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The Smart Home: What is that?


When you’re not home, do you worry if you left the iron on? Or, if you turned the coffee maker off? Did you set the security alarm?

With a smart home, you could quiet all of these worries with a quick glance at your smartphone or tablet. You could connect the devices and appliances in your home so they can communicate with each other and with you.

So what is a smart home?
Smart Home is the term commonly used to define a residence that has appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio & video systems, security, and camera systems that are capable of communicating with one another and can be controlled remotely by a time schedule, from any room in the home, as well as remotely from any location in the world by phone or internet.

Most homes do not have these appliances and systems built into them, therefore the most common and affordable approach is to retrofit smart products into a finished home. That doesn’t mean you have add everything.  Here is an example of some of things you can control:

  • Speakers that are voice controlled to turn on music, listen to the news or simply ask foolish questions.
  • Cameras to track your home’s exterior even if it’s pitch-black outside.
  • Smart outlets that plug into any outlet and allow you to control the connected appliance wirelessly via an app. Some communicate via Wi-Fi, others use Bluetooth
  • You can control a thermostat from your bed, the airport, anywhere your smartphone has a signal.
  • LED lights let you program color and brightness right from your smartphone.
  • Motion sensors will send an alert when there’s motion around your house, and they can even tell the difference between pets and burglars.
  • Smartphone integration lets you turn lights and appliances on or off from your mobile device.
  • Door locks and garage doors can open automatically as your smartphone approaches.
  • Auto alerts from your security system will immediately go to your smartphone, so you instantly know if there’s a problem at home.

Smart homes may make life easier and more convenient. Who wouldn’t love being able to control lighting, entertainment and temperature from their couch? Whether you’re at work or on vacation, a smart home can alert you to what’s going on, and security systems can be built to provide an immense amount of help in an emergency. For example, not only would a resident be woken with notification of a fire alarm, the smart home would also unlock doors, dial the fire department and light the path to safety.

Ready for a smart home? Many of these devices are available online or at local large box hardware stores.



How Stuff Works: The Smart Home

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