Imagine for a moment that every part of your home was autonomous. You have your alarm set for 6:30 AM, and your bathroom lights turn on for you. Maybe the heated bathroom floors that often take a few minutes to warm up are already warm and ready for you. The furnace kicks in and gets the house to that perfect morning temperature. Well, as you might know, this is already a reality. The hard part is making everything play well together. Fortunately for us, Smart Home centers are making it much easier! No longer do you need to setup and control everything individually!
There are a lot of great features with Smart Home centers.
Most of the popular options have the ability to do things like make changes to your calendar, set alarms, search the web, and even do things like call an Uber or pay bills (unfortunately, you still have to have the funds to pay the bill… drat!). Getting a little deeper into the capabilities of these devices, we start to look at the connectivity options. Smart Devices like some newer thermostats, WiFi connected light switches, Smart Fridges, WiFi Connected outlets and Security Cameras/Systems are just a few of the devices that these Smart Home centers are capable of interacting with. Once you start adding these devices to your Smart Home, you find yourself able to do things like monitor your cameras, adjust your thermostat, turn lights on or off, and even set up schedules for all of these devices, all from or your smartphone.
Does this sound like a lot to setup? DotComGuy is there to help. Click here to request a visit by a DotComGuy technician to setup your smart home devices. We can usually send someone out in a few hours in most major metro areas during normal business hours.
Enough of the talk though, let’s dig into a couple of the most popular Smart Home devices and show you what they can do.
Sometimes simplicity is the finest option, and if you ask the many users of Amazon’s “Echo” they’ll probably tell you the simplicity was a huge selling point. Don’t let that fool you though, this little gadget is still filled with cool features!
Some of my favorite features of the Echo are the simple ones. Cooking dinner, it’s so easy to ask Alexa (Amazon’s coining of their device) to set a timer for 10 minutes so I don’t forget to take the potatoes off of the stove. Or, in a rush in the morning trying to get out of the door, asking what the weather is like is often the deciding factor for an extra layer of clothes. These little features add in incredible amount of value to an already cool device.
It doesn’t end there though, there is growing number of integrations with other smart home devices such as thermostats and lights. And while some of your current WiFi connected devices may not be on that list, thanks to If This Then That (IFTTT), you are able to make just about anything happen with a little creativity.
- Probably the simplest of the Smart Home centers to set up and learn
- Incredibly accurate voice detection
- Decent speaker quality
- Plethora of integrations, with more being added regularly
- Low cost (Echo Dot starts at just $29)
- More advanced integrations (older WiFi devices) can be difficult for the average user to set up
When I first got a look at Google Home, I expected to be a bit disappointed. I didn’t see some of the features I expected to have with a smart home center. I quickly realized that this wasn’t the case at all. All the features you’d expect out of any smart home center certainly are included in this little device, although Google seems to have taken the less “braggy” approach when marketing their Smart Home solution.
Like the Amazon Echo, The Google Home is an excellent all around “roommate” to have around the house. It can, like most other smart home solutions, set calendar appointments, adjust your WiFi connected thermostat (among other devices), set timers, play music for you, and many other things. One thing however that stood out to me was how well it integrated with my Android phone and Chromecast (go figure!). I was able to quickly figure out (with a bit of third party software) how to set my thermostat to lower when my wife and I were no longer in range of our house. The list of compatible smart devices seems to be a bit larger as well.
IFTTT once again comes to the rescue with software and older smart devices. I found that with a little tweaking I would be able to integrate with almost anything that had the word “smart” in the name.
- Very well documented
- Integrates flawlessly with Android phones and Chromecast
- Easy set up
- Reasonable cost
- Growing number of compatible devices
- Voice control can be a bit finicky (phrasing needs to be right)
- Using your phone to “cast” to the Home can be hit or miss
I’ve only scratched the surface of what these devices are capable of, and part of the fun is getting to experiment and find out exactly what each of these tools can do! There are
some other great options as well. Apple’s HomeKit is a fantastic option, although it should be noted that the use of HomeKit requires at least 1 Apple device running iOS 8.1 or later. Samsung has also come to the table with a
solution of their own with their “SmartThings”. Both Apple and Samsungs options are excellent in their own respect, however I haven’t had the opportunity to go hands on with either of them.
Whether you need help learning the basics or setting up some advanced devices, DotComGuy is here to help as you begin to install and setup smart home devices like home thermostats and wifi extenders. Click here to request a visit by a DotComGuy technician to setup your smart home devices. We can usually send someone out in a few hours in most major metro areas during normal business hours.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07456BG8N – Amazon Echo
https://store.google.com/product/google_home – Google Home
https://www.apple.com/ios/home/ – Apple HomeKit
https://www.samsung.com/us/smart-home/smartthings/ – Samsung SmartThings