Planning your smart home set up is an exciting undertaking that also comes with quite a steep learning curve. While quickly gathering pace, the smart home industry is still relatively immature with a range of standards and protocols that don’t always play nicely with each other. That is just one of the issues you’ll come up against.
If you’re planning such a project, my five top tips for planning your smart home set up could save you a lot of time and money.
Do your research
Do you know what is possible with smart home technology? It is a fast moving industry that is constantly evolving. Knowing what is possible and how to achieve it is a big part of a successful smart home. Get to know the products, the protocols, the manufacturers and the possibilities. Only once you know what is possible and practical can you plan your own smart home set up.
Set your budget
It is very easy to spend thousands of dollars on a smart home set up, but you don’t have to. You can achieve great things with just a couple hundred if you spend carefully. Setting your budget before you plan will help you keep your ambition in check while still achieving results.
Once you know what is possible you can begin planning your own interpretation of it. Our homes are all different so there is no template that will deliver exactly what you need. That is up to you. Begin with a traditional wireless network as all smart homes are built around them. Make sure you have good signal in every room you’re likely to want to use. Then select a smart home starter kit or home hub and build from there.
Consider what you want to achieve and in what spaces. Do you want smart security? Build in motion sensors, smart locks and wireless cameras. Do you want automatic lighting? Buy motion sensors and smart lights. Do you want voice command for your home? Consider Amazon Echo or Google Home.
It’s all very well building a smart home but if anyone with a wireless card can connect to it, it isn’t all that smart. When choosing a router, make sure it has a hardware firewall and that it is always active. Change default logins and passwords on all devices too. When selecting components, stick to brand name products. While they might cost a little more, their security will be more robust than no-name imports.
Stick to one protocol
There are currently a range of protocols used in smart homes. They include UPB, X10, Z-Wave, Insteon, ZigBee, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Thread. Not all of them can talk to one another, so find a manufacturer who makes the products you like and stick to the protocol they use with everything you buy. It should make sure everything can integrate as you want it to.
Want more help planning your smart home? Check out my 10 tips to get the most out of your new smart home and the Smart lighting buying guide for your smart home.