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July 2, 2018
5 DIY Home Automation Project Ideas to Get Started with Your Smart Home in 2018
If you’re curious about smart homes but aren’t ready to automate everything, there are some gadgets you can get that allow you to add smart home functionality one gadget at a time. Whether you just want automated lighting, an automatic garage door, or electronic sensors that are triggered by sensors, there are numerous great automation systems for your smart-home technology. Here are some of the best DIY automation ideas for your smart home in 2018.
A digital assistant is an electronic device that responds to voice commands to do various things around your home. It’s usually shaped like a small speaker and uses your home internet to do various tasks for you. The most popular ones on the market today are Amazon’s Echo with Alexa, Google Home with Google Assistant, and Apple HomePod with Siri. This research-based study gives some really useful insights on the “Best Voice Assistants of 2018” and the software behind them: https://www.reviews.com/voice-assistant/
The reason why these gadgets are a great place to start is that you can get them to do whatever you want them to, although capabilities and compatibility with other devices vary between them. If you want to do something simple, you can have them use the internet to provide you with information that you ask for, like the weather forecast, translate a phrase, define a word, or find out the final score of the game.
Take some time to think about which digital home assistant will work best for you as you expand your smart home. For example, if you’re an Apple person with a Mac, iPhone, and an Apple TV, getting a HomePod obviously makes the most sense because you’ll have fewer compatibility issues to worry about.
A smart plug lets you control a dumb appliance with your smartphone. It’s pretty simple. The device plugs into any standard home outlet. Then, simply plug any appliance into it. You can then actively control the appliance from your smartphone by turning the outlet off and on, either on demand or on a schedule.
There a lot of ways you can use this simple gadget to do some of the things that a smart home does. For example, by plugging in a lamp and setting the timer, you can make sure the lights are on when you get home from work in the evening.
You can make things more convenient for yourself, too, by plugging in a coffee machine so your morning cup of Joe is already waiting for you when you get out of bed. Plus, you can use them to turn off appliances when you’re not home, like lamps, televisions, or even your straightening iron. Whether you’re trying to save money on your electric bills or have a bad habit of leaving things on when you leave the house, a smart plug is a simple way to go about it.
A smart TV is often the first smart device people get for their homes in part because most new TVs are all equipped with the necessary technology. What makes a TV smart? An Internet connection! Most come with an Ethernet port and can also connect to your home internet via Wi-Fi. One perk is that you can usually access all of your subscription services pretty easily through apps right on the screen. So, if you want to watch Netflix, YouTube TV, or Hulu on your television screen, it’s pretty easy to do. Some systems offer other benefits, like supporting Google Cast or voice search.
One way you can take advantage of smart technology to save yourself a bit of money in the long run is to get a smart thermostat. Not only do they allow you to monitor and control the temperature of your home remotely using your smartphone or tablet, they can also learn your patterns and take into account the temperature and humidity inside and outside to keep your home at the perfect temperature. By only turning on the heat or air conditioning when it’s really needed, you can actually save a lot of money in the long run.
Believe it or not, you can actually lock up your home safe and secure without needed to worry about your house keys. Smart locks allow you keyless entry to your home using either a physical keypad or an app on your phone. Some models can even act as a camera so you know who’s ringing your doorbell or if any packages arrived while you were away. You can even connect it to other smart devices that can turn on your lights or activate your security system in the event of suspicious activity.
Something really cool is that, on some models, you can set multiple codes. So, if you have a guest coming in from out of town, you can generate an unlock code for them to use during their visit then delete it from the system once they leave. You can also get alerts to your cell phone every time the lock is opened so you know who is coming and going. This is really handy when you’re waiting for the dog walker or want to know when your kids get home from school.
One important thing to note is that if you do want to expand your smart home, be careful when choosing these initial items. There are a lot of options out there and not everything is compatible with everything else.
There are a few ways to approach this. First, start with the digital home assistant. The more you expand your system, the more you’ll be interacting with Alexa and Siri or Google Assistant to control your smart home. So, it’s best to use the one you like best. Sometimes, this is the one you’re most familiar with. For example, if you were an early adopter of Alexa, it might be best to stick with an Amazon Echo and built on that. If you have an iPhone and a Mac and an Apple TV, getting an Apple HomePod makes the most sense.
Continue to build, gadget by gadget, and before you know it, you’ll have an entire DIY smart home system.