One way to build a smart home is to buy a lot of components, sensors, smart bulbs, security cameras, speakers, and so on, and connect them all to a hub that helps them communicate with each other and with you, through your smartphone. Voice assistants are an easy and popular way to control connected devices. As long as they support voice control, you can turn on the lights, turn on the air conditioner, make a couple of coffee and more just by talking. A smart speaker is the easiest way to control your voice in the home, as it allows you to access the most popular voice assistants, such as Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri and Google Assistant, depending on the speaker you buy.
Amazon offers the widest range of options with its varied collection of Echo speakers, while Google has a pair of Nest speakers and Apple sells the HomePod mini. You can also find third-party speakers compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, although Siri is limited to HomePod. Adding a set of smart bulbs is an easy way to start building a smart home system. Some of these systems require a so-called bridge, a device that connects to a Wi-Fi router and transmits data to a receiver in the smart light.
However, the Philips Hue light bulb bridge can be used to operate up to 50 bulbs in a home, making it an investment that you can use to slowly increase the number of smart bulbs you use. We suggest you look for things like smart speaker bars for your entertainment system, smart smoke detectors that alert you when the battery is running low, and smart blinds that you can program to open and close. In addition, many smart plugs are compatible with voice assistants for quick commands and can be linked to broader smart home routines that you want to create. Once you have a smart speaker (again, an optional but suggested step), one of the easiest ways to adapt smart home technology is to also choose some smart lighting.
And if you like smart bulbs, you might want to upgrade some lighting systems with smart switches that permanently add similar benefits regardless of the type of light bulbs you use. You can control the basic functions of many smart home devices directly via Wi-Fi and a complementary mobile app. After choosing your virtual assistant, you'll be able to choose a piece of hardware that will become your main smart home controller. And, at least for your first devices, try to choose products that meet several standards so you can build your smart home without worrying about future conflicts.
A smart lock is an excellent security improvement once you're more comfortable with your smart home, although it can be a bit bulky. If you want to get started quickly with a smart home, buying an Echo product is your best bet, since Alexa works with a broader set of smart home accessories than its rivals. You can connect your smart home devices to any of these speakers (as long as they are compatible with the corresponding voice assistant) and simply say the compatible commands to activate actions such as turning off all the lights before going to sleep. Other devices rely on more generic wireless protocols, such as Zigbee and Z-Wave, which help them communicate with a hub (Matter is an emerging standard for smart homes that also needs to be monitored).
In addition, accessories such as smart lights or thermostats can be controlled with Apple's Home app on iPhones and iPads. Most smart speakers and screens have physical mute buttons, but you might forget to turn them on, which can also be annoying if you're not around. The main benefit of a smart thermostat is that it can detect when you're not home and determine when to turn off your heating or air conditioning to save energy. .