When it comes to buying home accessories these days, more people are choosing to purchase smart, internet-connected products which can be controlled from cellphones and tablets. This is a rapidly growing field, and new smart-home products are being developed by key brands every month as consumers discover how the gadgets can make life easier and more fun.
However, if you haven’t bought any of these types of devices before, it can be a little overwhelming trying to work out the best options for your needs. With so many products available, it is important to shop smart and do your research. To end up with a smart home that works effectively, you also need to bet able to set up devices properly when you get them home. To help you in your smart-home journey, read on for some top tips you can follow today.
Make a Plan for What You Need and Create a Budget
To begin with, when you want to create a streamlined smart home it’s always beneficial to take time to put a plan together before you go out to purchase products. There are many different items to choose from in the smart-home category, from security systems and lighting through to smart-home thermostats, garages, HVAC systems, door locks, kitchen appliances, and more. As such, it is important to be clear about which things you really want to include in your property.
It helps to start with a central smart-home hub that will be your main point of control (make sure it is scalable over time though so you can always add on new products), and then go room by room throughout your house thinking about what kind of automation you’d like to achieve in each space. If you’re building a home or doing a major renovation, keep wiring and fittings in mind, too.
It also pays to create a budget if you want to keep your spending in check. Setting a budget will help you to really narrow down to your top “must buy” products. Don’t forget to allocate funds for installation as well, as oftentimes smart-home devices will need to be put in by a qualified electrician or set up by an experienced I.T. provider.
Research Product Choices
Next, to ensure you purchase devices which best suit your needs, it’s necessary to dedicate a decent amount of time to product research. As you compare the various gadgets and systems, factor in not just the price of each item, but also things like their particular features, how secure and scalable they are, and how compatible they will be with other products you might buy.
You should spend the most time researching smart-home hubs, because these tend to be the main controllers of any automated system. They will do a lot of the work, and be the gadget that other elements need to “speak” to properly.
Furthermore, as you compare products, keep in mind that you may wish to purchase items from just one or two different brands, rather than different ones. This is because doing so keeps the look of your gadgets streamlined; gives you less systems to learn how to use; and can mean that the products will talk to each other better because they’re using the same proprietary networking standards.
Part of your research should also include taking a look at product reviews and customer testimonials online and in relevant magazines. You might want to also ask people you know who own the smart-home products you’re interested in about their thoughts on the pros and cons of their purchases.
Make Sure Your Products Are Secure
While it can be fun choosing and buying automated devices, don’t forget that you need to think about the more serious side of security once you have them home and installed, too. Unfortunately, these days hackers continually find ways to break into people’s home networks and personal information, and smart-home products can be one of the ways they go about doing it.
To ensure your systems aren’t crashed by an outsider, or your sensitive data hacked or held for ransom, you must take all the precautions you can to secure your smart gadgets. Start by ensuring your router has a strong password protecting it, as well as a firewall, and that all of the software you use is kept updated.
You should also change the default logins and passwords on all your automated products. There are typically instructions that come with the devices on how to go about doing this, or you can look up the details online. Don’t forget to put a passcode on your smartphone too, as you will typically access apps for your smart-home products on this mobile device.