sirens, glass-break detectors, and alarms. If adding a layer of intelligence on top of your home security is important, consider a system that supports smart lighting, HVAC control, smart shading, and water/leak detectors. Z-Wave technology can be found in all of the examples above, providing homeowners with flexibility and peace of mind that their devices will work as intended within their system of choice.
Mitchell Klein | Z-Wave Alliance
Q: What are the benefits of a robot vacuum?
Save your time and energy. The mission of the robot vacuum cleaner is to handle household cleaning on behalf of the user. Not everyone has the energy to deal with household cleaning when they get home from a tough day. Constant product iterations have made the latest robot vacuum cleaners smarter and smarter. They can be settled to clean the floor more than one pass when you’re not home. So you’ll have more time to relax, play with your kids or do whatever you want.
Small, compact, and easy to use
In terms of design, the vast majority of robot vacuum cleaners have very small and compact designs that can be easily stored in almost any space. In terms of operation, users can easily complete the settings and control the machine, whether it is through the panel buttons, the remote control, or the APP. Once the user sets the cleaning time and cleaning area for the machine, the product actually operates on its own. Of course, there are many benefits of robot vacuum cleaners, but in my opinion, it is based on the above two points that make this product more and more popular and loved by more and more consumers.
Quintus | ILIFE
Q: What advice would you give to someone transitioning their bathroom into a smart one?
Replace your existing mirror with a connected smart one that can keep you updated with useful information, such as time, date, weather, messages, your calendar, and more. Another easy upgrade is getting a voice-enabled showerproof smart speaker that allows you to listen to music, headlines, podcasts, and audiobooks. Finally, a bathroom can also be personalized quite easily with smart LED lightbulbs that can be controlled and connected with home automation systems and other smart devices. One important tip: when considering battery-powered smart devices, make sure to look for low-power products for the longest battery life.
Charlene Wan I Ambiq
Q: What are the types of digital photo frames?
The two main differences between digital photo frames are Wi-Fi connected or Non-Wi-Fi better known as traditional frames. The future of digital photo frames is Wi-Fi! Most homes nowadays have Wi-Fi in them which opens the door to having the next generation wifi digital photo frame. The main advantage of a Wi-Fi frame vs a traditional non-Wi-Fi frame is the simplicity of getting new content onto the frame whether it be photos or videos. Using a smartphone or tablet you can download the Aluratek Wi-Fi digital photo frame App to instantly start sharing photos/video to that frame from anywhere in the world!
This new method of transferring photos or videos makes it super easy to update content on the Wi-Fi-connected digital photo frames. Aluratek Wi-Fi frames are all touchscreen solutions so it’s even easier to connect to your Wi-Fi network. Simply search for your wireless router select it then enter your passcode to the router and you are ready to start receiving photos and videos from your loved ones. You can have multiple users sending you pics and you can have multiple frames to send the pics to. It’s super easy and super fun to take advantage of technology with the new Wi-Fi-enabled digital photo frames!
John Wolikow | Aluratek
Q: What is the best way to protect your smart home from hackers?
Before anything else, one of the most basic things that you can do to protect your devices and your network from outside threats is to change the default password. You wouldn’t believe how many major data breaches have been caused by overlooking such a basic security measure (see the Equifax scandal). The password should also be long and with some special characters (its length matters more) and you should not repeat it on multiple apps, websites, or software.
Use a tool to generate unique passwords and to keep them secure (behind 2fa). This is advice that is available for almost all online, as well as offline services, but with smart homes, you need to go a bit deeper. I think all IoT devices have an app and, while I would not use any of them online, you’re most likely going to be constrained to connect them to your router. Don’t use your main home WiFi network. Instead, create a separate network and isolate it from your other LANs, so, in case a smart device gets compromised, it will not infect your entire network (read more about VLANs). Ideally, you should also invest in a router that has some built-in security features, since they can help in detecting infected devices. I would go even a few additional steps forward and use a cheap Raspberry Pi Zero and install PiHole. This way, you can prevent the proprietary smart devices’ apps from ‘phoning’ home and maintain some control over what’s sent to the manufacturer’s cloud servers. Lastly, make sure that the manufacturer of your smart devices is at least a bit reputable to minimize the risk that the data that is sent over to their servers is not going to be exposed in case of a data breach (which happens more often nowadays).
Mark B. | MBReviews
Q: What are the benefits of a smart cat wheel?
The biggest benefit of a smart cat wheel is that it records your cat’s activity in the app (the little cat). Knowing how much your cat ran, how many calories you burned, and how many minutes you exercised in a day, you know how many minutes you have to play and how much more you should exercise. And you can set the color and position of the LED light in the app, so even a cat who meets the cat wheel for the first time can adapt to the B612 Cat Planet cat wheel easier.
Lee | The Little Cat
Q: What are the benefits of having a smart plug? Do you recommend it for the entire house?
