The world is changing with the growing technology. Every other day a new technology is coming into the trend and we are adopting all these to make our life much better and live it smarter than ever. We are seeing a lot of automation in almost every field and machines are taking over the manual tasks in a much better way. As life is getting smarter than ever before so our homes are. It's not the time where only our desktop, laptop or mobiles are smart but our homes too. Let's discuss how can we make our home smart with devices available in the market and improve our daily lifestyles.
A smart home no longer requires a huge technical setup, thanks to IoT devices. These devices can make your home smart, easily, and at very effective costs. In this article, we'll discuss the ways to make your home a "Smart Home", ideas to make a smart home, and also a budget-friendly way to make a home smart. What are the equipment or tools required to make your home smart? Is it possible to switch to a smart home in a budget-friendly way? Is a smart home improves the lifestyle of humans?
What is a smart home?
A smart home is nothing but a convenient setup of devices, accessories, and appliances where these devices can be controlled remotely with an internet connection. You can control these devices using your voice or through some apps on your smartphone. It doesn't matter if you are in your home or not, these devices can be accessed from anywhere in the world through the Internet.
What are the things required to make your home smart?
Everybody has a smartphone in their pocket. So any smartphone will work whether it is Android or iOS. Both can work as you only need to install the apps required for your smart device.
Internet / WiFi Network:
You must need a working internet connection with a WiFi router to connect these devices and access the devices wirelessly. You can also use a hotspot connection from your mobile but that is not recommended as connecting several devices needs a high-speed interconnection.
Smart Speaker (optional):
A smart speaker is optional as a part of the requirement to make your home smart. This will though help you to access and control the device using your voice. Additionally, these devices can be a part of your smart home device in which you can play music, check the weather, and ask a lot of things which we'll cover later.
What are the ways to make your Smart?
Low budget solution:
In this setup, we consider if you already have heavy appliances at your home and you can't afford to buy the smarter versions of those devices such as Air conditioners, Washing machines, refrigerators, and Television. So in this situation, you can go for the option to buy additional attachments or supporting smart devices which can make your non-smart devices into a smart devices. These items are Smart Plugs, IR Blaster, Fire TV Stick, and many more. We'll cover such devices in detail.
High budget solution:
If you can afford to buy heavy appliances then we suggest going for a smart version of the appliance such as Smart TV with build-in voice assistance, Smart Air Conditioner with Alexa built-in, and so on.
A list of Must-Have smart devices for your home
A smart speaker is integrated with some virtual assistant that offers hands-free activation and interactive actions by saying some special hot words. These speakers can play music, provide weather details, any general knowledge, and many other things. You can just ask anything and probably get an accurate answer. Apart from this, these devices can also be used to manage the other smart device connected to the same network or any other network (remotely).
One of the smart speakers in this category is Amazon Echo having Alexa virtual assistants. There are several speakers available in the Amazon Echo for a variety of budget range. You can install the Alexa app on your smartphone and then connect multiple Smart Devices in the app. All these devices can be then controlled by the speaker through your voice command only such as Light your bulb, On/Off your plug, TV, AC or refrigerator, etc.
A smart bulb can light up in 16 million colors, meaning any color that you can think of. These bulbs can set different brightness levels as well. This is not it, you can schedule times to on/off these bulbs. There is a range of Indian companies that are making these kinds of bulbs. The smart bulbs can be also operated through your smart speakers using your voice commands. Just say "Alexa turn on the light" 🙂
Do you know how a smart plug can make your home smart?
This is probably the easiest way to make your smart and even your big home appliances. The smart plugs can be On or Off using Voice commands through smart speakers, can get scheduled, and can be accessed remotely. So just plug it and attach any home appliances such as TV, AC, Refrigerator, Coffee Machine, or anything. A voice command can On or Off your appliances and you are one step ahead in making your existing non-smart devices smart.
There are several types of Smart Plugs available based on the appliances you'll use. It means a device that will take a small load will have a different smart plug (6A or 10A load) such as a TV, Coffee Machine, etc. And heavy devices such as Air Conditioners will have a different smart plug starting from 16A load.
