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Congratulations on starting your journey to building a smart home, but before you start there are some things you should know before building a smart home. In this article, I will like to share some things to avoid, for smart home beginners.
In general, I recommend doing your research before buying any smart home products and make sure those smart home products are compatible with each other. This will prevent quite a few mistakes in your journey of building a smart home. Below are a few more tips I learned along the way.
When I decided to jump into the home automation lifestyle, I had no clue where to start. My first purchase was a Google home mini.
Now, I would consider myself to be a tech geek with some knowledge in the tech industry. But after all the excitement of Google home, I decided to do some research on home automation.
The information on the web could be overwhelming for any smart home beginners, and there is a learning curve but with some directions and tips, you should be ready to build your own smart home.
Here are 12 Best Tips for Smart Home Beginners
1. Do Your Research
I always promote doing your research before jumping into anything and this was my mistake. You may not be sure what you’re trying to control. For example, their different type of devices that “talk” to each other.
You have Amazon, Google, and Apple that are competing in the smart home market, so, Google might not work with Amazon and Apple may not work with either one. This is important knowledge for smart home beginners. You should ask yourself, which platform is the best for my needs?
Also, are you interested in voice or app control? Apple, for example, has a tool called Homekit, which control your smart home with an iPhone or iPad. Maybe you are into voice control, Amazon has Alexa Echo which controls everything through voice commands.
YouTube is a great place to get started as it provides great reviews and information for smart home beginners. You can also go to your local electronics store like best buy that can help or continue searching on this site.
- Top 5 Smart Home YouTube Channels You Should Watch
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- Top 5 Home Automation YouTube Channels You Should Watch in 2020
2. You Need A Good Router
In today’s world almost all your devices are wireless, which means you need a good router for better signals for Wi-Fi. Now with smart kitchen appliances, TVs, smoke alarms, security, and much more, your Wi-Fi is even more stressed than ever before.
The average residential Wi-Fi router has lower data rates, lower connections, and a small range. To have multiple devices talking to each other in the same household, you will need high data rates, high-capacity to support multiple simultaneous users, and a good range. A good router is a must if you want to have a good smart home connection.
Not only your connections are important but also your security. The Internet of things is becoming more of the norm which means more security threats and hackers. A good router can help to prevent such a threat.
Related Article: The Importance of Wi-Fi Security: 6 Ways to Secure Your Router
3. You’re Giving a Lot of Data Away
Smart home devices like Amazon Alexa Echo and Google Home can be very exciting to have but many new users don’t think about how much data they’re giving away.
Smart speakers, for example, are always listening to you and never stop unless you put your speaker in mute mode. Some smart home beginners may not be aware of just how much information their smart devices are collecting about them.
Many companies captured your data and it’s possible it’s being misused for the wrong reason such as selling your information to other companies. This is why you have to pay close attention to their privacy policies. Companies could use your data through partnerships with other vendors to charge higher premiums so be fully aware before you opt-in.
4. You Have to Opt-In to Privacy
The question is how much information your smart home device knows about you? Just as I explained how much data you are giving away, you have to watch what you opt-in to.
All this technology is still young and attractive to hackers, you need to understand that the relationship with your devices is always listening and talking to each other which creates a privacy issue. The more information you share the more they will know about you, so, be aware.
Related Article: Are Smart Speakers Invading My Privacy?
5. You May Need to Talk to Your Landlord
Before installing any smart security devices such as smart locks or security cameras it’s important to talk to your landlord especially if you live in an apartment building. This crucial due to your lease and cause no threats, such as evicting you from your apartment.
Some of these devices are not wireless and may need hard-wired or modify existing elements in your home. This means permission is required and you need to know before building a smart home.
Related Article: Best Smart Security Devices To Keep Your Home Safe
6. “Dumb” May Suit You Better
Maybe smart home devices are just too complicated for you and you are just better off using dumb devices in your home. Or maybe you’re the type of person that feels smart devices are making us dumb and making us lazier as humans.
Yes, the digital revolution has reinvented knowledge and made our lives easier due to the increase in automation but also our “cognitive” skills have faded away.
There is not enough data to back this up but according to the University of Texas at Austin, Smartphone Reduces Available Cognitive Capacity. Now, this is not to scare you, but things you should know before building a smart home.
