Smart Home Technologies

Are Smart Homes really the smartest way to keep you home safe?

With smart home technology on the rise, it is easy to keep updating every aspect of your life once the newest model of it is released. And with everything from smart vacuums, to smart light, to smart locks- some are staring to wonder if investing so much into smart object for your day-to-day is not only worth-it, but safe.

What is a smart home?:

smart homeA smart home is define as “a home equipped with lighting, heating, and electronic devices that can be controlled remotely by phone or computer.” by Google. So that could be anything from owning “smart” outlets that connect to the Bluetooth on your phone to turn lights on and off, all the way to have every outlet, appliance, and more linked up to an app on your smart-phone.

Items you can buy to make your home “smarter”:

1. Smart TV’s- this is usually the most commonly owned smart device on the market, but it’s good not to forget that it still qualifies you as a smart-home owner if it can be controlled via your phone, tablet, or any mobile personal device.
2. Lighting- if you want to be able to control your lighting at the press on a touch-screen button, there are a few different ways that you can go about doing so. The first that most commonly that is used, is switching out your switches by using smart-plugs.
3. Thermostats- This is where the future meets the present, people: These smart home thermostats not only make your life easier, but make your home more green and Eco-friendly. These smart devices are perfect for anyone who may have forgotten to turn the A/C off after they leave home, or want to turn the heat on before they get home during a cold winter evening. You can customize some smart thermostats to even allow different temperatures for different rooms and/or family members. Again- these devices are outstanding for not only your wallet, but also in making your home more energy efficient.
4. Vacuums- Have you ever seen videos of Frisbee shaped robots roaming around someone’s house, or maybe you’ve seen one in person? That is most likely a smart vacuum. Popular brands of these vacuum’s are the iRobot Roomba, the Shark ION Robot 750, ILIFE, and NEATO. You can purchase different models of robot vacuums that suite your life-style. Some are best for pets, others are best for hardwood, but most have different settings for every type of indoor terrain you can think of. With it’s smart sensors, these robot maids will not fall down the stairs, run over your cat, or knock the china cabinet over.
5. Window Blinds- Need some more privacy? Do you have more than one window in your house? Do you sleep past when the sun comes up? If you answered yes, to any of those questions- smart blinds will make your home much more “user-friendly”. With motorized shades, you can control the amount of light (heat) you have in each room without running around the house and pulling down the shades for every window.
6. Voice Assistants- You may have seen all of the commercials involving a chipper-voiced woman named “Alexa”. Alexa is just one of the many versions of a Voice Assistant. You can use most voice-assistants to connect to all of our other smart devices, so that you could say a custom command such as “Alexa, I’m leaving!” and she will start the vacuum, turn off the lights, put your Smart TV in sleep mode, shut your blinds, turn off the thermostat, and more. She can even feed your pets if you have a smart pet-feeder. Almost all of the big giants have a popular voice-assistant that can help you with anything from finding out if you need an umbrella today, or if the Warriors beat the Cavs. Some of the most popular Voice Assistants are Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Home Kit, and the Google Home. All having similar but different features with various pros, and cons.

So let’s get into the nitty-gritty. What smart devices are available to make your home smarter and safer?

1. Home Security Systems- this might seem like the most obvious, but it needs to be mentioned. Having something that allows you to monitor your home when you are not there is also step number one when updating the safety mechanics in your house.
2. Door Locks- Smart locks allow you to lock, and unlock your door remotely. So, if the kids forget their house key, you can let them in from the office, and also make sure they are safe when you’re away. Making sure that you and your loved ones are safe is only a click of a button now!
3. Fire Detection Devices- Sometimes we do the most silly things when rushing out the door. Imagine this: You made pancakes and coffee for breakfast, and look down and you forgot that you clock jumped an hour forward last night (pesky daylight savings time, right?). You scarf down breakfast, put your shoes on, and you’re out the door. Well… someone forgot to turn the stove-top off. One thing leads to another, and bam- a fire strikes. Instead of getting home to the fire department watering your home like the hydrangeas, get an alert anywhere you are that the smoke-detector is going off. This way action can be handled immediately, and not until the neighbors call the fire department.

Other devices like Water Detection Devices, Doorbell Cameras, Motion Sensors, and other smart devices are available to make your home the smartest and safest it can be.

So are smart home safer than “not-smart” homes?

The answer is: A home is only as safe as it is secure. This means that just like someone picking a lock, or breaking a window- thieves have found ways to trick a smart home. Hackers are the biggest threat you have when it comes to a smart-home. Specifically, if you have smart-locks, and cameras that are all connected.

But don’t worry yet you Jetson-family-wannabe!

There are ways to make your home, harder to “crack” or hack into than others. Here are some safety tips to apply to your smart home and all of your interactions with technology to keep you safe:

1. Always use two-factor authentication
2. Your security system being connected to cameras is a MUST
3. Smart Locks, or smart keys that only you an a few loved ones have or know about
4. Doorbell Cameras/ Cameras in general- always check before you answer your door or cell-phone
5. Always have protective software uploaded into your devices (this isn’t an option for all smart-hubs)
6. Back up your devices and cameras on a regular basis
7. Use emails and internet (wifi) safely. Never open spam, or click on links that you don’t know of.
8. Choose strong and encrypted passwords for all of your devices, and don’t share them
9. Make commands with you voice-assistant that make you answer a question when you come in the door, to verify your identity.
10. Most importantly, to informed and up-to-date. Keep all of your smart-devices updated, and be aware if there are any big waves of hackers messing with smart-home devices.

If you have any questions, we would be more than happy to discuss how to set-up for home in the safest and smartest for your lifestyle. We also invite you to FOLLOW US on Facebook. What subjects would YOU like for us to cover in future blogs? 

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