Are you thinking of turning your home into a smart home? Then, you are in the right place!
Most people, just like you, do not know where to begin in this quest. They are overwhelmed by the number of smart home solutions out there.
When looking to turn your home into a smart home, you can typically go on different routes. The first one is a do-it-yourself route. In this route, you will buy all the various smart home devices, set them up, and connect them to different platforms. These platforms are Siri/HomeKit from Apple, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant.
The second way (and my most preferred one) is to use an integrator. Integrators are companies that make home automation platforms. These companies have global and regional partners that will come out and install a custom integrated smart home solution for you. Companies like BoardPAC, Zipato, and Specktron have partnered with Adrian Kenya to offer smart home solutions in Kenya.
Now that that’s out of the way let’s look at the steps in setting up a smart home in Kenya.
2. Choosing the core platform
The first part of transforming your home into a smart home is choosing which core platform to choose. The core platform is the central point of control for your smart home. All your smart devices will talk to this core platform. The main mainstream platforms to choose from are Amazon’s Alexa devices, Google’s Google Assistant devices, or Apple’s HomeKit enabled devices. The dominance of these platforms stems from the dominance of the voice assistant platforms.
Luckily, most smart home devices work with Google and Amazon’s platforms, and some devices work with Apple’s HomeKit. The alliance between these platforms, Connected Home Over Ip, wishes to come up with a common standard for the smart home. The Connected Home Over Ip project will make the smart home ecosystem less fragmented.
2. Types of devices
Now that you have decided on which type of core platform fits your needs, it is time to talk about the devices that make your home a smart home.
You can categorize different devices into several categories, from music, lighting, media, appliances, security, and climate.
a. Music and Media
For music, the whole home audio feature allows you to play different music in different parts of the house. This feature makes this possible through the voice assistant function.
Your smart home core platform makes it possible for you to control your media rooms. Usually, this involves controlling your smart TV and other linked speakers, along with the lighting in your media room. The best integration with your TV right now comes from Google and Amazon. These companies sell devices that control your TV- turn it on and off with an assistant and deliver content from other major streaming platforms.
b. Smart Lighting
The smart lighting category is exciting because neither Apple, Google or Amazon make their intelligent lights. There are two approaches to making smart lighting in your home. You can either make the bulb smart or make the switch smart. You can also use a combination of these two methods because some light fixtures are not going to have a smart bulb that is equivalent to the light fixture. Some of the significant intelligent light manufactures are Ikea, Philips, GE, and Eufy. These manufactures produce LED bulbs that are grouped into:
- Plain white
- Multicoloured and
- Bulbs that change from daylight to warm white.
The LED bulbs connect through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Consequently, some bulbs require a hub to connect to the Wi-FI router.
Smart lights save you a lot of steps in the house and time.
For smart light switches, they connect to the smart home’s Wi-Fi network and substitute for your existing wall switch. This replacement allows you to control the lights with a switch, smart assistant and or a phone application.
c. Climate Control
In climate control, we are going to focus on smart thermostats.
Smart thermostats are Wi-Fi connected and are controlled by smart assistants. Some smart thermostats are programmable like the traditional thermostats with weekly schedules while others can learn with your usage patterns and use AI to predict your temperature preference.
d. Smart Homes Security System
Home security has been around for a moment.
Different brands give a different type of experience to their customers. These brands allow customers to place base stations, cameras, sensors, and other equipment anywhere in their homes. Fortunately, all these brands offer monitoring services though optional.
With this feature, the type of devices offered are very similar. These devices have a home base, door and window sensors, cameras, motion sensors, smart doorbells, smart locks, and a key fob to disarm the system.
Some of these services also provide water leak and smoke detection. Smart home security systems are not only keeping your home safe from thieves but also safe from other issues.
e. Appliances and Accessories
The central concept is that accessories and appliances are smart devices. These home appliances can be washing machines, stoves, and refrigerators.
Some home accessories like robot vacuum cleaners, smart blinds, and smart plugs can connect to the smart home core platform. Most of these smart accessories are relatively cheap.
Smart home devices have the power to change your home for the better.