Enhances network connectivity in a home – Appliance or devices existing in a home can be turned into smart objects using a smart plug. Thereby, smart plugs facilitate easy communication between smart products. Remotely switches appliances on and off – Smart plugs easily turn applications on and off. Moreover, smart plugs can be used to check if there is any appliance running at home. Easy monitoring to save energy – Smart plugs enable a user to swiftly monitor the amount of energy used by appliances at home directly from a smartphone. Besides, smart plugs also notify the user whenever a device starts consuming unusual amounts of energy.
Easy scheduling – Smart plugs let you set schedules on when your appliances should shut down or startup. Arrangement for minimal vampire power – Vampire power is the energy used up by electric appliances during the standby mode. Smart plugs prevent the devices from consuming the vampire power. At times, the power consumed on standby mode can make up 10 percent of a household’s total electricity bills. Voice control – Smart plugs are built-in away that the user can operate the appliances connected to them by just a voice command. Improves home security – Smart plugs automatically switch lights on and off even while you are away. This makes you appear as like you are at home always, even while you are away.
Reduce your chance of electrical fires -Connecting appliances through a smart plug ensures that they are switched off whenever they are not in use. This minimizes the chances of the appliances having faults or even catching fire when not under supervision. A smart plug is good to be applied in an entire house as you can control all of the devices from a single app and can ensure there are no mishaps. It’s energy-saving and convenient to use. But for those appliances that are rarely used, then it’s not necessary to connect with a smart plug.
Lipton | Moko Smart
Q: Why home automation is going mainstream?
Home Automation is going mainstream because of several major factors: The first being Safety and Security of the home and its occupants. With both spouses working, home automation plays an increasingly relevant role in keeping the members of the family safe, especially the elderly and kids and even the home itself when no one is present. Options such as smoke sensor or panic buttons or video door phones and indoor cameras can all contribute towards this higher level of safety and security that is being needed. Another aspect is the increased convenience that is required by busy people both for comfort as well as for peace-of-mind. The questions like “Did I leave the lights and AC on?” are not of concern with Home Automation because one has the ability to control these even when outside the home. Beyond these there are the small daily factors like profiles or scenes that allow multiple assets in the home to be conveniently controlled together. No need to separately close the curtains, turn the lights out and set the AC at the right temperature before you sleep, because a simple “Good Night” profile can manage all of these together. Voice control has played another important role in getting Automation into the mainstream because, there is a generation of senior citizens that are still not comfortable with Smart Apps but are willing to use their voice to control devices. Automation also enables energy savings, with sensors that automatically turn off the lights when not needed or using schedules to do the same. The ubiquity of smart phones has helped grow the desire for Home Automation as Smart Apps make it easier to access and use these systems without specialized interface devices.
The availability of wireless Home Automation Systems have also helped in overall adoption as they can be retrofitted with existing switches and without need for any changes to wiring. They can also be introduced adhoc for a limited number of uses in homes without the need for extensive full home automation thereby making them more affordable
The easy availability of the internet on smart phones also makes Home Automation access feasible from anywhere. Designs of Apps ensure that users experience simplicity so that any user, irrespective of age, can use it comfortable. Most of the new generation of switches have in-built ability to connect to the internet, and therefore are being adopted more often when a home goes through renovation or in new homes.
Rashmi Rajan | BuildTrack
What aspects of Wi-Fi do people with smart homes need to consider?
One of the main challenges that smart home consumers face is first-time product setup, including WiFi connectivity issues. When you experience a connectivity issue and can’t self-resolve it, it’s easy to assume the product has a defect, and unfortunately, this is the leading cause of product returns. Often, the product itself isn’t the issue; the home network is, whether it’s because of router placement or weak signal strength, high network usage, or even issues between 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz frequencies.
Connor McCauley | RouteThis
Why go for a smart kitchen appliance?
Smart kitchen appliances will revolutionize the way we cook at home. Tech-enhanced kitchen gadgets pair traditional appliances with technology. Whether you are at home or not, you can now use dedicated smartphone apps to manage and control your home appliances via
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth & smart assistants like Google Assistant, Alexa, etc. A smart kitchen is a result of having this kind of access. These kitchen appliances are smarter, more efficient, and are future-ready.
Subhasish Adhikary | Geeky Gadgets
What are the benefits of a smart lock?
We often recommend smart door locks to homeowners as an important first step to making their dwellings a smarter, more secure place to live. Today’s smart locks are designed to easily replace the existing door lock or deadbolt, and once installed they can bring a broad range of convenience and security features to the home.
While these new features can vary widely depending upon the specific brand or model of smart lock selected, generally you are going to gain some form of entirely keyless access; convenient access control for guests, dog walkers, and other service personnel; remote locking and unlocking of the door through a smartphone app or smart home automation systems (such as Apple HomeKit, Z-Wave, or Control 4); voice control for some features (such as Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant); and real-time tracking of every time the door gets opened or closed.
Furthermore, many smart door locks can be set to automatically unlock themselves as you approach them with your secure smartphone credentials, and can also automatically lock themselves as you leave based on your location through geofencing. Never again will you need to worry about whether or not you remembered to lock the front door as you hurried away on vacation.
