Have you been considering whether or not integrating smart home technology is right for you?
Smart homes are no longer things of the future. With the boom of smart devices, more and more people are opting for smart home automation. But is it the right answer for you?
Smart home automation may indeed reduce your insurance costs, but did you know that there are other awesome reasons to invest in it? We’re here to explain.
Keep reading to learn everything that you need to know about smart home automation and technology so you can start making your home smart today.
What Is Smart Home Automation?
Smart home automation integrates smart devices to make your home more efficient and make your life easier.
There are many kinds of smart devices available. From voice assistants to smart lightbulbs, all the way to full smart home systems, you have options when it comes to how you want to automate your home.
More and more people are choosing to go the “smart” route with their homes and lifestyles. It started with smartphones, and now entire houses are working on wi-fi.
Pros and Advantages of Smart Home Automation
What are the top reasons to even invest in smart home technology or even a full smart home automation system? It might seem like a large and unnecessary expense, especially the upfront cost.
Keep in mind that you can go piece-by-piece. You don’t need to do a full integration if you don’t want to. You can start with various independent, smart home devices like voice assistants or home security systems. Here are a few benefits of creating a smart home, even if you aren’t ready to commit completely.
One of the top reasons to invest in smart home technology is the home security that comes along with it. Home security systems aren’t new, so you may not have known that these were the early stages of smart home technology before we started using that phrase.
You have choices when it comes to your home security system. In general, these systems come equipped with cameras, motion lights, and noise or motion detectors that allow you to keep track of your home at all times, even when you’re at school or work.
Break-ins are 6% more likely to happen during the hours when the residents are expected to be outside of the home. With a home security system, this isn’t a problem for you.
If you want to keep your family and belongings safe, integrating smart home automation devices is one great way to do it.
You may also lower your insurance rates when you have smart home devices. With this added safety feature, you’re a lower-risk client, meaning your insurance doesn’t need to be as expensive.
Remote Control of the Home
This may not be as important as the home security aspect, but let’s face it: having remote control of your home from your phone or smartwatch is cool.
It feels futuristic, doesn’t it? Having the ability to manage your home’s temperature, devices, locks, and more with the click of a few buttons is amazing.
With a smart lock, you can check that you locked your doors without returning to them. Do you get anxious about unlocked doors when you’re out of the house or preparing for bed? No problem.
With smart thermostats, you can change your home’s climate on a whim as the outdoor temperature fluctuates throughout the day.
Smart home products will change the way you navigate your life.
As more and more people choose to live green lifestyles, the drive to reduce your carbon footprint has never been stronger. With a smart home system, this is easy.
Do you or your family members leave the lights on without thinking about it? A smart bulb integrated with other smart home devices solves the problem. Turn your smart light bulbs off from anywhere.
Some smart home devices even recognize when a room is empty, meaning that the lights will turn off independently. With this small change, you’ll save money and do a small part to help the environment.
While you’ll get alerted when someone is breaking into your home, you can also get other alerts to improve your life.
Smart homes come equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is odorless but deadly. While most homes have carbon monoxide detectors already, a smart home will help you determine the source more easily.
You can also get moisture detectors so you can identify floods.
Beyond this, your cameras and motion detectors aren’t just good for home security. Do you have a pet or child that isn’t allowed in certain parts of the home? With your cameras, you can catch them at a moment’s notice.
Are you waiting for a package to arrive? With a smart home camera, you can see your front door as soon as the package delivery worker drops off your package. You’ll also catch pesky porch pirates.
Cons and Disadvantages of Smart Home Automation
So with all of these good things, what are the problems with smart home technology?
In reality, there are far more pros than cons of integrating smart home devices into your home. That said, it’s important to be realistic about the reality of making the transition to a smart home.
While many millennials and gen Z-ers will be more than familiar with much of the technology behind smart homes, older adults may have difficulty making the transition.
These devices are more complicated than they look on the surface, and for someone who isn’t tech-savvy, they’re confusing.
This is why it might be best for some people to start slow, like by integrating smart plugs, voice assistants, or lights that you can remotely control before you start going for the more in-depth smart home products.
Adding things one at a time is easy with a mesh network, so don’t fret over starting slow.
The upfront cost of making your home smart can be a lot for some people. While the smart home technology will reduce your costs over time, you should save up before making the initial commitment.
