How to Geekify Your House With Smart Tech

Smart home technology was once a futuristic idea reserved for science fiction novels and Hollywood movies. Today it’s a reality. This multi-billion dollar industry has expanded rather dramatically over the past five years and there’s reason to believe that we’re only on the front end of this trend.

4 Tips for a Geek-Friendly Smart House

As a tech geek who always wants the latest gadgets and tools, the smart home concept is enough to make you salivate. It looks cool, it’s practical, and it has a space-age component to it. But with so much noise surrounding the latest innovations, it’s not always easy to know how to get started.

In this article, we’re going to provide you with a simple four-step plan for taking any traditional house and making it a geek-friendly smart house. Take a look:

1. What Do You Want?

Start by considering why you want a smart house and what you hope to gain from it. Most commonly, people want smart homes for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Convenience. First and foremost, smart home technology makes life more convenient. Whether it’s telling your lights to turn green next time you watch The Incredible Hulk, or locking your front door with your phone after finishing binge-watching Stranger Things, there’s a convenience factor associated with smart technology that can’t be replicated with traditional home systems.
  • Practicality. There’s also a practical aspect of smart home tech. For example, being able to control your home’s HVAC system while you’re at work can save you hundreds of dollars a year in heating and cooling costs.
  • Cool factor. Most importantly, smart home technology has a cool factor. Whether it’s a motion-activated doorbell camera, smart lights that sense your movement in the home, or a refrigerator that tells you what you have in stock at any given time, there’s nothing like having a house that responds to your every wish and desire.

For most people, the cool factor is a pretty big deal. If you’re honest with yourself, you probably don’t need a smart house. Once you realize that, you’re free to lower your expectations (and budget) and have a little fun with the process.

Image by HeikoAL from Pixabay

2. Pick a Virtual Assistant

“Virtual voice-controlled assistants like Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa make it easy to control smart home products by speaking simple commands like ‘Alexa, turn on the lights,’ Brian Chen writes for The New York Times. “Each of these tools has its strengths and weaknesses, so choose the one that will be more likely to work for your needs.”

Amazon’s Alexa is great for getting started quickly. It’s cheap, compatible with a lot of third-party devices, and comes with pretty decent support. However, Alexa can feel a little clunky at times and she can only be activated via the speaker (not your phone). Google Assistant is a little smarter than Alexa, but the company is vague on its privacy policy (which makes some people nervous). Then there’s Siri, which is easy to use (just talk to your phone), but is obviously exclusively reserved for Apple users.

3. Select Your Products

Once you’ve chosen a voice-controlled assistant to serve as the backbone of your smart home system, you can begin selecting the products you want. There are thousands of smart devices on the market and dozens are being added each month. You can automate everything from lights and audio to thermostats, security systems, appliances, irrigation, and more. When choosing devices, always pay close attention to compatibility.

4. Pay Attention to Security

Security is one of the last big hurdles in the smart home industry. Make sure you’re cognizant of your privacy and avoid products that lack clear policies.

It’s also important to understand the difference between security and surveillance. Certain products promise to secure your home, but are they actually creating an environment where you’re prone to outside observation? This might sound conspiratorial, but it’s something to think about.

Adding it All Up

These four tips are just guidelines to help you along. There are dozens of other decisions to be made along the way. Take your time, plan ahead, and enjoy the process of creating your very own geek-friendly smart house.

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