The holidays have come and gone. Have you integrated all your smart home technology? This time of year is a great time to step up your smart home technology, starting with gifts you receive and continuing with the post-holiday sales. Here are some of the most popular items that we're going to be seeing in 2020 and how they'll all work together.
Home Assistant Device: Alexa, Google, and Apple
Your home assistant device is going to serve as a centralized hub, controlling the other smart features of your home. Home assistant devices can take voice commands, such as "lock the doors" or "turn on the security system."
Because each of them tend to interact with a different ecosystem, you should decide whether you want Amazon-friendly, Google-friendly, or Apple-friendly devices before you move forward. Some smart home tech is agnostic, while others require a specific infrastructure.
Control your appliances with smart plugs. Smart plugs make it so that you can turn devices on and off easily from your smartphone or from your home assistant device, saving energy and also potentially making your home a little safer. A smart plug upgrade can also be helpful because it can include things that traditional plugs don't include, like USB plugs.
Have you ever wondered if you remembered to lock your front door? Smart locks, depending on brand, have a number of advanced features — and you don't even need to invest in a door replacement. A door lock can unlock when your phone approaches the door, let you check the door from your phone remotely, and lock and unlock through an app. They can even alert you if you walk away from your house while leaving the door unlocked.
Want to know who is knocking? A smart doorbell will show you by displaying a video feed of who is at your door. This video feed can also be motion activated, so you get recordings of anyone who approaches your door, perfect for people who are distressed by package thieves and pranksters. And you can talk through the intercom if you want to let people know that you're coming to the door — or not.
Smart doorbells can even be set on "do not disturb" if you're working, or if you just have dogs that love to bark when someone is at the door. Instead of ringing out loud, they can send a message directly to your phone.
Security Cameras and Systems
Security is where these systems really shine, but it depends on the cameras you get, too. Some of them will record everything to the cloud continuously; others require that you check in on them manually. Security cameras span the gamut between extremely affordable and extremely expensive, so make a list of the features that you want first.
Some security cameras can even identify people through facial recognition, letting you know when people come into your house, and letting you know if there's someone in your house that you don't recognize. Imagine getting a smart phone alert to let you know that your dog walker just walked in!
Of course, don't forget about the other hallmarks of good security, too: Make sure your fences are properly secured, that your windows are protected, and that you get a reliable door replacement if your door isn't hardy enough.
This is a great way to save money and save the environment. A smart thermostat can learn from you or just run your HVAC system on a scheduled basis. Some smart thermostats can detect when you're on the way home to start pre-cooling or pre-warming it or learn your patterns so it knows when to drop the temperature and raise it. Most systems can also give you reports about how much energy you're using.
Smart Lights, Smart Speakers, and Smart TVs
Then there's the full entertainment package. Do you want smart lights that will automatically change colors depending on what's on your television? Smart lights can do that. Do you want smart speakers that can adjust to what you're playing, or follow you from room to room? Do you want a smart TV that can stream from any service and connect to your smart hub?
Once you have the foundation of a smart system, you can mix-and-match different things as you desire. If you don't want to have to get up from your bed to turn off your lights, or if you want to use voice commands to control your television and speakers, you can.
There are tons of smart devices out there today, so what you're really going to need to concentrate on is your ecosystem. Once you've decided what type of smart home you want, you can select devices that are directly compatible with them.