Great Thoughts on Smart Home Devices
One way to build out a smart home is to buy lots of components—sensors, smart bulbs, security cameras, speakers, and whatnot—and connect them all to a hub that helps them communicate with each other and with you, via your smartphone. But let’s be real: That can involve spending a lot of money and investing a lot of time. And for some people, it’s just overkill. If your wants and needs are simpler, just a few relatively inexpensive products will deliver most of the conveniences a high-end smart home can deliver, and on a much more modest budget.
And if you make sure those products are compatible with each other, you’ll build a solid foundation that you can expand over time. The key is knowing which smart home products don’t depend on a smart home hub to operate. While hubs offer advantages—the most important of which is having a single user interface to control everything—they’re not always essential. One thing you must have, however, is a good wireless router—ideally one that can reach all corners of your home.
Smart Home lighting
For most people interested in living in a smart home, lighting is the entry point. Many smart lighting systems work perfectly well without a central hub and are still capable of interacting with other smart home elements. Bulbs from Cree, LIFX, and TP-Link, for example, communicate over Wi-Fi, while some others—including the newest Philips Hue bulbs—communicate via the Bluetooth radio in your smartphone.
If most of your home’s lighting is in the ceiling and controlled by a switch on the wall, you might be better served by replacing those dumb switches with smart switches and dimmers, instead. That’s because a smart bulb becomes dumb the instant you turn off the switch controlling it. Leviton, Lutron, TP-Link, Ecobee, and other manufacturers make smart light switches that operate on your Wi-Fi network and don’t require a central hub. Check out Noon Home’s system for a super sophisticated, but relatively expensive, lighting control system.
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