A Smart Home makes all the devices in your life work together. Not just your smartphone and computer, but everything: thermostats, lights, appliances, entertainment systems, clocks, windows, security sensors, cooking utensils, you name it. And what if these devices could understand each other and work together to make your home the most comfortable it has ever been?
A Smart Home thinks the way you do. It understands which lights to turn on, and when. Which music to play and your preferred room temperature for different times of the day. Your smart home knows whether it’s morning or evening, and acts accordingly. It knows when you’re at work, watching a movie or having guests over. It reminds you to take your keys when you’re leaving, and turns on your alarm system and adjusts the thermostat when nobody is home.
It gives you access to all the devices in your home from a mobile device anywhere in the world. Remote controls are something of the past. A smart home is a place in which nearly everything works together, so you can enjoy a home that is just as smart as you are.
In this day and age, a smart home is within everyone’s reach. Each day new applications and smart products are introduced to the smart home market. The big advantage being that everything can be updated wirelessly, so that you, the user, have the freedom to expand your smart home accordingly. How great is it to come home and your favourite music starts playing? How nice would it be to wake up to the smell of fresh coffee while your blinds slowly let in the first rays of sunlight? Imagine the peace of mind you’d have when there’s a detailed overview of what’s happening in- and outside your home at all times?
There are many different smart home products, and different ways of letting them work together. Here’s a rundown of how to make your house the smartest on the block. You will wonder how you ever lived without it!
Until recently, smart homes were considered a luxury. It was somewhat limited to only lighting and climate systems. This type of automation rarely provided more than basic control, monitoring and scheduling functions, and was accessible only to those who would understand it.
Those days are long gone. Many manufacturers, tech giants and innovative start-ups alike, took the reigns of the smart home market. In recent years, devices such as smart lights were introduced to consumers. Then came colour changing lights. Then came security systems. Then came smart thermostats. And then the next development, and the next product. What is left is a vast amount of great devices that allow consumers to separately control things in their homes.
But that’s not smart, is it? This isn’t the smart home in which devices can communicate with each other, send you information or take your commands. Remote controls to turn on devices have been around for years, now they are just moved to your smartphone. And nobody wants to install an ever expanding amount of applications on their smartphones to control all these different products and brands.
That’s where Homey comes in.
The fact that there are so many different brands and products out there is great. It stimulates companies to make even better products, and it offers consumers a great deal of freedom when it comes to deciding what devices they want to purchase.
However, this also has a downside. Manufacturers have produced a wide variety of “smart” devices, many of which are full of great features but few of which offer the kind of integration needed to be part of a complete smart home system. You see, each manufacturer has a different idea of how these devices should be connected and controlled. Often consumers end up with a wide array of various smart devices, resulting in a separate control scheme for each device.
Your smart lamp might communicate through a smart home technology, such as Z-Wave, whereas your sound system communicates via Wi-Fi. If this is the case, forget about automatically switching the mood when the music starts playing.
A smart home hub, such as Homey, combines all the different wireless technologies out there and makes your devices work together. This takes away a great deal of frustration on the consumer’s end.
It combines devices from different manufacturers, brands and technologies into a single system. This means one single Smart Home App to control everything. One system you can create all your smart scenarios in. Also, you no longer have to limit your future purchases to the brands or technologies you already own. Smart home systems offer you all the freedom in the world. In some sense, you regain control over your own situation and desires.
Everyone has their own idea of a perfect morning routine. Some people love waking up to their favourite music, others want to listen to the news during their breakfast. A smart home offers users the possibility to make their devices act just the way they like, regardless of brands and technologies. Create smart schedules for your devices, and let devices react upon each other.
The way you use your smart home devices likely differs a lot from the way somebody else might uses them. You also might be interested in entirely different scenario’s, compared to the smart scenario’s somebody else might be interested in. Therefore it’s wise to start out by deciding what you want to accomplish. Start from the ground up. Think of a use case you would love to have. Then, figure out the devices you need.
For example, your morning routine. Let’s say you want to wake up to your favourite playlist, while the sun slowly starts to shine down upon your face. All the while your kettle starts boiling water for tea. For this particular use case, you can set an alarm clock to put your smart home devices to work.
In this particular case, you’d need:
And here is the best part: because Homey combines that much technologies, you don’t have to be brand aware, nor technology aware. Homey connects all wireless smart home technologies from all smart home brands. Just connect the devices to Homey, and all your smart use cases can become reality. And with a smart home hub such as Homey, they’re incredibly easy to set-up and automate.
We’ve talked about a variety of smart home devices. And there are literally thousands of different products out there. It might be overwhelming to get into, so let’s break down the different smart devices out there.
Possibly one of the most popular and common smart home devices.
Smart lights come in all different shapes and sizes. The most common ones are screw-in lightbulbs (E27) and light spots (GU10). Screw-in lightbulbs are particularly handy as your ordinary bulb. Some of them, like Philips Hue Colour Bulbs, can change their colours to your liking. These colour bulbs usually are more expensive than their non-colour changing counterparts, called Dimmable or Tunable bulbs. Dimmable bulbs can dim from very bright white or yellow light, to a softer tone.
Like screw-in lightbulbs, light spots are also available in both colour-changing, and ‘regular’ dimmable variants. Like ordinary spots, these are a great choice for lighting up your bathroom, for instance.
Sensors are already a big part of our lives, whether you know it or not. Your mind probably drifts towards security, when you think of them. After all, it’s the situation which we’re most familiar with them. And you’d be right. A lot of smart alarms rely on them, and you can make some powerful security scenarios with just a motion detector and Homey.
However, sensors have many more uses. It’s used in simple mechanisms like sinks at public bathrooms. You know, those taps that automatically turn on when they detect your hands moving towards it? That’s a motion sensor in action.
The most popular sensors in smart home are motion sensors and contact sensors, or door/window sensors. When used in combination with a smart home hub such as Homey, they can set scenario’s into motion or turn devices on and off. Motion sensors do so by detecting motion, making them a great addition to your home security.
Contact sensors do so by detecting whether a door or a window is open or closed. That way the sensor can kick-start a sequence to greet you when you get home, have Homey send you an alert when you left the door open, or activate alarms. Some of these contact sensors have built-in temperature meters, making them ideal for automatically adjusting your thermostat when a room gets too warm.
A smart home wouldn’t be complete without smart climate control. A few years ago smart thermostats have made their entrace onto the market, providing everyone with the added comfort of regulated heating that suits you and your family. The best part? Smart thermostats have proven themselves to be of great help when it comes to saving energy.
If you want to go even deeper, or if you don’t have a centralized heating system in your home, consider radiator valves. These devices are easily mounted ontop of your current radiator valve, and allow users to set the temperature to their liking. Or, with the help of Homey, create an advanced heating schedule based on your presence, time of day and/or the season. Everything’s possible!
Smart Home devices intended for entertainment make up a big portion of the market. Wirelessly controlled sound systems, Smart TV’s, you name it. Connect them to Homey, and change your home into a smart home cinema with one action.
Within smart home, the smallest appliances can have the biggest impact. Smart locks, smart doorbells, weather stations, various sensors, smart sockets, keyfobs & remotes. They’re all there to help you manage your home, report when something is out of the ordinary, or set off some really cool smart home usecases.
The past few years, manufacturers have made more and more ‘smarter’ appliances. From dishwashers to vacuum cleaners to solar panels. These devices can be connected to Homey, to help you create some really handy scenario's.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s see how you can get your smart home to work with Home Automation!