You have been thinking about it for a long time. Do you think it's time to equip your home, condo or apartment and turn your home into a " smart home " ... but you do not know where to start?
Here's the ultimate smart home guide, where I'll give you tips and advice on just about every type of home automation product right now.
This guide is divided by device category. I'll talk about lighting products, smart locks, doorbells, cameras, speakers with voice assistants and many other products.
Not sure where to start? Let's go with the heart of any smart home, the central element ... the most important thing, what:
You did not expect that, did you? Eh! Yes. The router is what connects all your devices together. This is the bridge between your control point phone or tablet and any connected devices you install in your home.
Many people believe that any router can do the job. And that's true. Just like any car transports you from point A to point B. But some are more spacious, others go faster ... and some offer a Bluetooth connection, backup camera, etc. It's the same thing for a router. The newer routers will give you a better ability to handle multiple device connections at once, as well as better speed performance, and so on.
At home, I use a combination of Linksys Velop terminals ( my test here ), as well as the latest Linksys MR8300 router ( my test here ). I saw an improvement in my bandwidth in everything: especially video games, downloads ... and my girlfriend can watch her cat videos in 4K resolution without it affecting the rest!
Everyone has heard about Philips Hue bulbs. I have several multicolored bulbs at home and I find them very practical. I have also tested several other products, such as the bathroom mirror , outdoor light strips , and the table lamp , they are interesting products that work well.
There are obviously other brands, like Belkin WeMo. I also have a switch for my outdoor light, and there is a model with dimmer .
But before installing lighting products, I suggest you read this guide that my colleague Matt wrote. You will find a lot of good advice in this area.
Another interesting device, when you want to connect your home is the smart lock. There are obviously many types and models, for all types of doors, and for all budgets.
Do you want a lock offering a key option ? A lock with combination? With push-buttons or touch screen ? Do you want your lock to work with Alexa or the Google Assistant ? It's not the options that are missing!
Of course, before considering replacing your existing lock, you must make sure you have the right type of deadbolt installation. For more details on this subject, I invite you to read the guide to things to know to install a smart lock of my colleague Matt.
A smart lock is good, but when you combine it with a smart doorbell (or video doorbell), it's even better! You then take full control of what is happening on your doorstep.
Do you wait for a package while you are not at home? When the delivery person rings, the smart doorbell will send a notification to your phone so you can see who is at the door of your home, as well as contact that person for instructions (for example, "You can drop the box behind the house, the fence is unlocked ").
An important element to consider is the wireless connection. You must have some bandwidth (download speed) to make the video image as good as possible.
And, again, my colleague Matt has written an article to help guide you when selecting and installing a smart doorbell for your connected home!
Security cameras are more sophisticated than before. They are all controlled by a mobile application that allows not only to see who is there, thanks to an integrated motion detector, but sometimes to identify faces ( like the Ooma's Butterfleye camera ), or to discuss with them (like the Ring's Stick Up Cam camera, which I'll be trying out for Best Buy's blog ).
Some cameras can work both indoors and outdoors, others offer 1080p video, and still others offer night vision, customizable viewing angles, the ability to hear, as well as talking to the person nearby and, of course, a loud alarm function to keep unwanted visitors away.
Here, again, you need some bandwidth (download speed) for the video image to be optimal when you transmit it from home to your mobile device.
Another important detail: Most security cameras allow you to store captured videos in the cloud, but many will require an annual subscription (usually for just a few dollars).
Smart speakers and voice assistants
Smart speakers, just like a phone or tablet, can serve as a central hub for a connected home. They are usually equipped with Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri and allow you to control not only music in one or more rooms, but also your smart light bulbs, security cameras and other home automation devices. Generally, all voice assistants can communicate with most devices on the market.
I also wrote an explanatory guide to help you control your music with your voice , just a few days ago. You will find a lot of useful information and you will see that the possibilities are many, when you fall into this universe where your devices obey you at the least command!
Home automation: a universe in full expansion!
The world of home automation is booming and there are a host of other devices I have not talked about, but they can help you make your home a true realm of technology.
Not only will you save time by automating some tasks, but you'll also make sure your home is safe and comfortable.