Tom Kolnowski | Digitized House
Q: How to make my garage door smart?
We love this question! A garage door and its system can be ‘smarter’ than you think! First and foremost, the door itself can help keep your house run efficiently to save on heating and cooling costs and seal properly to keep unwanted pests out. A Certified Radford Doors & Gates Project Manager will fit and order your door with the proper overlap, weather seal, and insulation level to check all of these boxes.
Secondly, with the new smart garage door opener aka motors, you’ll have access to App Integration and enable features like: Alerts of opening/closing, Using your phone to open and close your door, you can activate ‘Amazon Key’ and have your Amazon Orders delivered straight into your garage, while automagically, a camera turns on to record the delivery and you can even add an integrated smart door lock to have the door to your home lock when the delivery driver starts to open your garage door!
Furthermore, the new motors can self-diagnose and send us diagnostic data when something is wrong! Sometimes, we can even save you the expense of a trip out, by suggesting easy fixes based on the diagnostic data we receive directly from your device! I’d call that pretty smart!
Q: What are the benefits of having a smart security system?
Smart home security systems empower homeowners to keep themselves and their loved ones safe and sound. They provide homeowners with peace of mind via devices and services that are easy to use, affordable, and safe. A smart home security system can not only be used to monitor a homeowner’s property and prevent burglaries, but it can also be incredibly helpful for those who lead busy lives and want to monitor their residential unit when they’re away from their home.
Smart home security systems should include beneficial features such as 24/7 watch live, crisp night vision, motion/person detection, two-way talk, video recordings, one-tap to police, and more. Canary’s smart home security system, in particular, also provides 24/7 professional monitoring, where certified Professional Monitoring experts will monitor alerts 24/7 and dispatch first responders on the homeowner’s behalf in case the homeowner is busy or simply misses their home alerts.
Additional benefits to DIY smart home security cameras, such as Canary, can also be used as baby monitors and pet monitors. They can also be set up in 5 minutes by simply downloading the app and connecting the camera to Wi-Fi/ethernet.
Sergio Flores | Canary
Q: How can you make your smart home safer for your kids?
Many parents wonder if adding smart home devices poses a safety issue for their kids. You can safely add the latest smart home gadgets to your home in a few simple steps. Before purchasing any smart home product, research it to ensure it has features that allow you to disable any cameras or microphones. Be sure the company protects your family’s data. Talk to your kids openly and often about safe internet practices. Then show them how and when to use the smart devices in your home. Follow up to make sure your kids are growing in their understanding of all the fantastic ways smart gadgets help us do things easier!
Leah Nieman | Leah Nieman
Q: What are the benefits of a Smart Plant Sensor?
The sensor keeps monitoring the key environment conditions (soil moisture, temperature, sunlight) for the plants and if the conditions become unsuitable, the owner will receive notifications so that proper actions can be taken before too late.
The sensor provides real-time data for the smart watering controller to adjust watering plan quickly. For example, if it rains suddenly (not forecasted by the weather stations) or you manually water the garden, the controller may automatically skip the next run.
Ashur | Netro Support
Q: What are the latest trends in smart home technology?
There are a few different types of smart home technology trends that have been growing in popularity in recent years. One type is smart thermostats, which can save you money on your energy bill by automatically adjusting the temperature in your home based on your schedule and the weather outside. Another popular type of smart home technology is home automation systems, which can allow you to control things like your lights and security system from your smartphone. Finally, voice-activated assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home have also become popular in recent years, as they allow you to control various aspects of your home with just your voice.
Fawad Malik | Nogen Tech
Q: What are the benefits of using smart kitchen gadgets, and how do they compare to traditional kitchen appliances?
Smart kitchen gadgets offer several benefits compared to traditional appliances. They
simplify cooking, save time, and provide additional features that traditional appliances
Smart ovens allow you to control them remotely. You can even preheat the oven or
adjust the temperature from your phone. Smart refrigerators can help you keep track of
groceries, generate shopping lists, and suggest recipes based on ingredients you have
on hand. Smart cooking devices like the Instant Pot can perform multiple functions,
such as pressure cooking and slow cooking. One of them can even making yogurt,
saving both time and counter space.
Smart gadgets can also enhance safety with features like automatic shut-off and
notifications for cooking progress. They can monitor energy usage and provide energy-
Traditional appliances lack these advanced features, requiring manual adjustment and
monitoring. A traditional oven requires you to set the temperature and time, while a
smart oven can be controlled remotely, allowing you to adjust the temperature or
cooking time while you’re out of the kitchen.
The best smart kitchen gadgets provide an array of benefits compared to traditional
appliances, from convenience and time-saving to enhanced safety and energy
Tim | oneSmartcrib
As you can see, transitioning your home to a smart one is not difficult if you have advice from experts, and if you are well-informed, you can make better decisions about the best options for you. Maybe you can start step by step with little changes until you have your automated dream house.
This Q&A is still developing.