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Smart Home Systems: DIY vs.. Hiring a professional

When you think about how to build your smart home, you need to make four early decisions: Do you want a simple or a sophisticated system? Do you want a system that is designed for comfort? Or do you want one that emphasizes safety in the house? The articles linked in the previous three questions will help you to answer them. In this story, we answer a fourth important question, along with a related question: would you like to do the work yourself or hire a specialist? And if you use the DIY approach and include security features, would you like a professional to oversee them?

Manufacturers of smart home devices have made it extremely easy to do the work themselves, even if you are not an enthusiast. But there is something to say for hiring a professional. It's no different than designing your own garden or hiring a landscaper to decorate your home or consult with an interior designer.

Professional surveillance services can call first responders on your behalf if a burglary occurs with some systems having a fire alarm. They are available with both DIY and professionally installed systems. We examine the pros and cons of each approach and help you decide which one to use for your environment, comfort and readiness to get your hands dirty.

Self-installation, self-control

Smart Home veterans are familiar with this option as it was the only one available in the early days of smart home technology. In short, this first approach involves the purchase of smart home equipment – either in the form of a kit, such as the iDevices Smart Home Essentials Starter Kit (which includes a variety of Wi-Fi-based indoor and outdoor units and lighting products). or buy a smart home hub, such as Samsung SmartThings, and add compatible devices piece by piece.

  Hue Lily Outdoor Philips Lighting

Support for Philips Hue lighting is almost ubiquitous in smart home systems and the company has recently expanded its range to include a range of outdoor lights (such as the Lily spotlights shown here ).

The advantage of the DIY approach is that you only pay for what you need. If you want smart lighting in several places in the house, with a Philips Hue starter kit you get two to four bulbs in color or white and the bridge you need to control. Philips has recently added a number of outdoor luminaires to the series. And if you decide later that you want to add more lights, or you want to extend your network with smart plugs, door locks, or something else, you can do so simply by buying and installing additional devices.

Because you're not # 39; s trapped on a particular platform, you can buy and combine different gear brands instead of having to return to the original seller and its walled garden every time. If you want to use a language assistant, such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa, to control your equipment, most vendors also allow it.

That is, if you add more than one Smart Home item – more than just smart bulbs for example – you should start with a well-rounded hub that supports many third-party smart home devices. Although a hub is not essential, it offers the convenience of a single app to control everything – there is only one interface to master, unlike one for each product family.

  Samsung Smartthings product group Samsung

Samsung SmartThings is one of our most popular DIY smart home hubs, but it lacks a key feature: A cellular module for broadband backup.

Our current top picks, Samsung SmartThings and Wink Hub 2, are replete with features They offer hundreds of smart home devices from a variety of vendors an out-of-the-box support and are constantly expanding that support through push updates. Even if you only want a single security camera or a smart speaker, it makes sense to add a hub to your network. Once the smart home bug bites, you do not want to start over with other hardware. And if you accumulate a lot of equipment before investing in a hub, you'll find that adding the hub back into the network is much more complex than adding it.

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