We’re living in a brave new world of technological advances, where connected cars and automated homes are no long space age dreams, but are becoming a reality for the average consumer. And while many people are content to wait for automotive options to become standard, or to allow carmakers to offer add-ons to base models, you can’t really take the same tactic where your home is concerned. If you want automated features in your house, you’re going to have to add them yourself, unless you’re ready to upgrade to a newer home that features modern construction and amenities. Here are a few pointers to help you get started with automating your home.
- Consider what you want to control. There are a wide variety of household systems you can automate these days, from your lighting and appliances to your thermostat and security alarm. Pretty much anything electronic could potentially become part of an automated system that you control with your computer or a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet. It’s just a matter of purchasing the right equipment and finding appropriate programs and apps to control them. So think about what you want to automate before you start cobbling together pieces. You might be able to find a company or a program that can give you everything you want in a single automated system.
- There’s more to an automated home than simply using your smartphone as a remote light switch. You can also use this system to monitor your home. If you have webcams installed, for example, you can receive alerts when doors are opened or motion is detected in your house. You can also keep track of energy usage and adjust your thermostat and other electronics to cut waste. And in some cases, you can avert disaster by turning off appliances you accidentally left on or contacting authorities when fire, flood, or home invasion incidents are detected in your absence.
- Many automated systems not only allow for monitoring and adjustment, but also have options for you to set your preferences. This will depend somewhat on the equipment and software you select, but you could set up your home so that the thermostat adjusts when you leave the house (to save energy), or so that your lighting preferences kick in when the home senses your smartphone in proximity (as in when you arrive home from work). You could set door locks to open when they sense the presence of your kids’ smartphones, alleviating the need for keys. There are all kinds of options for presets that you should look into when choosing products.
- Hardware and software. It’s hard to know what you’re looking for when you’re not entirely sure what options are out there for automated home systems. So it’s in your best interest to shop around and understand the hardware and software available on the consumer market.
- Professional products and installation. You can definitely tackle home automation on your own – there are plenty of products and apps to help you make your own solutions. But if you’re skeptical about your ability to get what you want on your own, consider hiring a company like Piper to set up the automated features you prefer.