Turning Your Home into a Smart Home

Every year, more of the technology we use finds a way to become smarter. From smart watches to smart TVs and light bulbs, the limits are constantly being pushed on our tech’s capabilities.

Smart homes technology is near the top of the list. A smart home is one with internet-connected technology used to manage the home. But as Hubspot noted, there’s a difference between a smart home system and smart home devices.

A system acts as a command center for different products. Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s HomeKit are well-known examples. Devices, however, report to systems. You can have smart devices such as thermostats, light bulbs and switches, security systems, refrigerators, televisions, and more in your home all reporting to one system.

Here are some insights to help you decide whether a smart home setup is right for you—and why fiber internet is the best option to keep it running smoothly.

Benefits of Bringing Smart Home Technology Through Your Front Door

Turning your home into a smart home can bring major benefits for your wallet, safety, and peace of mind. Here are the top three benefits of living in a smart home.

1 ) Save Money from Smarter Usage

Smart devices allow you to save in numerous ways. One way is through the ability to be more energy efficient. For example, if you work outside of your home, you can set a smart thermostat at a higher temperature when you’re at work. Then, you can set the temperature to cool to your preference by the time you get home. This can save hundreds on your utility bill with minimal effort.

Another way to save is through proactive maintenance. Many smart devices will let you know if there are any maintenance needs to take care of before an issue snowballs into higher costs. If, for example, your smart fridge has a cooling issue, you could fix it before it’s severe enough to ruin the food in your fridge and freezer.

2 ) Make Your Home a Safer Space

A popular smart home addition is a security system. These systems offer the expected capabilities like alerting authorities when an alarm is triggered and requiring access codes when the home is entered. But they also often come with WiFi cameras that can take security even further.

Smart home security cameras can show a live feed from inside your home, usually with an app that you can also use to control the system remotely. Some cameras also include a speaker that allows you to communicate with anyone in your home. This may come in handy if you’re telling someone that they’re being recorded or that the authorities are on the way.

3 ) Control Your Home Remotely

Smart home technology puts you in control, even when you’re not at home. Depending on your system, you can have app access that lets you control your connected devices. This could come in handy if you use smart devices like thermostats or lights with timer settings. If you unexpectedly need to run errands after work or even travel out of town, you can adjust your devices to make sure they’ll run optimally—or not at all—while you’re away.

Preparing for High-Bandwidth Needs

The number of smart home devices you can bring into your home is practically endless—but the bandwidth they’ll take up probably won’t be.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to determine the average bandwidth needed for smart homes. However, according to Internet Advisor, you can expect devices requiring a constant connection (like a baby monitor camera) to use more bandwidth than devices that are only active when they’re triggered by a command or movement (like a motion sensor).

Cameras in general will also require more bandwidth than other types of devices. Simplisafe, a home security system that offers WiFi cameras, suggests that your internet connection has an upload speed minimum of 2 megabits (mbps) per Simplisafe camera. Outside of camera use, Internet Advisor suggests that you need an additional 5 mbps in internet speeds in addition to what you normally use in your home for every 10-12 smart home devices you bring online.

If you’re worried you won’t have enough bandwidth for the devices you’re considering for your home, fiber internet may be your best bet. On average, fiber internet offers 250-1,000 mbps (up to one gigabit per second) upload and download speeds.

5 Tips for Transitioning to a Smart Home

With so many devices and systems to choose from, where should you start? No need to get overwhelmed. Here are five tips for starting your transition to a smart home.

1 ) Choose systems with lots of integration potential.

More well-known commercial systems such as those from Amazon, Google, and Apple are more likely to integrate with additional devices that you want to purchase. Choosing less popular systems might result in a home full of
disconnected devices requiring multiple apps and control centers to navigate.

2 ) Track bandwidth usage and internet speeds.

MUO provides step-by-step instructions to determine how much bandwidth the devices in your home are currently using. You can also use an online tool to test your upload and download speeds. Once you know this information, you
can determine if your current service will support the devices you want to bring home.

If you find your service to be lacking, check out one of Circle Fiber’s local service plans available across Southeast Missouri.

3 ) Start slow with purchases.

It’s easy to see the devices available and want to purchase the next big thing. Instead, think about what would help your home most. Is your thermostat running up your electric bill? Start there. Do you want the added security of having motion detection lighting in your home? Try smart light bulbs. Do you subscribe to multiple TV and movie apps? Consider a smart TV to access your subscriptions more easily.

4 ) Understand the pros and cons of devices.

For example, if you have larger pets like cats or dogs, they can set off the sensors in your smart home security system. Either be prepared to find a system that is pet-friendly, or learn common workarounds for the products you want.

5 ) Take note of your privacy concerns.

If, for example, you’re worried about a device listening to you when you don’t want it to, make sure to research how you’ll be able to pause listening. Know how the privacy controls work on your devices and how to use them.

Smart Homes: The Present and the Future

Smart home technology is growing in popularity, and smart devices are solving more challenges for users every day. From saving money to increasing security, smart home systems boast many benefits; deciding if this setup is right for you may not be a question of “if,” but “when.”

If you’re looking to turn your home into a smart home, make sure your internet service offers the bandwidth you’ll need to keep your devices operating without a hitch. If you want to future-proof your smart home investment with an internet solution that can accommodate a growing number of devices, see if your address falls in our Southeast Missouri coverage area.