1. Internet of Things
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)? It basically means making traditionally non-connected objects such as refrigerators, lights, thermostat, etc. a lot smarter by controlling and monitoring them though your smartphone or voice. While complete home automation remains a pricey proposition, you can use a few products to start laying a basic foundation.
2. Philips Hue Starter Kit
I started my home automation process with the Philips Hue Starter Kit, which is one of the simplest smart lighting set-ups. The kit comes with three colour-changing LED bulbs and a bridge. Simply connect the bridge to your router, download the Hue app (iOS and Android). The app searches for the bridge, connects it to Wi-Fi and detects the bulbs. I installed these bulbs in my bedroom. The app lets me control the colours of the bulb and set scenes but what I use it most for is setting routines: The lights automatically tune to the sunlight scene at 7am when I need to wake up and switch themselves on at 6pm.
3. Kohler Moxie Showerhead
Next is the bathroom. I added the Kohler Moxie Showerhead, which has a built in magnetically attached waterproof Bluetooth speaker. I take a little longer in the bathroom in the morning to get ready than most and this speaker is the perfect companion. It’s hooked to my Google Pixel and I can play music or listen to the news while I’m showering and brushing. Installing it is very simple; all I have to do is remove my old shower head and put in the Kohler one and it’s ready to go.
4. TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi plug
The next device I used was the TP-Link smart Wi-Fi plug. This device connects to the plug point on the wall and makes it a Wi-Fi connected smart switch. I used this to connect my dumb appliances such as the coffee maker and table lamps in my hall. All I had to do is download the app, set up the Smart plug and now without going to my kitchen I can power on my coffee maker and in couple of minutes hot coffee is ready. It also allows me to control the hall lamps and lights using only my phone. No more hunting for switches in the dark.
5. SkyBell HD
Now it’s time I got my home more secure. I installed the SkyBell HD smart door bell. It has a built-in camera and when connected to Wi-Fi, it delivers notifications whenever there is someone at the door and also lets me speak to the person. It gives me an option to record a video also if I’m away to see who was there snooping around. A motion sensor detects movement near the door and alerts me when there is someone at the door.
6. Google Home
Finally, I got the Google Home which acts like a bridge to many of my smart devices. It’s not only a personal assistant who tells me the weather, play songs, sorts shopping lists and remembers where I kept my stuff but it also controls my lights by simple voice commands. I have connected my Hue lights with Google Home and when I say “Hey Google, turn on bedroom lights” it just turns them on. I have four lamps in my bedroom and Google Home can control them all together or individually. So if I’m up writing reviews on my laptop, I say “Hey Google, turn off wife’s lamp” and it switches off the lamp on her side so she can sleep without any disturbance. Google Home also connects with many other smart devices such as Nest, Logitech Harmony, etc. and the list keeps growing. This is one of the must-have devices to make your home smarter.
These are the few ways I have got my home to get smarter, and there’s still so much more. What I described was simple ways to just get started. So are you ready to take the plunge to a smarter home? Do let us know.