Everything is smart nowadays, not only phones, but even your lights, toilet and blind shades can be smart. Everything is designed for increased comfort, practicality and ease of use – with a touch of a button. Any smartphone running android or iOS can be equipped with adequate apps that will control all those things based on your routine – it will know when you are coming home to heat up your room, it will notify you when your washing machine is done, and it all leads to the new technology called internet of things (IoT).
It all sounds fun and great, but what does that mean for the old house you inherited in the countryside? It’s cute, it’s quaint – but can it be smart? There are many obstacles preventing you from making your ordinary home great; the walls might be too thick for Wi-Fi, and the installed heater might not be compatible with a device that will try to track its temperature.
In the near future, everything will be connected one way or another, and all the appliances will try to work together in order to create the most pleasant environment for everyone around, until they rise up from their slavery and kill us all – who knows?
So, what are some of the first steps of making your home smart-friendly? We’ve made a simple step-by-step guide that will help you turn your adorable house into a modern marvel Isaac Asimov would admire.
1. The Wireless Solution
Let’s face it, this is not the breakthrough solution you hoped for, but you’d be surprised how many people do not actually have a Wi-Fi router. Furthermore, what you get from your cable provider might simply be, well, a piece of junk, unable to provide your home with the essential internet in all the corners.
This is why you should think about investing in a stronger Wi-Fi router that will send a much stronger, more reliable signal. It is a good idea to place your router in the center of your house so that the signal reaches all the corners, and if that is impossible, then further invest in an extender or two that will help you cover most of your home, especially if your old walls are absorbing the signal.
Still, it is a good idea to connect your desktop computer via LAN cable – this will reduce latency while playing video games, or streaming movies. From that moment on, your home will be covered in good ol’ strong signal, and you’ll be able to connect all your other smart-friendly devices, such as kitchen smart home products or thermostats.
When installing Wi-Fi extenders, make sure to place them near a dedicated power outlet, and mask all the cables – you do not want to make a visible tangle of black wires, it ruins the purpose of having a smart home.
2. The Technology is Heating Up
Probably the most popular devices when it comes to smart homes are thermostats. They make sure that your home is always properly heated, depending on your climate and the time of the year. There are many thermostats that you can choose from, and the market keeps expanding. You will be able to connect any kind of heating systems gas, oil and even electric ones to the internet, and you will be able to access them via an app or your PC.
An even simpler solution is to place smart sensors between the socket and the plug of your appliance – they can be wirelessly turned off and on, and that way, you can control any kind of heating appliances, without having to worry about deeper integration into the system.
3. The Cooling Problem
Just imagine being able to leave your room in the morning, and the cooled car is waiting for you, because it knows when your alarm goes off, and has woken up 10 minutes earlier to turn the cooling on. It sounds wonderful, because it actually is.
The same can be done when combined with the GPS of your phone – if the app detects that you are 15 minutes away from home, and heading towards it, it can turn on the AC and cool your place down, so you don’t have to suffer in a sauna during summer months, or what sounds even better, there are air filters that monitor air quality, and can turn on if necessary.
4. Light It Up
Special Philips bulbs are becoming increasingly popular, not because they are a self-contained smart solution, but because they allow you to change their color and set any kind of mood that you want. It’s true that the pack of three of them will cost you more than $150, there are other solutions you can choose from. This is not only practical, but is extremely safe – you will be able to monitor via an app if any lights in the house are turned on while you are away.
If you are looking for a clear working space, set your lights to cold white, but if you want a warm, romantic dinner with your cat, you can dim them to a warm reddish hue. While not all options are available at the moment, soon everything you think of will become a reality. The lights will automatically know what you are doing, and will adjust accordingly, and will even know the time of day and lighting conditions in order to compensate or turn off completely.
This can save you a lot of money on the electric bill – in the long run, even Rome wasn’t built in a day. This just means that everything will be up in the cloud, so no setting will ever be truly lost – it will follow you even if you move to another home.
5. Smart Kitchens
With smart appliances in the kitchen, you will never have to worry about drinking milk that’s gone bad. Our forefathers would be proud. There are so many devices that now come as smart – you would be surprised. From coffee makers, to electric grills, to special fridges that know if your egg shelf is empty so it knows to notify you about that fun fact.
Not to mention that, when we eliminate the heating, appliances in the kitchen spend about 30% of our electricity. Just imagine if your fridge knew not to run at full capacity during the night – it might seem like a silly thing, but it might save you 5 bucks at the end of month, which quickly adds up.
6. The Little Things
There are so many things that can make your life easier. For example, Amazon also wants a place in our kitchens, and as you are probably aware, it offered dash buttons that you can use to instantly order a plethora of products, without even having to turn on the PC. Just click the button, and the shipment is on its way. Clever internet users found a way to hack the dash button so that it can instantly order Domino’s pizza, so be prepared for a delivery drone to land on your porch.
It is all just a matter of time, and the key word here is – convenience. Smart homes should be there for use, looking after our safety, decreasing our utility bills and helping us feel better than ever. While some might argue that all of this might seem unnecessary – you can sniff the milk to see if it’s gone bad, you don’t need a fridge to tell you that – it is a matter of progress. It is going to happen whether we like it or not, so we might just as well embrace it before we are forced to.
There is a question of security, because if people can remotely disable your laptop, just imagine what they could do if they could access your heating, or potential smart gas-valves?! While the idea might be disturbing, we already live in a world where your money is virtual, and everything is stored up there, in the cloud, so we can just hope that when the technology becomes the norm, our homes, and our cats, will be more secure than ever.
Featured photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/users/Unsplash-242387/ via pixabay.com