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Make Your House the Smartest House on the Block

Sep 11, 2018 - Posted by: Rocky Mountain Credit Union

We already use the internet to connect our smartphones, computers, and tablets. Take it one step further and think about using the internet to connect to your home. Imagine the possibilities! Your doorbell, window blinds, appliances, and security cameras could all be connected and even have the ability to send you specific information and follow commands sent by you.

Busy at the office or just with life? You no longer have to rush home to take care of your pets or unlock the doors for the babysitter. With a single click of a connected button, you can fill young Fido’s dish for dinner and rest easy knowing he is fed and is happy. 

Where to Start When You Want to Start Your Smart House Journey

Does it seem that just about everyone you know has gotten a voice assistant smart home device (the technical name for the small speaker you talk to and responds back) in the last couple of years? It was just 2015 when these devices first appeared, but they certainly took off! VoiceLabs estimates that by the end of 2017, there were 33 million voice assistant devices in use.

Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are battling it out to determine who will be the leader. Samsung is starting to gain some market share and there will be more players as time continues. This means you will need to spend more time researching the options. When doing your research, consider your budget, time, and what features you want your smart home to have. The reviews and information at the-ambient.com are thorough and don't include the industry jargon that goes with this fast-changing technology.

Is There an Easy Way to Get Smart?

Make Mr. Edison proud and start with the light bulb. You can control your lights from your smartphone or other device and make sure that your lights are on awaiting your return from work or the vacation you just went on. The lights will be on and waiting for you to come home or on and keeping the burglars away.

We know what you are thinking: "My parents set up timers on their lights for vacations and did just fine." You're not wrong in thinking this, but we are here to tell you "that was then and this is now." The smart lights of today are LED, controlled by your smartphone, and will save you money. Purchase some bulbs and a bridge that will connect to your router and enjoy the journey into the 21st smart house century. Try and pick light bulbs that are compatible with the smart home system you have or are thinking of buying. If you are looking for some recommendations, check out these reviews with prices that range from $32 -$70. 

If you have been monitoring what goes on in the baby’s room or using a webcam to watch your windows or front door then you have already taken the first steps to make your home smart. There are plenty of security cameras on the market that can help you monitor your house. The better ones are motion sensitive and have night vision. And some even let you connect to the cloud for easy data storage. Exterior cameras cost a bit more. You will need to think about whether you want the outside and inside cameras connected or if you are happy with a little less technology. The nice thing about these smart technologies is that you can control them with your smartphone. Security cameras are no different. With your smartphone connected to your cameras, you can see what is happening both inside and out. We found some camera reviews with prices and explanations to help you with your decision.

Was That the Doorbell?

The convenience of having a package delivered to your doorstep has become more of a complication because of the people who steal those same packages - sometimes within minutes of delivery. A video doorbell can save you the hassle of losing your package because it records exactly who comes to your doorstep. Another awesome reason to have a video doorbell is to greet visitors to your house, even if you are not there. You can see your neighbor that is coming over for coffee and even use the two-way speaker to let them know that you are stuck in traffic but will be home soon. If you are looking for a review of smart video doorbells, we've got you covered! 

Control the blinds, lock the doors, and have the robot vacuum cleaner start and finish vacuuming before you get home. These are just a few more examples of the many smart home choices you have. If you have several items being controlled by individual apps on your smartphone it may be time to think about a smart home speaker.  This option lets you knit those apps together. Doing so means all of these different pieces can be networked together and controlled from a central point.

How to Keep It Budget Friendly

Just like with any technology, it is easy to spend more money than you have. But it IS possible to start your smart house on a budget. With a smart plug, a device to stream music, a light bulb starter kit, and a smart speaker you are on your way to your dream smart house. If you are looking for more guidance, Jake from The Verge teaches you how you can start a smart house with a $200 budget.

When you and your budget are ready, there are always more smart items to add. If you have been thinking that there must be a way to get some help in the kitchen or that the grass still needs mowing, you could be on to something. PC Magazine covers ways to bring smart house technology into the kitchen, help with outdoor chores, and adjust your mattress for better sleep.

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