This is another argument for starting slow.
That said, if you have the money, committing to automating your home all at once saves you money on energy bills and increases the value of your home overall.
Most smart devices require the use of the internet at all times. When your internet is going through repairs or your electricity is out, your smart home is also out of commission.
That said, it’s no different from when your internet or electricity is out without having smart devices. Try not to rely on your smart home for too much, so you’re not overwhelmed when you have internet problems.
Planned obsolescence is a real problem with modern technology. Sometimes, when new tech comes out, the old tech is no longer usable. Beyond this, sometimes the new tech isn’t even compatible with the old devices.
While your smart devices will be good for a few years (and some of them can last through several generations of smart technology), you may need to replace them as technology evolves if you want them to keep working.
How to Integrate Smart Home Technology Into Your Home
So with all of this in mind, how can you create the smart home of your dreams?
Many pieces go into a smart home, so we’ll go piece-by-piece and discuss how you can integrate them into your house. Whether you’re looking for something small to start with or you’re committing to the full package, this should clear things up for you.
Smart bulbs are growing in popularity. The most popular form of smart bulbs is popular because it’s fun: remote-controlled color-changing bulbs.
Start by purchasing your bulbs of choice. Smart bulbs work in any existing light fixture, so don’t worry about modernizing your other electronics yet. Use these in your favorite desk lamp or chandelier.
The bulbs will come with instructions about how to use them. Most of them require a specific app. You can later integrate this app with other systems. Other bulbs are used with Bluetooth (meaning that they don’t need the internet).
After you install the app and the bulbs, you’re done. Turn the bulbs on and off the normal way a few times, and they should then pair with your phone. You’re ready to control your lights without ever touching a switch!
Smart locks often come with home security systems, but they don’t have to. If you aren’t ready to commit to the whole system, a smart lock is a great “entryway” into a safer home.
If you’ve ever installed a lock into a home before, this should be simple. You need to remove your old lock and screw in the new one (just as you would with a “dumb” lock).
Keep in mind that you need to make sure that the lock is facing the right way (to slip into the door) and that you need to stay aware of the electronic wire that needs to go underneath the bolt.
You’ll also need an app for the smart lock, but it can later be integrated with other systems if you choose.
If you’ve never installed a lock before, use this in-depth guide for help.
Like smart lightbulbs, voice assistants are popular. They’re also effortless to install and integrate into the rest of your smart ecosystem, or they work well alone.
The most common form of voice assistant is the one that comes with your smartphone. If you have an iPhone, it’s Siri. If you have an Android, you’ll be using Alexa. Google phones use a basic Google voice assistant.
By calling out the name of the assistant, it will come to life and ask you what you need.
You can also get independent voice assistants if you don’t want to use your smartphone or want your entire household to use it. Regardless, pairing these systems with your home is easy. They connect to your wi-fi network, so setup is effortless.
Voice assistants have so many helpful functions that you’ll wonder how you existed without them. Whether you’re cooking and you need to remember ingredients, you need to set a timer or an alarm, you want to control other parts of your smart home system with your voice, or you want to play music with smart speakers, they can do it all.
As more and more people are getting ambushed by porch pirates, they’re learning that installing smart doorbells might be the answer. Smart doorbells aren’t just doorbells. They’re cameras that can see who’s ringing the doorbell or detect motion in front of the doorbell.
Think of them as a high-tech version of the average peephole.
Years ago, the idea of having a speaker or camera at your door for visitors to announce themselves seemed like a luxury left for the wealthy. Now, though, anyone can install and use a smart doorbell with ease.
Some are battery-powered. For these, you simply hook them up, and they start working. No complex wiring is involved.
That said, if you’re more interested in a hardwired doorbell, you’re better off seeking out professionals for the job unless you have a pre-existing hardwired doorbell.
A Home Security System
This is the most complicated system to set up, but not all smart home security systems are alike. You don’t want to set up a security system on your own, and most companies that offer full-service security systems include installation in the price.
Keep in mind that this system is meant to monitor every part of your home. Sensors will go into all of your doors. Cameras will go into all of your rooms. This isn’t something that you want to mess up.
You can, however, decide what kind of smart home assurance that you want. Some companies want you to use their subscription service. They’ll monitor your home for you and notify you (and emergency services) if anything is wrong.
