A beginner’s guide to smart home installation

Looking to upgrade your home into a smart home with more connectivity and devices than ever before? We’ll take you through the basics and tell you everything you need to know.

What is a smart home?

More of us already have smart homes, perhaps without even meaning to. The term refers to a house which contains a network of devices all connected and communicating with each other. A smart home set-up enables you to remotely control different parts of your home – such as lighting, heating or security – monitor your usage, or even keep a record or your historical data.

Take control of your home

Once you have a new smart home in place, you will effectively be able to take control of your whole house, at the tap of a finger.

Straight away, you will be able to turn down your aircon or heating, control your TV or radio, switch on some lights on the landing, change the ambient level or colour of your lighting, or activate video surveillance in your hallway. You could do all of this remotely and, in theory, from anywhere in the world. You could even reduce your energy consumption with your smart home installation.

Setting up a smart home

As you embark on a journey in smart home design, you’ll definitely want to consider a central smart hub to help control the rest of your smart devices – and there’s nothing more Bond-like than being able to control your lights, climate and TV with your voice. So much so that you might find yourself ordering a black swivel chair and a white cat.

Right now, Amazon Echo and Google Home are the most compatible smart home speakers and installing advance controllers, like Brilliant Control and Atmos Control, allow you to manipulate your smart home from a panel on the wall.

Choose which smart speaker or advance controller you think is best for you and concentrate any subsequent buying decisions around compatibility with that device. Diligent research will produce the best results for your budget and exquisite taste, but we have some further ideas for you to look at.

What smart home devices should you consider?

As mentioned, Google Home and Amazon Alexa are very popular choices. The various items in their tech family all serve different purposes. From Google Minis to Echo Dots – these personal assistants can dim lights, play music on demand, or in the case of the Google Home Hubs, also stream YouTube videos and shuffle through your personal photo galleries.

If smart home security is your thing, Ring and Nest systems are two trusted brands with attractive options. Both offer tech which integrates security camera set-ups with smart doorbells, notifying you when someone is at your door. You can then speak to your visitor or tell them where to stash your parcel.

Climate control at your fingertips

If you like to control the temperature at home, then smart devices like the Nest family of products give you a thermostat, which will link up to all the other smart devices around your place. Adjust the temperature either from your sofa, or remotely so things are nice and toasty before you even cross over the welcome mat.

How to go about installing a smart home

There are two ways to think about how to install a smart home and the associated kit that goes in it. Firstly, a lot of it can be a DIY install. That’s to say, you could put in your own bits and bots and configure the smart phone apps yourself. Many people already do this with items like Ring doorbells or Hue lights; both connected to either smart phones or smart speakers, like Amazon Echo or Google Home.

Secondly, when you’re considering what a smart home installation may cost; remember you can go for a professional installation. If you’re looking at more elaborate and bespoke hardware and devices, you can pay extra to have pros come in and provide fit and finishing into your house.

Custom installs and systems will cost more, you could be looking at anything from £2000 to £150,000 – depending on the size of your house. There is a middle ground too. You might be using a handyperson to put in lights/speakers/switches and smart sensors – this again will vary on your abode and how much you are putting in. Best thing to do is draw up a budget or maybe plan your smart home in phases.

More advanced technology to put into your smart home

The amount of control you can take over your smart home is limited only by your imagination and budget. Here’s some other options to take advantage of the Internet of Things...

Smart blinds and lighting controls

You can bring out the best features of your architecture at home with the right lighting appearing at the right time. With professional installation, you can control and automate your blinds during the day to accentuate natural light. And at night, automated lighting and smart bulbs could give you full control over lighting scenes and combinations; all planned with options to preset and schedule. You can also save energy by having all lights turn off when you leave the room.

Music and entertainment

Have music piped all over your home. Use compatible smart speakers, and services such as Spotify or Deezer, to take songs with you all over the house. You could even control it all from one central point, should you wish.

Security and door entry

Guard your home electronically, with a smart home security system. From remotely controlled smart locks to CCTV security cameras and video doorbells, you can run your home security through apps on your phone.

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