TODO: Link smart plug links for 6A, 10A, and 16A
Smart Switch Board:
These smart switchboards are the replacement for the existing switchboard of your home. It can have a combination of switches, fan regulators, and sockets. All these can be recognized independently by your smart speaker and can be accessed and controlled separately as well. This device alone can convert multiple home appliances smart. You can ask to control any device attached with the switch, on/off, or set the speed of your fan, also any device attached with the available socket in the board.
Smart Remote Control or IR Blaster:
This is another type of device to make your home smart. As you might have several appliances at your home with its separate remote such as TV, Air Conditioner, Set Top Box, Home Theater System, and many more. This All in One universal remote or IR Blaster can be linked with your remote once and then each linked device can be controlled by using the app provided by the IR Blaster or through voice commands provided to the smart speakers.
Now, you can set AC's temperature, TV's channel, or control the sound of the home theatre system through your voice only. It's cool, isn't it?
Smart Home Security Camera:
Once your regular devices are getting smarter, it's time to set up some security devices too. As, the installation of CCTV can cost too much and the setup is a whole lot of plugs, wires, screens, and DVR, etc. These smart home security cameras are cheap and easy to set up. Just power the camera and connect with WiFi and you are done. Now you can access the camera visuals in your smartphone app and also control the angle, quality, or timeline of the Camera directly from your phone.
If you have an old TV that is not smart then you can make that model smart by attaching a smart plug and using an IR blaster. That's enough to convert your non-smart TV into a smart TV.
But, if you are planning to buy a new TV then go for a smart TV. These smart TV can have built-in voice assistants and came up with a lot of existing OTT apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, Zee5, SonyLiv, and many more. These TVs can run on Android so you can download the apps available on the app store for your TV too.
Apart from this, you can buy an external device and attach it to your TV and make your TV smart. If your TV is not from the model of Smart TV category then you can make this decision to buy such devices. The best in this category is Amazon's Fire TV Stick. They have variants available based on your budget and can be purchased at around Rs. 2,000 in the sale period. You can buy for the variants suitable for you, from HD version to 4k and from limited feature's remote to a high-end feature in the remote only.
It has the same setup as in TVs. So, if you already have an Air conditioner that is not smart then using Smart Plug and IR Blaster you can convert your existing non-smart AC into a smart one.
If you are planning to buy a new AC then directly buy the one which is already smart from inside. Some of the ACs can have Alexa voice assistant enabled and so can be controlled through voice easily.
Additional list of Smart Devices:
There are many devices available that can be optional for smart homes and you can buy these devices as per your need. Let's see what's on the list.
Smart Lamp and Smart Bedside Lamp:
These lamps can be smart same as light bulbs. It can also light up in up to 16 million colors and can be controlled by a voice assistant as well. There are many options available in this category such as normal lamps, study lamps, and bedside lamps as well. You can buy these lamps and schedule them as per your requirement such as full brightness in the daytime, low brightness in the evening, and off in the night.
MI Smart Bedside lamp (16M Colors)
Robot Vacuum Cleaner:
These vacuum cleaners can be trained for your home and they automatically do both sweeps and mops your rooms. They are trained in a way to handle any obstacles in the path, can be programmatically scheduled, and are also controlled by smart speakers.
Wireless Charging Pad:
This is not a smart device that can be controlled by smart speakers, voice assistants, or any mobile apps. But this can make life easy and provides a smart way to charge your smartphone. There is no need to plug the charger in your smartphone to start charging it, just put it on the wireless charging pad. Yes, it's that easy. The only condition is that your phone must be Qi-compatible to support wireless charging. There are many phones available in India which can be charged using this way. You only need to put your smartphone on this charging pad and it'll start getting charged. It can also improve the life of your smartphone's charging port.
Dyazo wireless charging pad 10W / 7.5W / 5W
Digital Door Lock:
This is another item that can secure your home from any theft and provide a high level of security. These door locks can be unlocked using Bluetooth, OTP to your phone, using a specific RFID card, or using FIngerprints as well. It can be also installed with any wooden or metallic doors without any issue. This device can also be an addition to your smart home devices.
Digital door lock from Lavna (Recommended)
Digital door lock from Lavna (low budget)