Anyone can create a smart home without having to spend billions on some Sci-Fi-type gadgets. Smart homes are homes that are well connected which enhances how well you live your life with great devices and useful technology that makes it all possible.
Smart homes are becoming the order of the day and you should make your home a smart home too. With advanced technological devices and services making life easier, you too can own a really smart home. In 2019, there were numerous tech products that showed us how far corporations have gone in creating some really essential tools that all work in order to make our lives easier.
From home Virtual assistants which you can communicate with even if you’re the only one living in a huge mansion to smart thermostat devices, smart security outlets that let you know every single thing going on in your environment and smart sockets and plugs. The list goes on endlessly.
The new giant Samsung fridge is another big deal although way expensive than conventional kitchen fridges, it’s way smarter than you can think of it. Also, amazing television sets which makes your sitting room way more attractive with which you can stream live events and watch your favorite TV shows, smart homes are just the right place to be and that’s what this list is meant to help simplify…We’re here to help you build a smart home from scratch.
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What is required to build a smart home?
Depending on your budgets and requirements, creating a smart home can be a quick process all by making quick request via the internet and getting a bunch of packages delivered within hours. But as daunting as the task might sound to you, you might not really need someone to help you other than some IoT installation experts that gets things up and running before you simply sit down and start giving commands to your home appliances making them do what you want them to do.
Although smart home appliances are supposed to work on their own after all, they’re labelled “Smart” Well, not really entirely as smart as they should be without a central controlling system which is where smart home virtual assistance come in.
The biggest players in this league are Google Home, Apple Home Pod and Amazon’s Echo powered by Alexa. All three are super viral and getting real attention. Although the biggest contender used to be Google Home and Echo Amazon. The Alexa for example works from the cloud by getting and exchanging information in a continuous manner as you make your requests.
Although these appliances have reached a big level in sales and development, they’re not entirely as stable yet as they’re still young while a cloud of information is a continuous process which takes years upon years to build, the companies behind these appliances are doing very well in making sure they reach a higher peak of performance.
As said, what is required to build a smart home is time and financial capacity to do so. Although most peripheral appliances are very cheap making the cut of budget but the giant tools like TVs, Fridge and some home security systems are very expensive but that’s not the case. The reality is that these tools are easy to sync together and enhance their performances via a central unit which is mostly via an application.
Thanks to Android and iOS and Windows, you can basically control anything right on your smartphone without having to visit your home or the place where the event is happening directly. Issuing a command from your device can thus make anything happen. You just have to download a host of applications on your device and then you’re set.
The reason for the host is because Echo or Google Home don’t completely support all smart home appliances in the market yet so some which are working on their own might need a mobile application of their own rather than being synced together with Virtual Home Assistance hence lots of applications on your device.
Choosing the Best Virtual Home Assistance
Depending on your favorite company or choice of product, choosing the best home assistance can be tricky in a world where many companies are going on into the business which will probably make it soon become congested with hundreds of competitors. But as of now, Google Home and Amazon Echo are the two most prominent contenders which are really getting everyone’s attention.
From making shopping list to making booking, making purchases, listening to news stories or radio, comedy, daily weather reports to looking up for your phone if if it’s misplaced within your home to tuning the TV or the Thermostat or turning on and off electric sockets or light bulbs and so on and so forth.
These appliances have come a long way and they’re definitely going on to become better in time. So as it’s said, Google Home or Amazon Echo are the two most favorable Virtual Home assistance that works well and are way credible.
The best Home Assistance should be able to control way lots of other home appliances so as to reduce the loads of applications you’ll have to install on your device and for efficiency. Because it’s way better if things are centrally controlled. This is enough for a better synchronization from and to the internet.
Smart Home Virtual Assistance are the starting points when want to create a smart home. And the amount of smart appliances you’ll have will determine how smart your home can become just in time. But in order to simplify the whole scenario, here is a compare and contrast between the Google Home and Amazon Echo before we head straight down to others.
Amazon Echo: “Hello Alexa!”
This is the new deal in the market, It’s strength lies in the Alexa’s cloud system where the Amazon Echo get and exchanges data for better user’s interactivity. Being able to integrate into many other smart home appliances makes the Amazon a big deal.
For example, it works seamlessly with appliances such as Belkin, WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Insteon, Nest, and ecobee, Spotify, Uber, Domino’s, Pandora, IFTTT, Audible, and, of course, Amazon.
This translates that you can issue commands from your couch and make the Echo do anything so far it’s connected to it’s system. As said earlier, making orders, gathering lists, reports and news information, playing songs and searching for your device are just few of the things the Amazon can do for you. It doesn’t take any long process to getting used to the system.
