Homes are getting smarter and smarter every day, which means the life of a homeowner is getting more connected and convenient every day, too.
From smart thermostats to fully automated lighting systems — and everything in between — there’s a lot of technology out there that you can get your hands on. So much, in fact, that it can be a bit overwhelming knowing which devices and platforms are right for you.
If you’re checking out everything that’s new in the world of smart homes and need help deciding where to go next, follow the simple steps below. They’ll help make the decision process easier and, in all likelihood, more affordable, too.
Decide What Features You Really Want
One of the best ways to narrow down your options is to decide what kind of smart home features you want in your home.
Do you want to control your thermostat from afar? Is lighting control something that you want to integrate into your system? Are you looking specifically for home security features?
Don’t feel like you have to get everything all at once, either. One of the best things about the growing smart home industry is the fact that companies like Honeywell, Nest and countless others are constantly growing their platforms so that you can add new products when you’re ready.
Choose the Ideal Ecosystem
The big technology companies, including Google, Amazon, Apple and even Microsoft have entered the smart home arena. More than just building the smart home devices, however, these companies are creating the digital ecosystems that tie everything together.
Each ecosystem has its own benefits, and you’ll find plenty of articles online highlighting the pros and cons of them all. But the decision for whether you’re going to use Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Amazon Alexa or something else entirely really comes down to personal preference.
If you’re struggling with picking the right platform to use, thinking about what services you already use (Google email, Amazon shopping, Apple iTunes services, etc.) can definitely help. Each company’s platform ties into their existing services seamlessly, so it can make for a smoother transition and faster setup in the end.
Ensure Device Compatibility
If you have a specific smart home device in mind, you’ll want to be sure it works with any devices you’ll be using to control it, as well as any home appliances you plan on attaching it to. Be sure to read the details about what sorts of device or appliance compatibility is offered, and only use the technology you know will work in your home.
Read the Reviews
This one goes without saying, but it’s good to do your homework before you make any purchase decisions one way or the other.
There are a lot of cool products coming out on a regular basis, and it’s easy to get caught up in the hype. Be sure to check out professional review sites such as CNET, PC Magazine, etc., to get the expert’s opinion on any devices out there. More importantly, however, are user reviews, which will tell you what it’s like to set up, use and troubleshoot any issues from the perspective of homeowners just like you.
Consider Built-In Options
If you’re in the market for a new home but want to make sure it has some smart features built in, you’ll be glad to know that some of the area’s top builders have you covered.
Brookfield Residential has partnered with Amazon to bring new home shoppers The Smart Home packages throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Powered by the Alexa platform, this groundbreaking program lets homeowners voice-automated control throughout their homes, so things like home security, temperature, lighting, entertainment and more are easier and more interactive than ever.
Winchester Homes also touts an all-inclusive smart home package with homes in select communities. Under the name HomeSmart, this Winchester initiative helps homeowners stay comfortable and in control from wherever they are. HomeSmart homes are also prewired for a central wireless access point to ensure all your smart devices always have a strong signal to connect to.
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