What a smart home can do, and why it is more than just the latest tech craze
It’s not quite as “millennial” as you’d think. Smart homes are not just a tech fad or a craze that will pass as quickly as angry birds or silly bands or green ketchup did; it looks like smart homes are here to stay. For many of us, though, the swiftness of the surge of smart homes can be unsettling. So, let’s take some time to explore what a smart home really is, what it can do and why it is becoming more and more commonplace.
First and foremost, I’d like to emphasize that the idea of a smart home is to give homeowners more control, not to take it away. The idea is to create a space that is as efficient as you are, to incorporate features into your home that will provide a level of comfort and ease which was once only accessible to those who could afford such a luxury. There are those who worry that technology is invading their personal space, “taking over” they daily lives. But if you reframe that worry, you will quickly come to appreciate that smart home technology is simply there to meet the needs of the individual.
Another frequent misconception about smart homes is the comprehensiveness of them. Homeowners are overwhelmed by the number of features offered, many of which they feel they don’t yet need or are not comfortable having in their homes. For example, a retired couple in a small city apartment may not want a surround sound system. A bachelor pad in the upper east side may not have the same needs for security cameras and motion sensors as a small business in SoHo. An apartment may not need a smart lock or smart doorbell, while a large house in a secluded part of town may benefit significantly from these features.
That is the beauty of a smart home: there’s no need for a complete transformation of every system in the house. Automating your home does not need to happen overnight, you can take it as quickly or as slowly as you’d like. In fact, years back when I suggested that we automate our own home, my wife was very hesitant and had serious reservations. So, we started with just a few lights. A few months later we added the thermostat and after that we got the smart smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. As we both grew more comfortable with the idea, we continued adding products as the need arose. When we moved out of our small apartment and into a condo in the suburbs we added a smart lock and cameras and sensors. When our daughter was born we decided to add new features, including a video baby monitor accessible from both our phones. The point is, a smart home is built around the needs and comfort level of the homeowner.
So, what is it that a smart home can really do? What are all of these “features” we’re talking about? And how, exactly are they controlled?
The most popular automations are lights (including brightness and color), thermostats (leading to significant energy savings and precooling/preheating your home before you arrive), smart vents (gaining granular control over the temperature in each room), smart locks (with personalized codes for each individual and one-time codes for guests or delivery people), smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detectors (so that you can get notified immediately on your phone if there is an issue), and audio-visual systems (which can range from small speakers or a mounted television to an entire home theater with a surround sound system). Keep in mind that each of these automations has many more options and advantages, I’m just listing a few. Whatever you can dream of, if you have the right technician who is creative and skilled and honest, there’s a good chance it can be done.
Smart devices can be controlled through your voice assistant and from your phone. Nowadays hubs are discreet and relatively small and sleek so that you can fit them wherever you might need. And the apps you can use to control the devices are very user-friendly and easy to navigate and adjust as necessary.
Remember, an inquiry is not a commitment: do yourself a favor and take the time to ask questions, to learn what can work for your space, your personality, your schedule, your needs. You may be missing out on a whole new level of comfort that is easily within your reach, an affordable luxury right inside your home.