Living in today’s world has never been so convenient. Almost all things come in an instant, such as the food we eat, the clothes we buy and things we need on a day-to-day basis. If going to the malls or stores is too time- or energy-consuming, we can simply go online and place our orders.
At home, such levels of convenience is prominent with all the appliance units and gadgets we possess. Over the recent years, technology has definitely gone a notch higher. Known as smart home technology, this form of modern advancement is something not yet fully understood and embraced. So what is smart home technology? How can we turn our house into a “smart home”? Does it really help save energy and time?
How can you make your house a smart home?
Comfort, security and convenience are key benefits of home products and appliances. To transform them into elements of smart home technology, automation and control must be integrated into them. A remote control can do the job, but in this age of Internet domination, apps have more functionality and intriguing features.
With web-based gadgets and apps, our home appliances can think and act on their own. With such innovation, cooling (and heating) can be scheduled, lighting can change on its own as planned, and many other home activities can work on their own.
The first step in smart home technology is choosing your virtual assistant like Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, and Amazon’s Alexa. Other than pushing buttons, these assistants can also control smart home products by speaking simple commands through them. They should be paired with a piece of hardware that will become your primary controller.
For Amazon’s Alexa, this includes Echo Dot, Echo, and Echo Show; for Google’s Assistant, it’s Google Home, and new models of Android Smartphone; and iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watch for Apple’s Siri. After getting these requirements, you can now work you smart home appliances.
Can smart home technology really help you save time and energy?
The answer is an absolute yes. Smart technology comes with different features that provide you with information regarding energy consumption, time, schedule, and many other important data. For example, most smart thermostats can track electricity, gas, and water usage, and their corresponding costs. Some can even identify these sources from around the house. This feature will certainly help you understand which electrical sources in the house have the most wastage and which ones have to be minimised in order to lower your power bill.
Smart devices cost almost, if not the same, as non-smart ones. It is the level of control in the technology that enables you to save time and money. For example, using LED lights to control lighting schedule. LED lamps generally consume less electricity than common incandescent lights. You can automate the function of your LED lights by installing smart sensors or smart power strips. The lights will automatically turn off when people leave the room or turn on when there is already a low level of natural light.
Another excellent smart technology today is the use of smart water systems. Smart shower heads and sensor-operated faucets can help eliminate excess water use and unnecessary leaks. Outdoors, smart water irrigation systems can be installed to properly time or schedule the irrigation of your lawn.
In essence, smart technology helps us minimise energy waste. Unknowingly, we have certain habits that waste energy, and if we add them all up, the total may be competitive against our actual needs. These include leaving the lights on, letting appliances and electronic devices stay connected to the power outlet even when not in used, and leaving television sets and electronics in “standby” or “power on”. Individually, these habit may consume minimal energy, but collectively, they constitute the bulk of wasted energy. With smart home technology, you can practically control all devices from an app on your smartphone, tablet, and other similar gadgets.
In the end, smart home technology can increase your efficiency and productivity. With the automatic and remote features of the technology, you can keep yourself on track at all times. Controlled lighting and temperature help you wake up on time. Smart ovens help you maximise time while cooking. Smart alarm systems help you do your household work and tasks without distractions. With smart technology, you ultimately have control of your time, enabling you to be more effective in your activities which consequently saves you energy, money, and time.
The biggest downside of smart home technology is the large initial cost. It comes with price to automate your homes. The cost of purchasing smart devices does not come cheap. Installation of the technology requires expert touch and so labour cost is another thing to consider. However, the degree of savings you can get afterwards will certainly recoup the investment.