As we move into more and more modern times, everything around us slowly becomes some “smart” gadget. With technology improving at an unprecedented speed, many of our everyday items are getting new and more advanced features.
A smart house is a house that has been optimized, built, or converted into a tech-controlled house. When you see Hollywood movies of rich people clapping to turn lights on or using voice commands to shut the blinds, well, that is what it means, and a lot more. In today’s article, we will discuss how one can convert to a bright house and what elements make one up.
Smarthouse conversion is the process of equipping an existing home with innovative technology and devices found in modern smart houses. Smart houses usually involve installing smart alarms, speakers, lighting, and locks that can be voice-activated or activated remotely.
There are many ways to modernize a home and turn it into a smart one, and in this article, we will dive into a couple of the main elements of this process. If you want to know how you can complete this process and convert your home into one that perfectly fits into our modern age of ever-developing technology, just read on to find out!
5 Reasons to Get a Security System5 Reasons to Get a Security SystemHouse Conversion to Smarthouse – Lights
So, you might be thinking about how to start upgrading your home. There are so many options available, from smart fridges and vacuum cleaners to whole-house sound systems, but which is the best first step? We would hands-down recommend lights. It is the perfect option if you don’t want to spend a fortune on new technology for your home, but it will provide you a great “smart home” experience, which will be your gateway into the world of smart homes.
First, let’s clarify what smart lighting will allow you to do. Though smart lighting is one of the cheapest modifications you can make in your house to turn it into a smart home, it is still essential that you know what you are buying before you go buying bulbs for the whole house. There are many cool features of smart lighting systems, and each brand and type has somewhat different functions, so make sure you know what you want when going to buy any.
One of the most iconic and everyday things smart lighting can do is be turned on and off using voice commands. Of course, you can probably find ones that can be turned on and off by clapping your hands as well, but that isn’t a widespread solution since it’s a lot harder to isolate the sound of a clap from surrounding noise than it is is to understand spoken command.
Aside from this convenient feature, you can also have different levels and colors of ambient lighting, which you can control through smartphone applications most of the time. Some products also have a so-called vacation mode, where your lights will be switched on automatically so that from the outside, it seems like somebody is always home. These are just some examples of the many cool features smart lights have, and they are also probably one of the cheapest smart home accessories you can have.
Installing a smart lighting system is pretty straightforward. You can go to a nearby store or online on Amazon or other marketplaces, and you will quickly find different sets of smart bulbs. They are available in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and functions, so you can customize your home by buying whiter hues for your kitchen and warmer colors for the other parts of the home, for example. You can even buy color-changing bulbs, which will cost you somewhat more, though not so much as to break the bank.
Once you have bought them, you need to screw them in place and then use them. The way that happens depends on the platform you want to use them on. Many products have apps that let you connect to them separately through Wi-fi, Zigbee, or sometimes Bluetooth. However, if you plan to expand your smart home tech, getting a hub might be a better idea.
The fact is, these separate apps mean that you would have to use every device you get separately on their app, while a hub has a lot wider of a reach, which lets you control every smart home device you own from one place. Getting a voice-controlled home device like Amazon Echo (also known as Alexa) or Google Home is one of the most common solutions for this, but there are other options as well.
After installing your bulbs and configuring your connection either via an app or a central hub, you can go ahead and enjoy the benefits. Dim blue ambient lighting for your gaming room, lavender or eucalyptus ambient colors for your relaxing spa session, or perhaps a light yellow for a romantic dinner? It is up to you, and by this, you have taken the first step to convert your home into a smart home. Read on if you are curious about more conversion ideas!
House Conversion to Smart House – Security
One of the most important and valuable steps of a smart house conversion is the security aspect. Just like the smart home lighting systems, these can also be customized in any number of ways. Numerous packages, services, and devices can make home surveillance a lot easier and more practical, depending on your budget and personal choice.
Just as with lighting, we will first go into the features and functions you can get from a smart security system. Traditionally, your home security probably consists of not much more than manual, key-and-lock doors, possibly cameras (though that is already uncommon), window opening sensors, or motion sensors. If you happen to have more money, you might have higher-tech home security, but not near the level you can get with smart home security.
Fundamental smart home security would consist of a couple of cameras and motion sensors, together with smoke sensors. When connected to Wi-fi and you can monitor what is going on in your home from anywhere. Just open your app, and you can see through your cameras, check your carbon-monoxide levels, see the activity of motion sensors, and more.
