So what’s a smart home?
Well the answer is quite simple, it’s a house or an apartment that is controlled by smart devices. A smart home is when things like your lights, your thermostat, your heater, speakers and television are connected to the internet and can be controlled by a variety of ways or in most cases from virtually anywhere in the world. Here in the states, Amazon has made the idea of a smart home more and more of a reality. Alexa is starting to become more and more noticed and recognized by people as offering a smart voice assistant in the house.
Especially after this year’s CES, we’ve seen more companies add the voice assistant to their speakers or smart devices like fridges and washing machines.
During the last couple of years I’ve had the privilege to actually convert my apartment to one, and the experience is 99% amazing. I’ll obviously talk about that 1% that isn’t, towards the end of my post.
Besides Amazon, companies like Apple, Samsung and Google are also trying to enter the voice assisted smart house. Behind Amazon though, Apple is tailing with its Home Kit platform, and Google has just introduced the Google Home device, which essentially is a direct competitor to the amazon echo.
As you probably know I’m heavily inside the Apple ecosystem, therefore Home Kit was the best choice for me. And luckily there is a lot of support for it.
In my case, I have the Philips hue system, with more than 10 smart lights connected to It, 2 iHome smart plugs, an amazon echo dot and an Anova wifi cooker. I am also fully immersed in the Apple ecosystem, with a variety of iOS and tvOS, macos and watchos devices. Lastly I have recently added a Sonos play 1 speaker to the connected smart devices in my house.
So how do these devices work?
Well the answer is simple, they work like magic.
I come home and my lights turn on for me, I leave and I have no worry since they will automatically turn off. As for the smart plugs, well, as soon as I feel cold, I tell Siri and she takes care of it. She communicates with my smart home plug and turns on my heater.
I’m also lucky enough that a lot of my smart devices also work with the Amazon Alexa. I was one of the first people to receive the first Amazon speaker back when it was for invite only. The speaker showed its potential from day one, but I ended up selling it due to lack of support back in the day. Once the concept was better developed and the device was out to everyone, I started wanting one again. And then the Amazon dot came out with the amazon dot. A device that has all the power of Alexa, into a small speaker. And since it has become a great way of controlling my smart home devices it has become part of my smart home again.
As for things like the Philips hue system, people think it’s gimmicky, and the truth is that it is. However, it’s also extremely addicting. Once you buy the starter pack, all you think about is how to expand it. And I have found that it’s extremely useful for before sleep and when you wake up. The system allows me to prep for sleep, by lower light brightness and warmer colors and then it helps me wake up in the morning by slowly turning on the lights in my bedroom.
My apple ecosystem is also amazing. It feels great to be able to stream your music or videos all over the place. So while I’m cooking I have my content on the iPad in the kitchen, while I’m eating I can mirror everything to the television and then, when I need to go back to my room I can move everything there.
Lastly the two new products to my smart house are the Sonos play 1 and the Anova Wifi Cooker. Even though I haven’t had enough time to play with them yet, what I love with my Sonos are its built quality, amazing sound (for its small size) and the fact that I don’t really need any device to stream to it. As for the Anova Wifi Cooker, just the idea that I can cook from school, and arrive home to a well-made lunch or dinner is amazing. The best thing about it is the amazing app they have. Even though when they started they had two different apps for their products, the recent merge has made the experience smoother and more efficient.
So after all this you would be wondering, what’s the disadvantage of a smart home?
The problem is that it relies on the internet and your network for just about anything.
Is this bad?
Not necessarily, but in my opinion, before your start investing in any smart device, you need to make sure and invest in a good router and a fast internet connection.
How about security?
Of course this is something to take into consideration. When connecting your life to the internet, you are suddenly vulnerable to all external threats. BUT with strong passwords, that are changed frequently, and the fact that you can always disconnect the internet, you shouldn’t be too worried.
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