Everyone wants a smart home, but what does a smart home even solve in a time where we're all walking around with handheld devices that have more computing power than an entire bank of vintage NASA supercomputers? When your phone can stream media, play games and communicate with others, do you even need a connected, smart house? Even in a time when we’re constantly encouraged to live more mobile, nomadic lifestyles, I'd argue yes.
Smart devices are handy to have around, letting you keep your phone in your pocket and keeping you focused on the task at hand. They also add extra value as digital picture frames, speakers, intercoms, and more. Plus there's vacuuming robots, smart kitchen devices and more that do more of your work for you so that you can relax ...and play on your phone.
The first step to a smart home is a network that all your devices can use. There isn't a sub-$100 entry in this category because this is the one area you don't want to skimp. A good, solid and smart wireless router is something you can build on as your smart home grows (both in number of devices and size).
One of the most popular categories of smart devices on the market are smart speakers and hubs that not only coordinate your smart devices, but provide their own additional benefits.
Right off the bat, I should point out that if you have a smart phone, you already own a smart hub. The Google Home app and the Home app in Apple iOS both serve as hubs to organize and coordinate your smart devices, not to mention the countless other apps specially made for their respective devices. Chances are if you buy a smart home device, you can manage it right from your phone.
Making sure your home is safe is easier than ever in a world of connected cameras and monitoring systems. The tiers work a little differently in this category. Entry in this case is the minimum security option, with subsequent tiers providing additional security.
Smart thermostats are one of the best investments you can make in your smart home. No matter what you spend, you'll end up making that money back in savings due to less use of your system either through easy scheduling or automatic adjustments.
OK, enough of the boring stuff. The real "wow" moment of a smart home is when your lights come on automatically on their own or respond to what's happening around you.
Got the basics? Let's take a look at some of the other devices you'll want to invest in to expand the capabilities of your smart home.
If I have one of these around my house, I have half a dozen. Why? Because when you can literally plug anything into your Homekit network, you suddenly find dozens of scenarios where it would be helpful.
Say you want your Christmas tree to turn on and off when you're home or away? Or you want your coffee maker to start every morning at a certain time? Or you want to control a lamp with Siri? Or maybe you want the television to activate on a certain schedule while you're away on vacation? You can do that all with the Wemo Mini Smart Plug. Plus, it doesn't take up much room, so you don't have to sacrifice two outlets just to make one smart.
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