Let’s face it: Smart home technology can be expensive, time consuming, and confusing. It requires a lot of upfront research. And once you have selected and installed what you think is the perfect system, there is no guarantee any of it will work as you expect.
There are some advantages to having a system installed all at once as opposed to doing it bit by bit. The biggest advantage is that when purchased together, there is a good chance that all of the components will work well together, and use the same connectivity standard.
The biggest drawback is that doing it all at once can be rather expensive. It helps to be able to spread out the costs over a more manageable period of time. When doing it this way, one needs to prioritize the parts that are most important.
If you are going to get locked into an ecosystem, there are some pieces you will want to choose first, and fit everything else around it. Having the wrong set of priorities can get your project off to a bad start. So when putting together your perfect smart home system, here’s what’s most important:
No one cares if you can control your lights with your voice if your family isn’t safe. A quality home security product has to be your first choice. The reason you want to start with the security system is that if it has any smart components that work with a particular brand of smart hub, you want to build everything else around that brand.
If you start with the best automated lighting system, you may find that the best home security components don’t work with it. You will have to settle for lesser components for the most important system. Start by picking the best security system. And if you have to settle for the second-best light bulbs, it is not a big deal.
You are not done with home security with your initial kit. You will also want to hook up outside security lights and cameras, at least one. Be sure that kit includes at least one indoor camera and a smoke and CO2 detector. This may seem like a lot of items. But none of them are terribly expensive or hard to install. So before moving on to lesser items, secure the home first.
Heating and Air
Now that we’ve saved the family, let’s save the family some money. This is not just about apps that revolutionize your home appliances. This is about fundamentally changing the way you cool and heat your home: among the most expensive things you will ever do to your home on a regular basis.
Nest still offers one of the best smart thermostats of 2017. But it is no longer alone at the top position. The Ecobee3 is also right up there, followed a budget offering from Honeywell.
Expect these smart thermostats to learn your habits and automatically adjust room temperature before you enter. More importantly, expect them to reduce the heating or cooling when no one is using it to help you save money. These devices are not only smart for you, but brilliant for the planet as well.
Smart door locks should definitely be one of your top three priorities. If you have kids that tend to lose their keys, it can be a dangerous affair for them to be locked out of the house after school. The way we have dealt with this type of problem in the past is to leave a key under the doormat. But burglars have come to expect to find these extra keys lying about. For your safety, stop doing it.
Instead, get a smart door lock that can open automatically when an authorized smartphone approaches. They can still be operated with keys. And if you need to let someone into your home, you can do it remotely from wherever you happen to be in the world.
There are at least three more priorities before we get to speech-enabled lights. But if you are putting together a smart home one piece at a time, make the first three home security, climate control, and smart locks.