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What Is a Smart Home?2019-06-27T03:12:28+00:00

A smart home is a home outfitted with devices that can be controlled over an internet connection on one’s desktop, tablet, or smartphone. These connected devices can be appliances, lights, security systems, cameras, audio and video systems, televisions, thermostats, and even sprinklers.

Generally speaking, if your home has devices that connect to each other and to a network, it’s a smart home. The complexity of smart systems may differ somewhat from home to home, but the basic foundations are the same.

Why is home automation still not mainstream?2019-06-27T03:11:58+00:00

Home automation technology hasn’t gone mainstream for several reasons, but the main issues boil down into six categories: accessibility, affordability, security, privacy, reliability, and upkeep.

What is a smart thermostat?2019-06-27T03:11:27+00:00

A smart thermostat is responsible for controlling your home’s temperature. As with many smart devices, smart thermostats connect to your home network, giving you remote access and control over all the device’s functions.

These smart devices differ slightly from their programmable counterparts. The latter can merely be set to turn on or off at select times. A smart thermostat, by contrast, not only allows for easy scheduling and management but also studies your behaviors and adjusts settings accordingly.

Are all Z-Wave devices compatible?2019-06-27T03:10:53+00:00

Yes, all Z-Wave devices are compatible. You can buy Z-Wave products from any manufacturer and be confident that they will work with other Z-Wave smart home gadgets. The Z-Wave Alliance undergirds device interoperability, and the organization holds a vested interest in making Z-Wave the de facto standard in home automation.

What are the different operating standards for home automation tech?2019-07-24T23:24:38+00:00

The primary operating standards for home automation technology are these four: Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, Zigbee, and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). However, they aren’t the only ones you’ll come across as you create your smart home. Other standards, or protocols, include X10, Insteon, Thread, and Universal Powerline Bus (UPB).

What are the benefits of home automation?2019-06-27T03:09:45+00:00

The benefits of home automation typically fall into a few categories, including savings, safety, convenience, and control. Additionally, some consumers purchase home automation for comfort and peace of mind.

What wiring do I need for a home automation system?2019-07-24T23:24:59+00:00

Most home automation systems require neutral wires to be installed at switch outlets. Even if your home doesn’t have proper wiring, though, you may be able to set up a smart system that runs on batteries.

Which devices are most commonly controlled in a smart home?2019-06-27T03:08:46+00:00

The most common smart home connected devices fall into four categories: lighting, climate control, entertainment, and security.

1. Smart Lighting
Smart lightbulbs and related accessories tend to be fairly easy to install and use. They also offer advantages such as timers, schedulers, and motion-sensing capabilities.

2. Smart Thermostats
Thermostats are also commonly automated, as attested to by products like the Nest and ecobee3. Like smart lightbulbs, smart thermostats are relatively easy to install and use on a regular basis.

3. Smart Entertainment Devices
Smart home connected devices in the entertainment category run the gamut. They include smart speakers, smart televisions, and even smart movie projectors. Some of these devices come with hefty price tags, while others are available at affordable price points.

4. Smart Security
Smart home connected devices for security also span the spectrum. You might purchase a smart security system in its entirety from a single provider, or you might cobble one together with smart security cameras, locks, and motion sensors from several different companies.

5. Don’t Forget the Smart Hub
Homeowners who purchase smart home connected devices in more than one category typically end up purchasing a home automation hub, too. Common hubs include Samsung SmartThings, Amazon Echo, and Google Home. These hubs simplify day-to-day use and management.

What are the elements of a home automation system?2019-06-27T03:06:06+00:00

At the most basic level, home automation systems are made up of three elements: a smart device, a hub, and a connected application.

While some smart systems work with just two of those above elements—a single device that works directly with an app or a hands-free hub that controls smart gadgets—most systems work through all three.

Are Smart Homes affordable?2019-07-24T23:25:09+00:00

Smart homes are affordable—as long as you set a budget before venturing into the world of home automation. As a general rule, the home automation cost for a simpler setup will be substantially less than a complex setup.

Not all smart homes are the same. Some include automation for nearly every electronic device, while others focus on addressing the basics. Neither way is necessarily better.

Does home automation increase home value?2019-06-27T03:04:53+00:00

Home automation does increase home value. More and more people want smart home functionality in their next homes. If your house is equipped with smart tech, you can most likely raise your asking price. You should work with a licensed real estate agent, though, to ensure your price falls within what the market can bear.