Google Home “Hello Google”
The Google Home is another smart speaker that allows you to interact with the Google’s cloud assistance called Google Assistance. It’s sort of a name mix-up but it’s a very powerful system which is essentially cool as the Amazon Echo.
It’s strength lies in it’s integration with both in-house and third-party systems. The ability to speak voice commands to control the device and get it to do things for you makes a lot of sense.
Just like the Amazon’s Echo, The Google Home controls a number of services like the Google Play Music where you can play latest songs, Spotify also or iHeartRadio all for audio purposes. Visual services like Netflix, YouTube and Google Photos while others like Google Calendar, Google Keep all for task management while you can get news updates from big sites like CNN, CNBC or the The Wall Street Journal. The list is just endless.
Although it’s been Google this and Google that and well, it’s probably because Google is some sort of internet oligarch with lots of services and applications attached to their name so much of the integration are Google’s own services which means seamless integration if that sounds right to you.
Okay Now What?
Best Home automation system or should i call it best home smart speaker will be the starting point for a good smart home building. And as things evolve the more, you can get more embedded into your virtual assistance and getting to know each other way lot better. But the story doesn’t end just there. There are numerous Smart home system you can get to amplify your home and make it future oriented.
BEST SMART HOME SECURITY CAMERAS
Security cams are great devices that can help you monitor every activities going on within your house premises without having to be there physically to always move around monitoring these places. You might have had situations whereby you just want to know who’s currently on your properties while you’re at work or maybe out of the country. Below are some of the best smart security cams that you can install by yourself without necessarily needing the help of a pro with which you can always keep close tabs on your home whenever you’re around or far away.
WYZE CAM PAN
This is an interesting smart home camera device which helps you keep sight of everything going on within your house. Maybe you want to keep eye on your kids in the other room while you’re busy working in your home office or you just want to have a secret camera that sees everything from within some parts of your home then this is your best bet.
Having a massive 4.3 out of 5 star rating from 18,000 reviewers makes this an interesting device you should really invest in. But the hype aside, it works with Alexa which makes it easy to sync it well with your smart home speaker and it can perform things such as Pan, Tilt, Zoom all in 1080P (HD Resolution).
With the Wyze Cam, you can literally sit anywhere and live stream everything happening in your home while data are stored in the cloud free for 14 days which is an amazing time. The Wyze Cam Pan can automatically record a 12-second video clip when motion or sound is detected and sends your smartphone a push notification with which you get alerted about the happenings in your home at all times.
YI 1080p HOME CAMERA
Second on the list is everyone’s favorite, the Xiaomi YI 1080p Home Camera which just as the name, it records a high quality video for your home and get you notified every time it detects something unusual. YI’s motion alerts and live video feeds are equipped with the option to instantly involve Noon light’s Certified Emergency Dispatchers, who coordinate with police, fire, and EMS agencies on customers’ behalf to ensure the situation is promptly handled just in case of emergency.
Other interesting features of the YI smart home camera are trigger sensor that gets the device to work when it gets movement and then saves the video footage to the cloud free for 7 days which is a little bit of a week lesser than the Wyze Cam Pan’s 14 days. Also, the YI cam integrates with the Alexa’s ecosystem so if you have the smart speaker, be sure to control your home video footage with ease directly with your voice and stream it from your smartphone anywhere you are.
KASA CAM OUTDOOR BY TP-LINK
Our first outdoor security camera on the list is the Kasa Cam Outdoor by TP-Link which is obviously an interesting product which offer maximum monitoring for your home and properties altogether. If anything, the fact that you can use the device’s crisp audio system to communicate with anyone at the front door is interesting and it even has a siren which you can use to scare intruders off your property. It has motion and sound detectors and has a mobile application that syncs 100% with the Alexa smart home Assistant.
The Kasa Cam Outdoor sends you an instant alerts right on your smartphone whenever it detects any sound or motion; Control what alerts you receive by setting so this puts you 100% in control at all times.
Installing the device is super easy and doesn’t require hiring some expert that will charge extra fee. It has a magnetic mount as well as a mounting wall plate for a quick set up with which you can configure the best angles possible for you. It records a high 30FPS frame rate and works both on Android and iOS platforms.
EUFY AK-T84201W1 SECURITY FLOODLIGHT CAMERA
Floodlight are important and a smart floodlight is even much more important than ever and that’s what this device does. It helps in enhancing your home security by adding surveillance as well as a real time communication system via the 2 way audio system it comes with.
Can be mounted anywhere by anyone and so doesn’t require any technicality and so doing, you can connect with a Wireless network and get to see everything going on around your home premises with ease. Another fascinating thing about this camera is the fact that it can live-stream and record in full 1080p HD so you can see exactly who’s there in crisp clarity.
