A home automation system is a collection of hardware and software that allows you to control your devices via a smartphone, tablet or central hub. It is designed to work with smart home gadgets like light bulbs, smart locks, thermostats and cameras to create a smarter, more comfortable, safer home. Some systems also allow you to manage your energy use, keeping your bills low. Home automation systems can be used for many different things, such as automating your home’s heating and cooling to save money or turning on lights automatically when you arrive home to make it feel more welcoming. Some systems also include security, allowing you to keep an eye on your home’s security and receive alerts when things are amiss.
Some systems require professional installation, which will raise the startup cost. However, there are also options that can be installed by yourself for a fraction of the cost.
The first step in selecting a home automation system is determining your needs. How many devices do you want to connect and what features are important to you? The next step is researching the best home automation systems. You’ll want to check compatibility with the devices you plan to connect, ensuring that they are compatible with your chosen hub and voice assistant.
You’ll also want to find a system that is simple to set up and easy to use. Some systems use a voice assistant to control devices (like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit), while others are a little more complicated and feature an app that controls your appliances. If you want to use a voice assistant, look for one that supports the ecosystem you’re most familiar with and offers data privacy and security.
There are a number of ways to get started with home automation, but the most common way is through a home security system. Some of the largest companies, including Vivint and ADT offer home automation as part of their packages. These systems come with a camera-based security and, for a surcharge, medical alert monitoring. Some also include smart home automation with a variety of sensors for doors and windows, as well as lighting and heating controls.
If you want to go a more budget-friendly route, consider getting a home automation system that includes a smart speaker. These are usually WiFi-connected and microphone integrated so you can control a number of devices with your voice. They’re more affordable than most standalone hubs and some can even be mounted on a wall to give you more flexibility. They’re not as versatile as a stand-alone home automation system, but they can get you up and running quickly.