A Beginner’s Guide to Home Automation

Home automation tech isn’t new, but it is beginning to gain traction with consumers as larger companies develop smart tech and smart-home kits increasingly improve. Starting to outfit your smart home may sound overwhelming, so we’ve created a guide for you to get to know your smart home options:

We often hear questions asking what kind of things it’s possible to automate. The short answer is: just about everything!

Popular smart home devices include light fixtures and bulbs, home security cameras and locks, as well as more complex devices like smart thermostats and smoke alarms. Home automation is all about streamlining your life. Successful smart tech makes your life easier, not more difficult. An ideal automated home works like a human body, gathering sensory details and processing information before reacting accordingly. Different smart-home devices may handle different facets of this process, but all complete at least one of these functions. There are lots of devices with built-in motion and temperature sensors, and these act like the nervous system of your smart home, sensing the environment around them, which informs other aspects of your automated home experience. For example, your bedroom might contain a motion detector that senses you stepping out of bed, but kitchen gadgets like an automated coffee maker might react to that info to brew a cup that’s ready just when you need it. As smart homes grow, they often need a separate hub or platform to manage and process all the gathered information so directions are sent to the appropriate devices. Smart hubs like ones offered by SmartThings and Wink can help you manage multiple home automation devices, and the best ones integrate everything into a single, seamless home automation experience, often within a single app. HomeKit is a great example of an automated home platform, and we’re already seeing Apple’s efforts to introduce HomeKit as a manager of multiple third-party devices. If you’re not sure where to start, think about the first one or two things you’d like to automate. Maybe you’d like to start with automated security, which could allow you easy, keyless entry and the ability to screen visitors from your smart phone. Maybe that smart coffeepot sounds like the perfect addition to your morning routine. If you know it’s just a matter of time before you add more devices, consider starting with a good hub or platform that can act as a smart home starter kit. Whatever route you go, start by adding devices that are the most useful to you, either by simplifying your life, adding layers of protection to your home, or some combination of the two. Home automation is all about tailoring your home and life to your needs. Devices that meet them can help you create a smart environment in more ways than one.