When is the best time to install home automation?2019-06-27T03:04:19+00:00

A great time to install home automation services is when you’re either building a new home or renovating an existing one—you get down to the wires in both cases. However, depending on the smart devices you want, you may be able to install them without the need for hefty renovations.

I’m building a new home. When should I call for home automation services?2019-06-27T03:03:49+00:00

If you’re building a new home, you’re in the perfect position to install home automation services. The best time to call in a home automation expert is prior to breaking ground. By getting the entire homebuilding team together, you can talk through questions and concerns to develop better plans and project timelines. Doing so gets everybody on the same page and united around your vision.

You might not have that option if the concrete has already been poured. Not to worry—as long as you request home automation services before the wiring and cabling go in, you’ll stay ahead of the expense game. The ultimate aim with home automation is to install neutral wires and Cat 6 cable before the drywall goes up. Once the drywall is in place, you face renovation expenses. You’re always better off to deal with wires and cables before the walls go up.

How can I save energy with home automation?2019-07-24T23:25:32+00:00

Home automation can help you save energy by ensuring your home uses resources like water and electricity more effectively, reducing waste throughout the home.

You may know that home automation can help increase your home’s convenience and security. But did you know it can also save you money? With home automation, you can make a small difference for the environment—and you see smaller utility bills as a result.

Is my information secure with home automation?2019-07-24T23:25:50+00:00

Some home automation devices employ best security practices, such as bank-level encryption, while others lack even the basic ability to change a default password. Your ultimate security will depend on which devices you use and how you use them.

Because of the potential security risks, many consumers refrain from investing in smart home technology. They worry about compromised data or hacked smart locks. The concern has been a prominent one for several years and will continue to influence smart home applications in upcoming years.

Luckily, you can still take steps to better safeguard your home’s digital security—even with smart home devices.

Does smart home technology work for businesses?2019-07-24T23:26:14+00:00

Yes, smart home technology works for businesses, at least in part. Businesses need more robust and scalable smart solutions, so they often turn to commercial applications.

The driving forces behind smart home technology adoption in the business world pertain to things like access control, security, climate control, energy management, and maintenance. If a business can catch a water leak or rebel HVAC system before it ruins the building or the annual budget, the business will be that much further ahead with its profit and loss statements.

Do I have to make my whole house smart?2019-06-27T02:59:15+00:00

No, you don’t have to make your whole house smart. You should weigh your options and decide whether to invest in standalone smart gadgets or a full-scale home automation network. Some people prefer the former, either because they’re new to smart home technology or desire connectivity for only one or two home functions.

Can I upgrade an existing or older home with smart home technology?2019-06-27T02:58:26+00:00

If you own an older home, you can still benefit from smart home technology. Most smart devices connect wirelessly, so your main sticking points will be coverage and connectivity. As long as you have Wi-Fi extenders or smart home connected devices that create a mesh network, you can enjoy the benefits of home automation.

How long does it take to install smart home technology?2019-06-27T02:57:41+00:00

The time it takes to install smart home technology depends entirely on what you’re installing and how many devices you’re working with. Generally, though, it shouldn’t take more than a few hours to install a couple of new gadgets, except in certain complicated situations. A set of smart lightbulbs should take only a few minutes to set up. Other smart home technologies, like smart thermostats, could take more time. Smart thermostats require disconnecting and reconnecting some wires. You can always spread out the setup and installation of your smart home device across a weekend.

Is home automation worth it?2019-07-24T23:26:36+00:00

Home automation is worth the investment, in most cases. To determine if it’s worth it for you, you should weigh the potential benefits—what you’ll save in time and money over time—against the up-front costs. Home automation services provide all sorts of benefits, some monetary and some not. Some systems save you money on utilities and water bills, some deliver safety, security, and peace of mind, and some provide comfort and convenience.

To determine if home automation is worth it for you, figure out why you want home automation services in the first place.

What home automation systems are available today?2019-06-27T02:51:03+00:00

There are hundreds of smart home devices and systems on the market today, each with different specs and features. With so many options, you’ll need to ensure that the gadgets you add are compatible with each other or buy a smart hub that will bridge any gaps.

Generally, devices from the same manufacturer, like Nest or Insteon, will work with each other; it’s when you start mixing brands that compatibility gets trickier. Some popular smart home automation hubs are Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Google Home, and Amazon Echo.

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