Chances are, in the last decade, you may have added some smart appliances or devices to your home. The reasons for these additions may vary—from convenience and energy efficiency to entertainment and interests. And if you’ve made some techy upgrades, you may wonder: Is my home considered “smart” yet?
What is a Smart Home?
Depending on whom you ask, this answer can vary greatly. And there’s no formally accepted definition. Generally, a smart home is a house with a number of components that connect to the internet, allowing automated functions.
For some, ensuring energy efficiency when it comes to home comfort—like upgrading your AC/heating control to a Nest® Learning Thermostat or Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control—is enough to make a smart home.
According to others, smart homes are fully equipped with things like smart lighting, security cameras, intercom systems, electrical outlets, locks and appliances all networked through a central hub (like Google Nest or Amazon Alexa device) that allow them to communicate with each other and you via a mobile app or voice command.
For most households, personal preferences, priorities and budget will play a role in deciding just how smart a home becomes. Keeping this in mind, here is a tutorial list of items that have become common for those interested in making their homes a little “smarter.”
The Amazon Echo and Google Home product series are among the most common of the smart speakers in many homes. These convenient, voice-operated devices are often the hub of a home network allowing other brand-compatible smart equipment—like TVs, lighting, locks and thermostats—to be controlled by speaking a simple command.
Depending on the brand, smart light bulbs may work through an app on your phone or also via Bluetooth® through your smart speaker. They allow you to program brightness and lighting schedules. However, if you plan to replace your home’s current light bulbs with smart ones, you may consider replacing traditional light switches with smart switches also. This is because a smart bulb becomes “dumb” if the light switch controlling it gets turned off.
Think of The Clapper® of the ‘80s and ‘90s but with speaking instead of clapping and way more useful! You can purchase smart plugs that plug into your existing outlets. They connect to the virtual assistant in your home, so you can control the devices you plug into them—lamps, coffee makers, etc.—with voice command. Note that it’s important to make sure you purchase smart plugs compatible with whatever smart speaker you have to utilize voice control.
You can also get smart plugs that monitor energy usage from the devices plugged into them, so you can learn how much electricity certain appliances use. This information is sent to an app on your phone, which often also has a function allowing you to set schedules for gadgets plugged into the plugs.
As mentioned earlier, smart thermostats like Nest and Ecobee have become very common in many homes. They “learn” your heating and cooling schedule as you set your thermostat for a few days and then begin heating or cooling your home on their own, according to your home comfort habits. They also allow you to control them away from home with easy-to-use apps. Many studies have shown integrating smart or learning thermostats into your home’s AC/heating system can greatly increase your home’s energy efficiency.
Smart home security can be as simple as smart doorbells with camera access from your phone or all-out alarm systems. Not only do these systems make it simple to monitor your home’s security with the tap of an app while you’re away, but you can also easily keep an eye on loved ones left home when you’re gone—like kids or pets.
Internet to Support Your Smart Home
Of course, no matter how many smart devices in your home, they’ll only work as well as your internet. It’s important to have the connection you need to make good use of your smart home tech. GVEC delivers extreme-speed Fiber with plans up to 1 Gbps! That’s plenty of bandwidth to support multiple devices and users all at once. Make the smart choice, and call us today (800.699.4832) to see if GVEC Fiber is available in your area! Or check out our Internet Availability Map to see what GVEC Internet and beyond the meter services we can deliver to you.