The fascination of the Smart Home is strong. You can unlock your smart door lock with your phone, go into your house, have the light switch on automatically, and ask your virtual assistant to make you a cup of coffee. When you're not there, a vacuum cleans the room, your smart thermostat regulates heat to reduce costs, and you can monitor everything from your phone to indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras.
The real reality is not It's not as magical as we've seen in various commercials. There is no simple, unique solution (at least not yet) that can perfectly automate your entire home.
Things are better than they used to be. Home automation used to be a complex undertaking requiring networking, scripting and home improvement skills. However, modern smart homes are so simple that almost anyone can use it. With a few standard products, you can control most devices in your home from your smartphone, or even better, with a simple voice command. But where do you start?
Building the Foundation for Your Smart Home
Many smart home devices, including major Nest, Ring, and similar products, have their own apps that let you control their basic functions. Other devices are more common and use common standards such as Zigbee and Z-Wave ̵
Some products fall into both categories: You can use their apps or on a larger smart home platform. However, some platforms, such as Insteon and Apple's HomeKit, limit you more than others to what devices you can use.
With so many different products in so many ecosystems, building an intelligent home can seem like an overwhelming logic puzzle. But as with any task, you can make it easier by breaking it up into smaller parts. We recommend starting with and building one or two devices to familiarize yourself with how the products work.
You may like the idea of turning your lights on with your voice, or you might want to lock your device door from your phone. Select a category from the list below and research the available devices. You'll probably find that you can greatly reduce the field's appeal to you and the compatibility of a particular device with other platforms.  Many people start with one or more intelligent and sometimes more complex systems. An intelligent home security system connects to your Wi-Fi network so you can monitor and control your devices with your smartphone and app. Entry level systems typically include some door and window sensors, a motion detector, and a hub that communicates with these devices over one or more wireless protocols (Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, Zigbee, or a proprietary mesh network). You can add additional door, motion and window sensors to cover your entire home and a comprehensive system of door locks, garage door openers, indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras, light sources, sirens, smoke / CO detectors, water sensors and other sensors create. and more.
On the whole, try to find the products that have the most compatibility for your first devices, so you can build your smart home without worrying about future conflicts. Here is an overview of the key players in the main smart home categories:
- Luminaires : With intelligent light bulbs such as the Philips Hue, you can control individual luminaires or light groups from your phone and set different "scenes" with them Setting up brightness levels and color temperatures so you do not flood your eyes with blue light at the end of the day. They can even be turned on and off automatically based on a number of different triggers. As an alternative to incandescent lamps, you can control the luminaires already installed in your house with intelligent switches.
- Thermostats : With the Nest or Ecobee thermostats, you can set your air conditioning or heating to the time of day or when you get home. The Ecobee even has several sensors that you can place in your home so that you can see the temperature in more than one room.
- Locks : Smart locks vary: Some allow you to lock your doors from your phone, some you can give temporary access to a friend or family member, and with unique options like the Kevw Kevw you can open your door by pushing it just touch with your finger.
- Doorbells and Cameras : Intelligent doorbells contain cameras that let you see who's at the door and ignore those annoying lawyers. Ring and Nest doorbells can also be integrated with cameras in their parent companies, so you can create a whole system that detects nearby movement, sends alerts when you're away from home, and saves images in the cloud for later access.
- Security Systems : Cameras are just one aspect of home security. For those looking for a complete system with door sensors, indoor motion sensors, and a siren, kits from companies like SimpliSafe can monitor your entire home for burglaries. With some systems, such as Abode, you can monitor yourself and dispense with emergency services, so you can monitor your home for a monthly fee.
- Televisions and Remote Controls : Maybe Not Imagine your home theater as part of a smart home. However, this is especially true if you connect an intelligent remote such as the Logitech Harmony Elite that can control multiple devices simultaneously (including lights, bezels, and other smart devices) and integrate with Alexa for easy, hands-free control.
- Everything : This is just the tip of the iceberg. As you dig deeper, you'll find smart sprinkler systems that automatically adjust to the weather, shutters that close at the touch of a button, robotic vacuum cleaners that clean the house while you're away, kitchen appliances that can be remotely controlled, and smart power outlets that can control almost anything connected to a wall.
Control of all functions
When you increase your smart home, you probably want to buy a hub that lets you integrate your devices with each other. The Wink Hub 2 and the Samsung SmartThings Hub are by far the most popular options. Wink offers a simpler, more user-friendly interface, but SmartThings is much more powerful under the hood if you want to tinker. (Both work well with iOS and Android, so they're pretty platform-independent.)
Both are compatible with various smart home devices, even if they are not all-inclusive. So check out the compatibility pages (Wink, SmartThings) before buying. It is generally recommended to use hubs with a protocol, such as For example, to avoid the hub built into the Amazon Echo Plus which only supports Zigbee – the more protocols your hub supports, the more space you'll need to increase.