However, you can tune this up to insane levels, with laser-beam sensors all across your floors, smart locks that you can lock and unlock from anywhere, and even a system that can send you a warning message if your children haven’t gotten home in time. You can get various features, and you can also contact companies that will do an analysis and set up an optimal smart home security system for you.
Setting up a smart home system is somewhat more complicated than setting up smart lighting, and you will usually need a professional to do it for you. However, it does depend on the device package or the service you buy. On the other hand, you can easily set up systems alone, and these are also catching up with professional packages in terms of quality.
Most often, the systems you can set up alone have a central control device that you can place wherever you like in your home. When connected to other security devices (cameras, sensors, etc.) and the Wi-fi, it can forward real-time information to your phone across the internet and serve as a control panel when you are home and don’t want to use your phone.
Smart locks for your doors and the likes are the types of smart home security that professionals usually install. You do have ad-hoc solutions, like different locking mechanisms that you can place on your door, which will act like a chain-lock, but if you want a smart primary lock that you can control from afar, you will probably need the help of a professional.
In addition, we recommend getting a smart lock next to all the cameras and sensors since you can also unlock doors in case a fire starts or when the smoke sensors go off.
When you set up a smart lighting system, it will provide comfort and ease. However, when you have a smart security system, you also make sure you and your family are safe. You make this task a lot easier than it is otherwise.
House Conversion to Smart House – Remote Access
So you might have a security system, smart lighting, maybe even some other smart devices like smart power outlets. However, we believe that you must also have remote access to these devices to create the ultimate smart house. In this section of this article, we will discuss why we think that is so.
Picture the following scenario: after a long day of work, you are exhausted. Your children have had an easy day and are full of energy, so they want to watch some more TV or play some more games when you are going to sleep already. Lying in bed, you hear them turn off the TV and barge up to prepare for bed. You hear their doors shut soon, and you know they have probably gone to sleep.
This is when you turn and realize that the lighting has been left on downstairs. First, you get infuriated, thinking you have to get up from your near-sleep state to go down and turn the lights off. Then, you realize you can do it in the comfort of your bed, in about 2 seconds, using your smartphone.
This is just one of the many scenarios where you would like your smart gadgets and your whole home systems to be accessed remotely by you.
Remote access to your smart thermostat, for example, can help you heat your home when returning home from business trips. Likewise, to cool your home down when arriving from a vacation. Likewise, you could lock the door if your family members forgot to do so when they left for school or work. By opening an app, you can check the lighting, the electric outlets (whether somebody left something plugged in or not), security, heating, carbon-monoxide levels, garage door and windows (whether they are open or not), etc. lot more.
Remote access to your smart home gadgets and devices enables you to stop stressing about everything, which could mean a possible stress factor. This is why we highly recommend getting devices that you can remotely control through either their dedicated app or perhaps through a central hub in your home, which you can also access through the internet.
Of course, we could go through many dedicated apps that you might use, but that is up to the location you live in and the products available to you, but we can mention a couple of ideas for hubs that can be remotely accessed.
If you are looking for a central hub that will enable you to access all your smart home devices remotely, you should look into Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home, amongst others. We have mentioned these before since they can be voice-controlled when you are at home, and they can also be remotely controlled when you are away from home through an app.
Since these are ubiquitous devices, you can try looking for smart home devices compatible with Alexa or Home. Then, you can easily access all your devices remotely. However, if you buy incompatible smart home devices, you might have trouble trying to connect them, and it might even be impossible.
House Conversion to Smart House – Alexa
We have mentioned it a couple of times already: Amazon’s Echo, more widely known as Alexa, is one of the most common smart home devices, and it stands in the center of such a conversion usually. But, as we have mentioned before, you can easily find many smart home devices that you can control through a phone app or a dedicated control panel or device.
Still, it is more straightforward and practical if you have multiple smart home gadgets to own a central hub. This way, you can access all your smart home features through voice commands or one app.
So, to clarify, Amazon has a product called Echo, the voice command gadget we are all aware of, which is the key to the best smart home experiences and virtual assistant services. The specific virtual assistant built into Amazon’s Echo is called Alexa. Since this is the name you have to say if you want to turn on the voice-commanded virtual assistant system, this device became widely known as Alexa instead of the product’s actual name, Echo.
Alexa is a handy tool. You have probably seen it on TV already or in some Youtube video and might even have some idea about its features, but we will summarize them for the reader who might not know much about it. Alexa can be a fantastic addition to a smart home for two main reasons: one is that it can act as a control panel or controlling center or hub for all other smart gadgets you own, making it easy to control them. In contrast, the other benefit is the virtual assistant.
