Technology for the home used to mean a high-speed internet connection, energy-efficient appliances, and maybe a smart TV. Wiring a few rooms for surround sound was a big deal. Now people want the conveniences that come with a more complete home tech experience.
As average lifestyle demands increase and houses transform into more than places to live, technology is facilitating these changes. Appliances can create shopping lists and help manage home food supplies. Thermostats adjust temperatures according to how residents use their homes. Smart locks let guests in with codes instead of keys. And you don’t have to rely on neighbors to watch your place while you’re away.
The number of ways to improve your home’s tech might seem endless, but it all starts with enhanced Wi-Fi. Internet connectivity that works in smarter ways is the first thing you’ll want to consider when making upgrades. Once you’ve accomplished that, you can start to think about which types of smart devices will benefit you the most.
1. Upgrade to Smart Wi-Fi
When smart devices can’t maintain a Wi-Fi connection, you lose many or all of their “smart” features. Adding more appliances and gadgets that require internet connectivity can start to slow things down. You might notice random disconnects and delayed response times. Devices located farther away from your modem could have the same symptoms or not connect at all.
You could buy a signal booster or pay your ISP for additional bandwidth to support your smart home technology. But these types of solutions are temporary and don’t address all of the problem’s root causes. Adaptive Wi-Fi, in contrast, adjusts to your behaviors and the network demands of each of your smart devices.
With adaptive Wi-Fi, the computer and smart lighting system in your home office will get more bandwidth when you’re working. When it’s time to relax, the system will devote capacity to the devices in the living room. Adaptive Wi-Fi systems like Plume HomePass will quickly learn how you use your home’s internet-capable devices, making further adjustments if your behaviors change.
These systems also give you the ability to manage connected devices. You’ll see each one that’s on your Wi-Fi network and have the ability to disconnect those you don’t recognize. With device management features, you can even prevent unauthorized connections. Of course, you’ll need to know the MAC addresses of your devices so the adaptive Wi-Fi software knows which ones can connect.
Other features of adaptive Wi-Fi systems include enhanced cybersecurity and motion detection. Using the connected devices already in your home, the software can alert you to unexpected movements in your residence. You’ll be able to manage visitors’ network access and which devices they can use to go online.
From an app, you can activate parental controls and see reports about the time spent on different digital activities. The software also lets you view the signal strengths and internet speeds in each room. This way, you can determine whether additional pods or access points are necessary.
2. Improve Your Home’s Efficiency
Paying utilities is something nearly everyone has to do. Even if some of them are included in your rent or homeowners association fees, you’re still bearing the expense. Homeowners, in particular, can benefit from reduced electric and gas bills with smart thermostats. If they have in-ground sprinkler systems, smart controllers can help reduce their water bills during warmer months.
Recent research about smart devices found that 54% of U.S. homes now use at least one smart home device. Twenty-one percent of surveyed households use a smart thermostat, for example, while 4% use a smart irrigation controller.
You might think a smart thermostat and irrigation controller can’t save you much more than their programmable versions. This, however, isn’t always the case. Your home’s HVAC system is usually responsible for the bulk of your electric and gas bills. Larger homes with higher average cooling and heating needs can benefit more from smart thermostats than programmable ones.
The same applies to residences that sit empty during the day or for longer periods. Homeowners in these situations can save around $100 each year if the smart thermostat is also Energy Star certified. Smart thermostats learn when you’re home, the times you leave, and which areas of your residence require more heating or cooling. Temperatures can adjust accordingly within an acceptable range instead of being stuck to one during pre-programmed intervals.
In a similar way, smart irrigation controllers can adjust the amount of water your sprinkler system uses. The controller automatically monitors weather conditions and the amount of moisture in the soil. If it starts raining, the controller will shut off your sprinklers so you won’t waste water. And you won’t have to guess whether you’re watering too much or not enough.
3. Manage Security for Your Residence
Interactive do-it-yourself security systems, smart light bulbs and locks, and Wi-Fi-connected smoke detectors can help you monitor your home. When you’re not there, you can use an app to see indoor and outdoor camera views. With interactive security systems, you can set alerts so you’ll know about questionable activities. The software that comes with these systems can also record videos or capture photos as evidence.
For example, you can set up an alert for cars or people that linger in front of your home. Some apps are sophisticated enough to allow you to filter out mail and package deliveries. You can also set up separate alerts when your doorbell rings to see whether the person is a solicitor. If you’re home, alerts like these can save you from unwanted conversations.
Smart light bulbs and locks can protect the exterior of your home and offer additional safety. You can program exterior lights to automatically turn on and off according to the amount of sunlight. Lighting within your home can go on and off, giving others the impression you’re home. This capability is also convenient if you want a foyer or entryway light on when you come home at night.
Locks connected to your Wi-Fi network let you control access to your home without worrying about lost keys. If you’ve hired a house cleaner or dog walker, you can create a code so they can get in. Some smart locks let you activate codes during certain times of the day or manipulate access from an app. This can be helpful in emergencies when you’re miles away.
Smart smoke detectors can alert you about urgent problems at your residence when you’re not there. If a fire starts, you can contact authorities, neighbors, or friends to handle the issue before it gets worse. Smart smoke detectors also alert you about fires faster since these devices sense room temperature changes.
Technology for the home has come a long way with the acceleration of smart devices and appliances. Adoption rates continue to increase, as many households desire the added conveniences smart devices can bring. As you smarten your home, enhanced Wi-Fi, improved energy efficiency, and superior security management are some of the top things to consider.