Robotic vacuum cleaners, intelligent fridges, voice speakers, automatic lighting systems — hardly anyone can be surprised by these technologies in the 21st century. They greatly simplify people’s lives and give them more free time for their favorite activities and communication with their loved ones. But such valuable items alone don’t make your home smart because it is still an integrated system. So in this article, we’ll tell you how it works and also share top home devices that help you save money and energy.
What Is a Smart Home
A smart home is a flexible automatic system that the user designs and configures according to their needs. The owner determines where and what devices to install. Most often in an intelligent house are regulated video surveillance, lighting, heating, and adjusted climate control, which is only a tiny part of technological capabilities. Automation of systems has three primary purposes: providing security, saving resources, and increasing comfort. The innovative home system also includes three types of devices:
Controller. It’s the brain of the system that receives signals from sensors and gives commands to executors;
Sensors. They receive information from the outside and give appropriate signals (for example, increased temperature, smoke, and movement);
Actuating modules. This group includes lighting, climate, security systems, and various intelligent appliances such as cameras, refrigerators, and vacuum cleaners.
Vital Elements of Smart Home
The owner can manage the system in several ways: a mobile app, remote control, touchpads, or voice. In addition, you can remotely see and fully control the entire system, managing all or some of its elements. And now, we’ll discuss several key elements corresponding to a smart home’s primary functions.
The smart bulb is connected via Wi-Fi and can be managed by a smartphone or voice. It can turn the light on and off at a particular time, which you’ve set, and when opening or closing the room door. Also, it’s possible to adjust the light level and turn on different backlights. Once set, the lamp maintains the desired options automatically. A separate plus is the ability to work without power for a long time.
A great example of such a device is the Smart lamp HomeTree Light Of the Tree, serving as a station for wireless charging smartphones and as a Bluetooth speaker. Another example is Smart Life Light Bulb, which you can easily install in any lamp with a suitable socket. Thus, even the most common chandeliers, sconces, or floor lamps will become smart, and you don’t need to buy new ones. So how can smart lighting benefit you? In short, it gives you comfort and helps to save costs.
Intelligent sensors can open and close doors, register movement, and determine various threats. Thus, if the owner comes inside, sensors don’t simply open a door and turn on a light. Instead, they can at once turn on an air conditioner or a music speaker if you appropriately adjust the systems. In general, they perform the following functions:
- Transmitting a signal to other systems (such as an alarm system);
- Switching on the light (when a person returns home);
- Switching off the air conditioner (when a window is opened).
Most of these devices are battery-operated and have a compact size. The most popular models include the Xiaomi Mi Smart Home Door And Window Sensor, which is connected to the general control unit of the smart home. Moreover, it has a pretty reasonable price (about $12). However, it would help if you also considered that even cybersecurity companies admit that their software has serious vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit at any moment.
Thus, as soon as your device gives the slightest glitch, your best bet is to contact security experts as quickly as possible. Particularly trustworthy are those you can find on the Howly online consultation service. These experts regularly improve their theoretical knowledge in practice so that you can rely on them for any electronics and household issues.
Cameras most often work with motion sensors or doorbells to provide security. For example, the camera will notify the user if motion is seen at the front door of a closed house. So you can turn on a live feed directly from your smartphone to see what happened. Moreover, you can track what children or pets are doing at home, check on your older relatives, or detect a stranger who has entered your property. In addition, some models can log events and save videos on a memory card and in the cloud storage.
One popular camera is the Nest Cam which records sound without extraneous noise, saves the captured video, and highlights individual events. Another excellent option is the Canary, which can shoot video and record sound if necessary. In addition, this tiny device monitors air parameters, sending their values to the user’s smartphone. An intelligent camera installed on the street will monitor the events occurring in the yard of your private house.
Such a gadget will also come in handy for a car owner to improve car safety or to check the availability of parking space under the windows. Also, pay attention to Nest Cam Outdoor with 8x Zoom and Full HD resolution. You like this model since it is equipped with infrared LEDs and a good microphone. And no less pleasant fact is that you can significantly save money since purchasing home cameras will be cheaper than the services of a security agency.
Smart speakers help you control other devices and can even talk to you if you suddenly get bored. For example, voice assistants turn on and off lights, call you a cab, or turn on an audiobook, making your life much easier and more pleasant. It’s convenient to use smart speakers with voice assistants to quickly control appliances, launch TV programs and search for information on the Internet, agree?
So intelligent speakers combine three functions: voice assistant, remote control, and speaker. A striking example of such a device is Google Home. This multimedia platform will help you find an exciting movie, play your favorite music, set the alarm, find answers to questions on the Internet, and much more. Such a purchase will be profitable since it costs only $100.
Gadgets That Make Everyday Life Easier
New developments, gadgets, and devices as the result of technological progress make human life more manageable, filling it with comfort and freeing time for new ideas and exciting activities. And here, we’ll talk more about gadgets you can use in everyday life.
Sunrise Alarm Clocks
The principle of operation of such an alarm clock is simple: a few minutes before waking up, it begins to flood the room with natural light, preparing you in such a way for awakening. Then, at a specific time, the device starts to play various sounds of nature and music. Some innovative models also help prepare for sleep: their light gradually fades, imitating the sunset. So it’s perfect since gradual awakening and falling asleep contribute to healthy sleep.
If you’re constantly worried about turning off your iron or other household appliance, a great solution is to buy an innovative outlet. This small device, which looks like an ordinary electric socket, can be turned off by a command from your smartphone. In addition, models with a dimmer help adjust the brightness of the lamp or nightlight, and those with energy control can determine which home appliances consume the most electricity. So the main features of intelligent outlets are as follows:
- Switching appliances on and off on a timer;
- Control the load on the socket and turn it off when a particular value of current or voltage is exceeded;
- Voice control.
If you’re rarely home and your pets are left alone, automatic drinkers help solve at least one pet care problem. The water supply is based on the communicating vessel principle. The filter cleans the liquid from different micro debris. The saturation with oxygen occurs due to the constant movement of the liquid. Thus, the water from such a drinker doesn’t spill.
Smart Plant Pots
Such a gadget will suit those who forget to take care of the plants and often leave home. Smart pots include the option of automatic watering, and some devices also can turn on music and even additional lighting. Such a device would also make an excellent gift for elderly relatives who often forget to water their plants.
Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
The robotic vacuum cleaner is designed to clean the premises with minimal human involvement. The device independently navigates in space thanks to the built-in battery, wheel motors, navigation sensors, and microcontrollers. The main functions are wet and dry house cleaning.
Today’s kettles do more than just heat water; they are now multifunctional devices with which you can quickly make tea according to all the rules. You control the brew’s temperature, time, and strength. The temperature can even be adjusted so that the water doesn’t cool down for an hour or longer.
Such devices have several goals: to provide maximum comfort and save natural water resources. For example, an automatic shower splits the water flow into a mass of tiny drops. As a result, you can relax and wash using the minimum amount of water. In addition, the intelligent shower has a disinfection program that cleans the water and removes any harmful bacteria.
To start a smart home, you don’t have to buy all the gadgets listed at once. Instead, we recommend you start small: for example, install a couple of controllable outlets and lamps, and buy an intelligent kettle and sensors for windows and doors. And then, when you appreciate the benefits of these small but smart devices, move on to setting up a completely innovative home system that will save you a lot of time and energy.