It has a 2, 500-lumen super-bright motion-activated floodlights which deter intruders and ensure detailed, full-color recordings even at night. It’s battery last long and connection is fast. It uses a storage card where video recordings are saved for you just in case you prefer to take matters into your own hands.
YI OUTDOOR SECURITY CAMERA
In short, the Yi Outdoor security camera has interesting features such as 1080p video recording resolution and and support Cloud data storage, rated IP Waterproof and have a strong Night Vision Surveillance System with 24/7 Emergency Response, Motion Detection, Activity Alert, Deterrent Alarm, Phone App, Works with Alexa what else can I say.
It also has a 360° noise-canceling hypersensitive microphone which helps in eliminating excessive environmental noise for much clearer sound quality and to also allows you to communicate with welcomed guests, and deterrent alarm can get rid of unwanted guests.
Cloud storage is another great thing and requires monthly subscription but you get the first month free. You can also save your data in a microSD card so as to keep a backup with you just in case.
BEST SMART DIGITAL DISPLAY
What do you do every morning when you wake up from your bed, You check out your bedside for time, or the weather but even with a smart display, you can get to look up your current appointments aside weather and you can even make video calls from there. This is a simplified technology that enhances how you live your daily life. Below are the best smart digital display systems for the year 2020 you can get right now.
NIXPLAY SMART DIGITAL PICTURE FRAME
This is an interesting digital smart display with which you can get close with your loved ones using the 10.1-Inch smart display which integrates well with Alexa. The device Nixplay smart display have support for both Android and iOS platforms and anyone can share photographs from Google Photos or even use Facebook, Instagram and Dropbox as well as from websites.
It has a 1280 x 800 HD IPS screen with 16:10 aspect ratio which auto adjust to either a landscape or portrait depending on the placement. It also has motion sensor which automatically turns on and off the fame while Alexa can be used to command what to display. With thousands of purchases already and a huge positive reviews from customers, if you want to stay close to your loved ones, this is the best digital display you can have right by your bedside or on the wall of your house.
PIX-STAR 10-INCH WI-FI CLOUD DIGITAL PICTURE FRAME
This is another interesting smart digital photo frame which come with a lesser screen size at 9.7-inch which gives it 24.6cm. An IP LCD display with 1024×768 pixels with 4:3 aspect ration that allows you manage all your photos for your viewing pleasure. With the Pix-Star, you get to connect up to 25 frames from one single online account all for free.
It uses an 8GB of internal storage space which can get you about 30,000 photographs and supoort external storage devices such as SDHC and SDXC cards. It also feature motion sensors which enables the device to turn on and off when you come in or leave the room where it’s been placed. It also has a complete support for iOS and Android platforms from which you can manage your photographs to show keep your loved ones around you at all times.
Display your social media photos by accessing online photos from Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, one drive, Flickr, Google Drive, Google Photos, 23Snaps and more. Receive daily weather forecasts for countries and cities of your choice. Lifetime support and extended 2-year limited included.
PHOTOSHARE FRIENDS AND FAMILY SMART FRAME
This is another super interesting smart home digital display device and one of the cheapest on the list. Offering support for both iOS and Android platforms, you can frame up about 50 photos all at once and add music or video to your uploads. This gives you the ease of keep close to your loved ones. With this, you can share photographs from Facebook to your digital display frame and have it placed anywhere in your home.
It has interesting feature such as send a video of the kids to Grandma or enjoy your favorite music and make your memories better with movies and music!
The ultimate desktop accessory! The Clock & Calendar feature displays date and time along the bottom of the screen to keep you on time, up to date and in touch with family and friends. Set the mood. Built-in ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the brightness of the display to match the lighting in the room. Day or night, your favorite photos will come to life in all their brilliant glory.
A thermostat is a component which senses the temperature of a physical system and performs actions so that the system’s temperature is maintained near a desired set-point or so does Wikipedia defines the Thermostat which makes it a really important device to maintain the temperature of your room. The thermostat now come with interesting features in modern days which makes them support Alexa for ease of access and control. So you wouldn’t have to move around anylonger to change the thermostat as you can easily do that at your convenience.
T30073S NEST LEARNING 3RD GEN.
This is an interesting smart home device that you should consider acquiring. It offers you ability to auto-schedule temperature conditions in your home which in turn deters confusing programming whereby the device learns the temperature you like and it programs itself to that condition. Connects well with Wi-Fi technology with which you can swap the temperature right from your smartphone with ease and it works with 95% of 24-Volt heating and cooling systems, including gas, electric, forced air, heat pump, radiant, oil, hot water, solar and geothermal.
