What is a smart home? Its pretty much a home that is networked, meaning you can have all sorts of devices connected to the internet.  Years ago I always wanted a fridge where you write down what you need at a grocery store on a screen and when your ready all you have to do is hit send and then pick it up. Samsung now has something like that.

Any device in your home that uses electricity can be put on your home network. You can command by voice, remote control, tablet or smartphone, and the home reacts. Most applications relate to lighting, home security, home theater and entertainment, and thermostat use. The Internet of Things or IoT refers to the objects and products that are connected to the internet. These products are getting bigger and better every day. All of the electronics in your home can be controlled with an app either wireless or plugged and signals can be sent through your existing electrical wires.

That all started in 1975 with a system called the X-10 that used the existing wiring of a home. The limitations of the X-10 is it can get interference while the devices are “talking to one another”.While X-10 devices are still around, other technologies have emerged that work better. Instead of going through the power lines, most systems use radio waves to communicate. Some of the most common networks in home automation are Insteon, ZigBee, and Z-Wave.  Wireless devices provides more flexibility for placement, but like electrical lines, they might have interference.

Insteon offers a way for your home network to communicate over both electrical wires and radio waves, making it a dual band network. Insteon also works by sending a signal out to all the devices hooked up to the hub and they also send out the signal to make sure the device it was intended for picks it up. So actually the more devices you connect the better the system will work.

Before buying anything, check to see what technology is associated with the product. Products using the same technology or frequencies should work together despite different manufacturers.

Home automation systems have kind of struggled to find people interested in them partly because there are many different brands and devices that people feel overwhelmed at the process. That’s because there is still no standard system for automating all of these gadgets. Without such a standard, many people are left wondering if they’re spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on products that will end up obsolete or unusable in the future. To make sure you don`t become overwhelmed in the process, just buy a few smart devices and work with them and become familiar with them before adding on more.

There are all sorts of devices you can hook up and they can work together to make your life simpler, safer, and save you money as well. Just some of these are lights and appliances, your home sound system, thermostats and carbon monoxide detectors, security sensors and cameras, and door locks. How awesome would it be to get a text and a photo or video when your child comes home from school or just  whenever the door opens for that matter. Or think of the money you can save by keeping your heat or AC low during the day, and when you leave work you could turn it back on as well as the lights and even some music to greet you as you walk in the door (having a drink ready is something they need to work on).

One thing you absolutely need to do once you start building your setup is create or change the password so people cant hack your system. First make sure your router is password protected, then see which products need a password as well.

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