Smart homes: Living the future we were promised

October 9, 2019

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Ever since the baby boomer generation, American culture has been promising a future of convenience and ease. A world where the daily functions of living would be taken care of by automation and robot servants. Does anyone remember The Jetsons? While we don’t have robot servants in every home or autonomous flying cars (yet), we are living a life filled with more automation than ever before. We’re starting to live the future we were promised inside the smart homes of today.

What is a smart home? 

A smart home uses technology, applications and devices to make our lives easier through automation. Everyday tasks, like turning on/off lights, closing garage doors, making coffee and locking/unlocking doors can now be handled through an app on a smartphone. Human hands used to flip light switches on and off. Smart home technology now links our light switches to a smartphone app which can turn our lights on and off from anywhere in the world. Or we can talk to smart assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Home to control various devices in our homes.   

All this works together because technology has moved beyond wires. WiFi allows all these apps and devices to talk to each other to work their magic — like smelling that glorious scent of freshly brewed coffee wafting up to your bedroom before your alarm goes off.  

How to make your home smarter

Smart home features and devices are rapidly becoming the new normal. Best of all it’s easy to  implement smart home technology in any home, old or new. 

If you’re in the market for a new home, many home builders, including Wonderland Homes, are offering more integrated systems of smart home features. And if you’re looking to outfit your current home with smart home technology, you can easily do that too.  

OK, let’s dive into the nuts and bolts of making your home smarter.

Begin by considering these four basic areas of automation for your home and what is most important to you. 

  1. Energy efficiency
    • Thermostat, air conditioning, windows and blinds, fans, and sprinklers
  2. Security
    • Alarm system, video doorbells, exterior lighting, gates, and access lighting 
  3. Entertainment
    • Streaming audio / visual, lighting, water features, swimming pools
  4. Automation of menial tasks
    • Kitchen gadgets, interior lighting, alarm clocks, vacuums, laundry, and yard maintenance

Most likely you have one or more of these systems already operating in your home. And whether your systems are “smart” or not, it’s likely they were patched together as each device was implemented. 

Today, however, consolidation is key in the smart home tech world. There are three major players emerging in the world of smart home automation. The big three are Apple, Google, and Amazon. Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and the unnamed Google Home system all respond a bit differently and are not compatible with every smart device on the market. The pros and cons of each system are debated endlessly on the Internet, so we’ll leave that research and final decision to you – the important thing to note is that each uses different commands and a dedicated smart phone app, so generally speaking, it’s easier to pick one and stick with it. 

Then the fun begins. You get to start buying stuff. The first purchase you’ll want to consider is a voice activated speaker like the Amazon Echo or Google Home Smart Speaker. We do suggest avoiding off-brand voice activated speakers. Unless you are really tech savvy, these can be difficult to implement and even more difficult to network with other devices. 

After choosing your personal assistant and voice activated speaker system, you can build your personal collection of gadgets and devices that are compatible with it. 

Next, start where you are, with what you can afford, and what means the most to you. 

Now that you have a voice activated personal assistant you can have a little fun. Use your speaker to order whatever is next on your list — a smart thermostat, a doorbell, or smart light bulbs perhaps? Maybe that home audio system you’ve always dreamed of is next. Truly the possibilities are endless and more options are being offered all the time – just remember to confirm that whatever smart device you order is compatible with your personal assistant of choice.

Consider setting up a hub to manage your collection of devices from a single app.  

As your implementation expands, you’ll probably want to consider setting up a hub. These handy devices allow you to manage a collection of smart devices from a single app rather than using multiple apps to manage multiple devices. 

Think of the hub as your central switching office. This is the place where all the wireless connections meet and create an energetic vibration of infinite connectivity and creative power. 

OK, they aren’t really all that, but they get the job done and will really help streamline your control processes as your system grows.

Every smart home is different. 

Creating the perfect smart home system isn’t that hard, but it will take research, and just like people, every smart home is different. There are tons of videos on YouTube and pros at electronic stores that will help guide you in creating the smart home of your dreams. The basics are easy to implement and you can grow as it fits your needs and desires. 

More devices, appliances, and home functions are easily automated through smart home technology than ever before. And best of all, you’ll get to live a life that would make George Jetson, his boy Elroy, daughter Judy and Jane his wife proud. 

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Wonderland Homes offers a variety of home types located in some of the best communities throughout Denver and the surrounding areas. Visit one of our sales offices to talk about the smart home technology we’re building into our homes. 

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