If you want more control over your home security, though, you can choose to take care of monitoring it on your own. This saves you a monthly fee.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are you still looking for more information about smart home technology and smart home automation devices? It’s normal to be unsure about making such a large commitment. That’s why we’ve compiled a few frequently asked questions so you can make an informed decision about the future of your home.
These are the most common questions that people have about creating their smart homes.
How Long Does It Take to Install?
The installation time depends on how smart you want your home to be.
For basic smart home devices, setup takes a few minutes. You don’t need anything beyond a wifi connection to set up voice assistants, lightbulbs, and several smaller devices.
That said, for full smart home integration, you should allow one to three weeks for installation. Keep in mind that there’s a lot of wiring and connecting involved, even more so if you decide that you want extra smart devices, like smart sprinklers, for example.
While this may seem like a lot of time, having a professional set things up for you makes the process efficient and painless.
Do You Need a Completely Smart Home?
As we’ve mentioned, you don’t need to have every piece of a smart home all at once to benefit from smart technology. When you set your home up to one piece at a time, you’re slowly making your life more functional.
There’s nothing wrong with working your way up to a smart house. Starting with a voice assistant and going from there are you get more comfortable is a great way to start developing your smart ecosystem. As you learn about all of the capabilities of your voice assistant, you’ll start integrating smart televisions, lights, speakers, and more.
Before you know it, you’ll have a fully functional smart home that feels like something out of a sci-fi novel.
Is Smart Home Automation Expensive?
Smart home automation is cheaper than ever, but that doesn’t mean that it’s cheap. Smart devices cost more than their “dumb” alternatives, even if you’re starting small.
With this in mind, though, you end up saving money in the long run. How much money do you save when you don’t have to replace lightbulbs as often or when you don’t use as much electricity or water?
You also increase the value of your home when you integrate built-in smart technology. While many of your smart devices will go with you when you decide to move, other things that stay with the home are attractive to potential buyers.
Some builders have elected to integrate smart devices with new builds for this reason.
So in short, yes, it’s expensive. It’s also worth the cost.
Can I Integrate Smart Home Technology In an Old Home?
This is a complicated issue, so the answer is “yes and no.” Many smart devices are usable in any home. The ones that don’t require hardwiring into the home are easy to integrate.
As long as you have functional wifi, you can use many smart devices that use that wifi because of your mesh network.
That said, more “extreme” smart home devices that are harder to install may not work in an old home unless you’re willing to update the wiring within the home.
Many homes build before the 1980s aren’t ready for smart home integration. Automating your home requires certain electrical systems and abilities. If those haven’t been updated since the home was built, you’ll need to update them before moving forward with your smart home project.
This is a great excuse to remodel your home, though.
Are Smart Homes Safe?
This is another major concern for many people who are on the fence about upgrading to a smart home. How secure are they?
First and foremost, smart homes enhance the safety of your home because of their added security features. You don’t have to worry about home invasions, home disasters (like fires or flooding), or the safety of your family members. You can even catch sudden health events (like falls or visible events like heart attacks or strokes) with your camera.
That said, there are some security concerns when it comes to the potential for someone to access your private information. Alexa, for example, is sensitive enough to activate when you say similar-sounding words in its vicinity. You might worry that someone is listening.
If you’re someone who uses smart baby monitors or cameras in your baby’s room, you might also be susceptible to hacks. It’s possible (though rare) for someone outside of your home to access your cameras and speakers, creating a security concern.
While all of this sounds threatening, keep in mind that it’s unlikely that something like this will happen to you. Most people aren’t interested enough in your life to go through the effort to hack into your smart home system.
With this in mind, it’s much safer to have a smart home with a security system than it is not to have one.
Is Your Home Smart?
If you’re ready to upgrade to smart home automation and smart home technology, you’re not alone. You can join the wave of people opting to make their homes as smart and safe as possible.
Whether you need a voice assistant to answer your questions or you want a full security system to protect your insurance rates and family, moving towards a smart future is the right answer.
If you want to check out homeowner’s insurance and discuss whether or not integrating a smart home security system will help your rates, we want to hear from you.
Visit us to get a quote or discuss your options with one of our insurance professionals. We can’t wait to hear from you.