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Smart Home Systems vs. Home Security Systems: How to Choose the Right DIY Platform?



Before you start building an intelligent home, you must first decide whether comfort is more important than security. Many of the systems you see when you go shopping will emphasize one or the other, even if they offer elements of both.

If you are more interested in the fun and convenience of modern home technology, having light B. with voice commands, or having a sprinkler system that works in harmony with the local weather – you will need a smart home system.

But if you're more interested in pausing, in a disaster like a fire or a water pipeline, you're comfortable with a home security system – perhaps with a service that can send first responders on your behalf.

  Samsung SmartThings Primary SmartThings

Samsung SmartThings is our current favorite DIY smart home system. The company announced a new model in August 2018 but has not yet made it available for review.

We've created two stories to help you understand the basics of each type of system so you can decide which system is right for you. This focuses on smart home systems. If you are more interested in a home security system, we encourage you to read this other story.

The Basics of a Smart Home System

While security-minded hubs have a ruthless dedication To protect your home, smart home hubs such as Samsung SmartThings and the Wink Hub 2 are true all-rounders. They serve as mediators between smart home devices and your home network (and thus between you and your smartphone) and help coordinate automation, scheduling, and device interaction.

You can buy a smart home hub yourself and purchase components via a la carte, or in some cases you can buy a starter kit consisting of the hub and a handful of devices. Starter kits are easy because you do not have to think much about what you need. On the other hand, a kit can put you with a product or two that you do not necessarily want. This may be one reason why some vendors, including Samsung SmartThings, are moving away from prepackaged kits.

  Philips 4-Channel Starter Kit with Product Philips

Philips Hue Smart Lamps communicate with ZigBee radios and therefore need a jumper to connect to your home network.

The list of smart home devices that can control these hubs is exhaustive – and growing – but these are the key points:

  • Smart Bulbs: In Many Smart Home Environments Lighting is the killer app that starts everything. These will always be from the LED range and are available in both white and color, both are dimmable.
  • Smart Plugs: Insert them into your wall outlets and you can control lights (turn them on and off and dim) and small appliances (eg fans and space heaters).
  • Door, window and motion detectors, which can light intelligent lights to illuminate your path, also trigger an alarm in Smart Home Systems that also have security features.
  • Intelligent Thermostats: These can only pay for themselves quickly if you benefit from the energy savings that can be achieved by heating and cooling your home.
  • Smart Speakers and Digital Assistants: Normally, you do not get Amazon Echo, Google Home, or other smart speakers as part of a DIY package, but these digital assistants are so useful that we consider them an integral part of the smart home.
  Starter kit on the wall Noon Home [19659006] Noon Home offers the most tested home lighting control system we tested.

Beyond the Smart Home Basics

The above list provides a good starting point, but if you've lived in a smart home for a while, you'll want some of these extensions Intelligent products to make your stay more comfortable.

  Beat Sense Beat

We recommend that you use a Smart Deadbolt, such as the Beat Sense shown here, high on your Smart Home extension list.

Although you can set up a smart home without a hub, you get a lot more from your system when you install one. Why? Because the true power in a smart home comes from the cooperation of all products. For example, you could use your smart home hub to:

  • Control all the lighting in your home, even when you're away on vacation.
  • Program the lighting in the bedrooms to flash and shut down your HVAC system when smoke is detected.
  • If a significant water leak is detected, turn off the main water valve.
  • If the living room gets too warm, lower the blinds automatically.
  • Brighten up lights and turn on music. Get up in the morning.
  • Disable the alarm system when an authorized user enters the correct PIN on a Smart Lock.

The sky is the limit and comes with automation and interactions like these are half the fun of living in a smart home. In addition, tools like IFTTT (If This Then That) further extend these ideas and allow you to easily create "applets" that enable collaboration between different devices, even if your hub does not officially support them. (An example would be if the color of your intelligent light bulb changes to red when the pollen count outside rises to a level that could trigger a severe allergic reaction.)

  Iris Safety Pack Lowe

If you do not Not caring about Samsung SmartThings, Lowe has worked hard to improve Iris by Lowe's low-home system, which offers strong third-party support and relatively low-cost security monitoring.

The Best of Both Worlds

If you want a smart home system that can also be used for home security choose one that supports at least door, window and motion sensors ; that has a siren in its center (or allows someone to be added); and that offers either personal or professional supervision.

Whichever system you embark on today, you know that you are not bound to it forever, provided it's based on the most common wireless models: Wi-Fi and either Z-Wave or ZigBee. No vendor masters all of these standards, and many of today's hubs use all three.

While it may be a bit of a hassle to pair dozens or dozens of sensors and other devices with a new hub, if something better catches your imagination in a few years, it will not be impossible.

Did you decide?

If, after evaluating all this information, you have decided to invest in a smart home system, you can check out our top tips in both categories and see our recent reviews here. If you want to learn more about security systems first, here is just as much a story about them.


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