My family and I have a balance when it comes to technology and social engagement at home. We don’t fully go on the grid but make sure we keep our brains thinking by playing board games, solving problems, talking to each other at the dinner table, or just turning off all our devices to have better engagement with each other. This can help and decrease the control of smart devices in your home.
7. Smart Homes Are Hackable
According to Market Watch, “The number of smart homes in North America is expected to hit 73 million by 2021, making up more than 50% of all households. By the end of 2016, more than 21.8 million smart homes had already been connected, creating new problems and anxieties for homeowners.”
This means privacy invasion is more of a threat than any other era in history. Your smart home can be unlocked remotely, cameras can be hacked and refrigerators can be infiltrated to spy on food spending cost. Many of these devices are run through apps and online portals.
There are ways to avoid such a threat by increasing the level of authentication such as two-step authentication. You can opt into under settings on most devices. Another method, including thumbprint or an eye scan such as the iPhone 10X, Face I.D. This will make it harder for bad guys to hack into your devices. Also, always keep your security updated, especially on new devices.
8. You Can Integrate “Dumb Devices” Tech into “Smart Devices”
There is one simple way you can make your dumb devices into smart, smart plugs. If you have old devices at home such as a lamp, and you’re interested in making your lamp smart on a budget, the best option is a smart plug.
Most, if not all, smart plugs have Wi-Fi built-in, and as long you have got a smartphone and Wi-Fi, you should be able to have both devices talk to each other to turn on or off. There are many smart plugs on the market and a range of budgets with different features. If the price-tag for some of the products is too steep for your pockets, start with a smart plug.
Related Article: Control Everything in Your Home with WeMo Mini Smart Plug
What is a Digital Ecosystem? According to Wikipedia, A digital ecosystem is a distributed, adaptive, open socio-technical system with properties of self-organization, scalability, and sustainability inspired from natural ecosystems.
So, to put it in a simple format, it means apps, media, messages, cloud-based, accessories, and software integration with other products of that brand or company. This makes your products work together in one system. A great example is Apple, also known as the king of the ecosystem.
When using Apple products, it feels seamless because everything you need is already built-in, no need to download or install anything.
When we started, our first smart home product was a Google Home mini. This is unusual for us, as we are more geared towards the Apple ecosystem. This is something you may go through while building a smart home as the industry is still young and developing. When building a smart home, you want to keep such things in mind.
Here is a great video below of Marques Brownlee, explaining the Apple Ecosystem.
10. You’ll Save Money in the Long Run
If you are looking to save money, there is no better way than going smart. Smart home devices actually help you go green and save money. It helps reduce your carbon footprint and your utility bill. You can use smart home tech and green energy practices in your own home. For smart home beginners, this a great way to save money and heal the plant.
Related Article: 3 Energy-Saving Smart Home Gadgets To Save Money On Electricity
Time has changed, smart home devices are not nearly as expensive as they used to be. Now, most smart devices need little to no money, which means you can easily upgrade smart thermostats, smart hubs, smart locks, and security systems yourself to save money. There is no better time than now to build a smart home at a fraction of the cost.
Related Article: Best Smart Home Gifts Under $50
12. Smart Home Gadgets Can Become Addictive (Digital Wellbeing)
It became so addictive I was spending less time with my family and more time installing new devices and looking for deals on Amazon, Best Buy, and Target. Once I realized my addiction, I had to quickly get-in control of myself.
As you continue to do your research and understand how all these devices work and decide which ones are right for you and your home, the journey to building a smart home should be easier to adapt.
I hope this blog; 12 Things You Need To Know Before Building A Smart Home is informative as I am here to educate and give perspective on what’s going on in the tech world that relates to everyday life in home automation.
Are you thinking about building a smart home? I hope the information that we provided is helpful to make your choice easier?
If you have any friends or family that are smart home beginners, please don’t hesitate to share.
Which is your favorite smart home beginner tips to help you build a smart home? Please leave a comment below.
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Until next time, Happy Reading!!
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It's great to see that you have come across my website. I hope you explore it thoroughly. The website caters to regular consumers who have an interest in home automation. I am based in the Tri-state area and enjoy the latest smart tech along with my wonderful wife and three energetic boys.