The Nest Learning 3rd Gen. thermostat also learn about how your home warms up and help you maintain that temperature in the condition you’d want. And whether you are home or not, the Nest Thermostat automatically turns itself down when you’re away to avoid heating or cooling an empty home. Works with Alexa and so you can easily control your thermostat with your voice command or just through your smartphone.
EMERSON SENSEI THERMOSTAT
The Sensei is another super cool smart thermostat device for your home. The device offer a touch screen colored display interface with which you can interact and setup is just in a matter of few minutes. It’s integration with the Alexa is another cool thing I find interesting about the device which is something you should look out for when trying to purchase this device.
The Sensei allows you to remotely control your home comfort from your smartphone or tablet using the Sensi mobile app for Android and iOS devices and features smart alerts to help detect extreme temperature and humidity levels in your home.
ECOBEE SMART THERMOSTAT
The smart sensor technology of the Ecobee thermostat allows it to auto adjust your home temperature based on occupancy and other conditions. The device saves you a lot of cash you spend on heating or cooling systems. And as expected, it works seamlessly with the Alexa AI system allowing you to easily manage your home temperature without having to leave your comfort whenever.
Features an an intuitive mobile app, from where you can control your thermostat and home using your voice, phone, tablet, computer, Apple Watch, or whatever works best for you – it’s that easy. And mind you, installation is pretty fast and takes nothing more than 45 minutes or even less. The company has a video walkthrough on how to setup the device. Just like Alexa, it works with other smart home devices such as Google Assistant, Apple Home Kit, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT.
SMART HOME LIGHTING SYSTEM
Good lighting system saves you costs and enhance your home beauty because who doesn’t need a great lighting in their homes. We have compiled below few of those we think are best and suitable for you on the long run.
LOMBEX E27 SMART BULB
Amazing way to light your home with Alexa and the Lombex E27 Smart Wifi Voice Control LED Bulb helping you lit your home with different light which can be controlled from your smartphone with ease. The device come with various usage and have support not only for Alexa but even Google Assistant and IFTTT.
Compatible with sart devices like smarphones and integrates seamlessly with the Android and iOS platforms altogether. Suitable for Holiday, Christmas, Festival, Garden, Yard, Wedding party and so on
YEELIGHT YLXD42YL 32W LED LIGHT
This smart home device offer great lighting capacity for your smart home or wherever you apply it. Being a ceiling mounted light, it has the capability of reaching every corners of the space area because of the high tech elements it’s built with. The Smart LED Ceiling Light works with the Xiaomi Ecosystem and can be controlled using a remote control to on/off at your own convenience
Yeelight YLXD42YL smart LED ceiling light support voice control that can work with HomeKit and Yeelight APP to control the light. You can turn on/off the light without getting up. Built-in WiFi and Blutooth module makes you remote control the status of the light from anywhere. Large color temperature range can be adjusted as your request, soft brightness to take care of your eyes. Smart light gives you a new home experience.
YEELIGHT YLDP05YL E27 SMART BULB
The Xiaomi Yeelight is a powerful smart bulb that can be used to power your home at your convenience. Give your home the amazing quality it deserves with the new Xiaomi Yeelight smart bulb which can be synced with your smartphone so as to be in control of your house’s lighting with ease at your comfort. With the Xiaomi Yeelight you can now control everything smartbulb in your home within your comfort.
WYZE BULB 800 LUMEN A19
Wyze as we know it is a great company that makes really incredible smart home systems and this lighting device is another great invention from the company offering really interesting features. The 9.5W bulb offers about 800 Lumens which can be dimmed using voice control and the Wyze application. And with the device, you do not necessarily need a smart home hub device as it works directly using Wireless connection which can be setup quickly the Wyze moble application.
Automate your lights with Wyze Sense (sold separately): Wyze Sense’s contact and motion sensors allow you to control your lights based on motion or opening/closing of a door so they’re on when you need them and off when you don’t. You can also integrate with IFTTT to link Wyze Bulbs to the rest of your smart home devices.
Other interesting feature includes the ability to add multiple bulbs to a group and control them all simultaneously or use Shortcuts to control all your Wyze devices at the same time.
Okay so what?
With the big list, you should be able to get a better glimpse about creating a smart home. Although decision could be tough to take but we’ve made the best smart home devices known based on our review of these systems and how well they worked. Their price values and durability are also things we took into consideration.
So any home can become a smart home. It just take mixing up couple of devices and making it all work up together and creating the environment that’s conducive enough for you to achieve that beautiful goal of living in comfort as you’d want to live.
Usually, most systems are not as expensive as the other while price values matters in deciding what to pick, the complexity and flexibility of these systems should be considered alot and that is what would determine how far you can enjoy your new smart home with all it’s necessary appliances.