When you’re working on building a new home or planning for work to start soon, it is always helpful if you think about the smart-home automation you’d like to include up front, so that these elements can be factored into the design.
These days, more and more tech is becoming available, at increasingly affordable prices, which can give homeowners a way to control lighting, appliances, security, gadgets and more from their smartphone or tablet. This can, in turn, not only make your life easier but also potentially add value to your property.
With so many different products to choose from though and security issues to consider, it’s important to build a smart home with care. Read on for some tips you can follow today to streamline the process and ensure you end up with a new home that’s advanced in all the right ways.
Set a Budget and Put Together a Plan of Attack
Before you go out and start buying products, it’s best to set yourself a budget so that you don’t get carried away and spend too much. With so many different categories of items these days when it comes to smart home automation devices, it can be tempting to buy big in every area. The truth is, though, that your bank account likely can’t take this, and that you also won’t need (or use) all these different things.
Creating a budget will help to keep you focused on only those “must-buy” products that will really make a difference to your home life. Thinking carefully about how much to spend and on which items can also remind you to allocate funds for installation because many devices actually need to be put in by a qualified electrician, I.T. person, or another specialist.
Once the monetary side of things has been considered, it pays to put together a plan of attack for yourself. For example, you might decide to start off your smart-home network with a central smart-home hub and one or two key products, and then buy some new ones each year after that. You might also need to have Ethernet cables and other infrastructure installed in your house as it’s built, or order in particular items to a set timeline. Planning this all out will keep you on track.
Research and Compare Products Before You Buy
Another step you should take is to carefully research and compare smart-home products before you buy. While the cost of each item may be one of the first things you look at, don’t forget to also examine specific features, how scalable products are, what their security is like, how they will fit in with other, and connected devices. It’s helpful to read a wide variety of product reviews and testimonials (online and in magazines) too, as this will typically provide you with more unbiased information than that offered by salespeople.
When it comes to research, the main thing you need to look into is the smart-home hub you choose, as this product will be the main controller of your system and will be the one all your other gadgets (those you buy now and those you add later) will have to interact with. It is also typically one of the most expensive components of an automated home.
Something else to keep in mind as you investigate gadgets is whether you want to purchase from only one or two different manufacturers, or many. While there are differing opinions on this, the consensus is generally that it’s best to limit the number of brands you choose from. Basically, doing this means not only will your devices all look quite similar, but it also reduces the number of different systems you need to learn, and the products should talk to each other more quickly and easily because they’re using the same kind of propriety software.
Secure Your Devices Once You Get Them Home
Lastly, building a good smart home doesn’t stop once you have purchased goods and placed them in your home. To ensure you don’t end up getting hacked by cybercriminals and having your systems crashed, information stolen, or other negative consequences occurring, you must always secure your devices before first use.
Start by checking to see that your router is protected with a hard-to-crack password (at least eight characters in length and containing a variety of letters, numbers, and symbols) so that hackers can’t get access to your devices via this tech. You should also put a passcode on your smartphone and tablet, as these will usually be what you use to operate your smart-home products.
Another step is to change the default usernames and passwords which come automatically set-up on most networked gadgets. Hackers know the login details manufacturers use as their default settings and can take advantage of this if you don’t update them straight away.