Household chores have been simplified by machines for years now — think dishwashers, washers and dryers, microwaves, etc. And many more jobs are becoming automated every day, even down to the ability to turn on the lights in your house or make dinner.
So much technology is now at our fingertips, and using the latest gadget is easier and more enticing than ever. However, that constant connectivity can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. A perpetual stream of dings from notifications can start to feel noisy and bothersome.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Learning what type of devices to use and how to manage all of them can allow you to take full advantage of technology in your smart home. Keep reading for a list of ways to do just that.
- Consolidate Your Device Controls
Depending on the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices you have in your smart home, managing all of them could get to be a bit tiresome, especially if they all use different apps or even protocols—Wi-Fi is fairly common, but plenty of gadgets rely on Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Zigbee, or others. If you go in without a plan, you could end up needing to learn how to control all of the notifications, schedules, and other nuances of each device individually.
However, if you can pick devices that all connect through the same central hub or app, you can drastically reduce some of that unnecessary noise. Some smart home management apps, such as the Home app for iPhone, allow you to control compatible devices by room or automate your daily routines (like making coffee or going to bed). Setting up your own IoT with one central point is essential to making your devices seamlessly work together without becoming overwhelming or time-consuming.
If you’ve already invested in multiple devices from different ecosystems or protocols, don’t worry. Some hubs and devices—including the Logitech Harmony Elite—can help bridge the divide between different tech types, but you may have to put in a little extra work to get your smart home things running smoothly.
- Prioritize Your Tech Wisely
There are many IoT devices specifically designed to help around the home, but chances are you don’t need all of them—at least not at first. Instead, prioritize your smart home tech by figuring out what you truly need from a device. If security is important to you, the Nest Protect or Ring Video Doorbell can give you more peace of mind. If you care more about efficiency, a Philips Hue system or set of Belkin Wemo Smart Plugs could be right up your alley.
- Set Your Networks Up for Success
None of these devices will benefit you if they can’t reliably communicate with their hubs or with each other, however.
Here’s where those protocols come back into play. If your IoT tech relies primarily on Wi-Fi, you may need to upgrade your router. For particularly large houses, a mesh Wi-Fi network might be a sensible solution. Other protocols like Z-Wave, Zigbee, and even Bluetooth in select cases can create a built-in mesh network, with each device boosting the signal automatically. In those cases, slightly repositioning your tech to ensure a clear connection would be the best bet.
And again, if you’ve got a setup that blends different ecosystems or protocols, you can still make things work; you’ll just have to do a bit more legwork to create a hybrid solution—one that will likely involve bringing devices physically closer to the central hub or installing range extenders.
At the end of the day, extensive smart home automation can take time and cost thousands of dollars. Follow the tips here to ensure you build out a comfortable, useful smart home—and avoid spending resources on things that just don’t need to be automated.