A smart home is a home with devices that automate tasks to save you time, ensure security, and save energy. Sometimes these homes are referred to as Connected Homes. Smart home devices allow one to remotely monitor and control items of a home. That could be locks, garage doors, thermostats, lights, smoke alarms, outlets, cameras, other sensors—or all of them at once through an internet-connected smart home hub.
More and more homes have connected devices and home automation. Some builders even sell new builds as “smart.” Some say the global home automation market could be worth over $121 billion by 2020. If you are looking to add automation here is a couple of terms you should know about and research:
Smart home: A home that incorporates devices and appliances that are connected to each other and accessible through a central hub or remote.
Connected devices: Devices that are connected to the internet and can sense and control aspects of a home.
Home automation: Using an app or program to control features of a home on a schedule or through triggers you define.
Hub: A central device that connects all the others on the home automation network and acts as the brain of the home.
Controller: Pick a platform, or how you will control it. Many hubs support several methods of controlling and automating your system:
- Amazon’s Alexa: Echo Dot, Echo, and Echo Show
- Google’s Assistant: Google Home, Newer Android Smartphones
- Apple’s Siri: iPhones, iPads and Apple Watch
- Your Telephone – Android or iPhone
Language: Make sure your devices will speak to each other. Each Hub speaks one or more wireless languages and your smart devices must be able to talk the same language in order to be compatible. Amazon.com even lists smart devices by Hub or controller. Lean on an expert if you are in doubt or the device and or hub may end up a paperweight.
In my homes, I chose the Wink Hub, Amazon Alexa, Schlage and Kwikset locks, Nest Thermostats, and lights and smart plugs that will talk to the Wink Hub. The automation lets me manage my properties remotely.
Looking for another reason to have a smart home? When it comes to selling a home you are selling to a tech-savvy, security conscious buyer. The perceived value can cause a buyer to choose your home over another similar home. I'm not sure an appraiser will give you a higher valuation of the home, if one were to add up the cost of the smart home devices it will not add up to thousands of dollars. Count the cost, for me, it was worth it.
Learn more: Smarter home guide: What you need to know (and buy) [Tom’s Guide]