Getting Your Home Ready to Get Smart

Getting Your Home Ready to Get Smart

The following is a contribution from another author.

You’ve been looking at all the fantastic devices and how a smart home could potentially the way that you live. However, before you jump right into the deep end and start making changes to your locks, lights, and everything else that’s left, you should stop and take a moment. Here are a few ways to ensure that you and your home are ready to get smart. Otherwise, making those investments can be a very un-smart idea, indeed.

Think needs and wants

If you have been looking at the different smart home devices out there and all the little and large changes you can make, you likely have some ideas on what you want to add. However, before you start listing off those devices, list your wants and needs first. Thinking about what your most practical desires are can ensure that you’re investing in smart home tech that you’re actually going to use. When thinking about upgrades, think about how much time they will really save, and how much convenience you will truly get out of them. Don’t start making changes for change’s sake, only to find that you don’t use the improvements as much as you thought you would. Your habits aren’t likely to change, so make your existing ones the priority.

Ensure it can stay connected

The internet plays a crucial part in the functionality of a lot of smart home devices. One example is using smart home hubs connected to speakers to play music directly from the Cloud. Other devices might be accessible for remote control through the internet. The more connected your home, the more important it is to get a high-speed connection that can handle the load. Look at the TV and internet packages available in your area and ensure that you’re willing to invest in top quality network capabilities. If you only have access to very spotty connections in your area, you can expect a lot of frustration with your smart home.

Map out your wiring routes

Wi-Fi is being built into more and more smart homes, but it’s not as ubiquitous as you might think. At least, not yet. What’s more, a wired connection to your internet is significantly more reliable than Wifi alone. Especially if you can’t give your router the space it needs to be of a good distance to every device in the home. It’s a good idea to talk with an electrical contractor about wiring your house for home automation. New wiring, deep junction boxes, and wiring closets may be essential to ensure that the floor doesn’t become a jungle of tangled leads that completely destroys any convenience the smart home may offer.

Do you have the power?

Although this may be changing in future, the majority of smart home devices are not battery powered. There’s a good reason for that, too. Imagine how annoying a smart home would be if you had to constantly check and replace batteries. Ensuring you have the power outlets you need for every device is crucial before you install them. You can add more outlets to existing walls, and it might be worth considering adding outlets not only for traditional electronic plugs but also for USB connections, too. Again, you have to consider how you’re going to wire this all, as well. Invest in cable ties and try to keep wire management as a priority when installing new devices. A free-floating cable or two may not seem like a big deal, but the problem grows exponentially with every new device you introduce.

Security is a must

Hacking might not be as common a concern as some believe. However, that doesn’t mean you should leave the home completely vulnerable. The more smart devices used in the home, the more potential control a hacker has. If, for instance, you have smart locks, you can only imagine the danger that introduces. Secure the wireless network, make sure it’s not easily identifiable, and disable guest access to it entirely. If your router is able to do so, you should set up two Wifi networks on the same address. This way, if your computers or tablets are compromised, your smart home devices are still out of reach of the hacker. There are also unified threat management appliances specifically designed to protect homes that are highly connected, so consider investing in them.

The hub decides it all

Before you go buying all kinds of new smart home devices, you should start with the hub. It is the end-all and be-all of building a smart home, the interface through which everything communicates and is organized. Browse the best smart home hubs and check to ensure that any devices you plan to install are compatible. Choosing a hub that is relatively well-known and successful is a must. Ongoing support for the hub is crucial, as it will be necessary that it can handle new devices in future, not just the standard on the market right now.


Eric is the creator of At Home in the Future and has been a passionate fan of the future since he was seven. He's a web developer by trade, and serves as the Director of Communication and Technology for a large church in Nashville, TN (where he and his family are building a high tech home in the woods).

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