You have seen or heard of Apple’s Siri or Samsung’s S Voice, which are all virtual assistants. Basically, a virtual assistant is like having Google at your fingertips, together with a system that can follow up on many voice commands. It can give you information on the weather, news, start a call, read a message aloud, tell you anything available on Google, and a lot more. Aside from these standard tasks, you can connect them to your smart gadgets as well.
If you want to convert your home into a smart home, though the lighting would be the first step, we recommend if you want a sneak-peek into the smart home world, the Alexa is the device that is quite simply a must. Of course, there are many other, well-functioning devices similar to Amazon’s Echo, but this is the most widespread option and is compatible with a massive number of smart home devices (more than any other top smart assistant device).
Other Tips to Convert Your House into a Smart House
If you decide to convert your home into a smart home, buying, installing, and connecting the items and devices we mentioned here in this article will already be a leap forward. However, there are many more ways to “techify” your home.
As it can be expected, with the rise of smart devices, people are coming up with better and better ideas each day to make life more relaxed and manageable, so there is no shortage of different sorts of smart devices. This part of the article will discuss some more gadgets that will help you on your path to total smart house conversion!
It has been mentioned before, but only briefly, that another widespread smart home device is a smart thermostat. There are just a plethora of settings and features available to you if you install a smart thermostat. For example, you can manually pre-heat or pre-cool your home if you return from a long trip.
For example, If you are going away for a longer time in winter, you can set a base temperature to be kept by your smart thermostat, which is enough to keep the pipes from freezing.
You can also probably divide your home into zones and change the heating or cooling settings through your smartphone. A smart thermostat can also automatically monitor your routines and turn the heat on and off in an optimal way, decreasing your bills.
A smart vacuum cleaner is another exciting and cool gadget you can own, which will eliminate your need for vacuuming. There are many types of smart vacuum cleaners, but most come in a small, disk-shaped form and are designed to clean all segments of your floor. They have built-in cliff-sensors, so they will not go downstairs and quickly vacuum entire floors; however, you might even consider buying one for each floor if you have a home with multiple floors. This way, you will never have to vacuum again.
You can also get smart baby monitors for your home, which is maybe one of the first things you should get if you have or are going to have a baby. It monitors the baby’s breathing, motion, and sounds. Aside from this, most have two-way speakers and microphones, so you can listen and talk to the baby through the device if necessary.
Another similar yet less crucial device is a dog monitor. You can get dog monitors which will alert you if you are away and the dog is barking, for example. You can also watch what your pet is doing through a camera, talk to it if needed, and even give them a treat. Again, it sounds sci-fi, but there are dog monitor devices that can throw out treats for your furry friend at the press of a button.
Lastly, aside from the possible extensions you can have to your smart home, we advise you to check whether all of them are compatible with Alexa, Home, or a Zigbee-based hub. This is probably the most important tip we can give since it is the most straightforward and practical way to unify all your smart gadgets and make them easy to access.
Our Picks for Smart House Devices
Amazon Echo (Alexa)
The product we have mentioned the most times in this article, the Amazon Echo (better known as Alexa), is one of the first products you should buy if you are looking to turn your home into a smart home. It is reliable, very smart, and compatible with other smart devices. Click on this link to Amazon if you are interested!
The leading smart lighting product, the Philips Hue, will give you everything you look for in a smart lighting system. They are very high quality and are very easy to use. The color version is impressive since it has an astonishing 16 million colors that you can choose from. Check it out by clicking on this link to Amazon!
Our choice for the best security system, SimpliSafe, is what it sounds like: simple and safe. In addition, you can buy different packages, from 5 piece packages to 12 piece packages, so you can customize the system you get to fit your home’s needs.
It is compatible with Alexa and Google Home, so you don’t need to worry about using separate apps to control your home. It comes with a base station with a 95 dB siren, which you can hear up to 1000 ft. away, four entry sensors, two motion sensors, a SimpliCam, and more, depending on the package you choose. Click on this link if you are interested!
iRobot Roomba i7+
The most high-tech Roomba (arguably the most popular smart vacuum cleaner line) yet, the Roomba 7+ is our choice for the best smart vacuum cleaner you can own. It has a smart mapping system. As a result, it can clean carpets and floors with ease and even empty itself after finding its way back to its charging port.
This is one of the coolest smart home devices and also probably one of the most practical ones. So if you are tired of having to vacuum your home manually, the Roomba is your best option. Check it out here if you are interested!