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Published: Jul 10, 2024 6 min read

Smart home technology has become an increasingly popular topic for those who want to improve their home security in a streamlined way. Smart home integration can simplify your home life by allowing you to control multiple appliances at once through your smartphone or a central hub.

However, setting up a smart home may be cumbersome and not all smart appliances are compatible. Here are some tips and tricks to help you set up a smart home in an efficient way.

For more tips on smart home security, check out our list of the best home security systems.

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What is a smart home?

In the simplest terms, a smart home contains appliances that can be controlled remotely, usually through a smartphone or a central hub. The term “smart home” is a catch-all to describe a system of interconnected smart home devices that can be controlled by wireless radio signals.

Although the most common method of controlling these devices is through Wi-Fi, home automation devices do not exclusively use the internet as a way to connect to each other. Connected devices that exchange data in this way (whether directly connected through the internet or not) are considered part of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Steps to setting up a smart home

Below, we outline a few steps to get your smart home up and running.

Choose your ecosystem

A smart home system is the framework by which your appliances interact. Users can wirelessly operate their smart appliances and have them interact with each other through a smart ecosystem’s home assistant.

The most popular smart home ecosystems are Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit. Which one benefits you the most depends on the hardware you already own and what you want to accomplish with your network of smart devices.

Apple HomeKit

If you already own multiple Apple products, investing in Apple HomeKit is a no-brainer. While it’s the most restrictive option and doesn’t support as many devices, it is tailor made for its own hardware. Apple devices such as iPhones also collect the minimum amount of data required to provide its services— a plus for those concerned about cybersecurity issues.

Google Home

Formerly known as Google Nest, Google Home’s voice-operated virtual assistant software is among the best on the market. Called simply Google Assistant, it can engage in two-way conversations and has AI integration.

This, combined with the flexibility of the Android framework makes Google Home the best option for those who already own Android-based devices, which is about 46% of the mobile smartphone market in the US.

Amazon Alexa

Although Android and Apple make up the majority of the mobile landscape, Amazon Alexa is the smart ecosystem with the widest range of available options. Alexa offers a robust framework powered by the strength and ease of the Amazon marketplace and is compatible with smart lights, smart speakers, smart locks and security cameras, among other devices.

Decide if you want a hub

One of the most important things to consider when setting up a smart home is deciding the scope of your setup. Although you can use your smartphone to control your smart devices through voice commands, smart home hubs facilitate the process by having a dedicated device that can help control your gadgets and help them interact with each other.

Become acquainted with smart home standards

Smart home standards are what connect your smart devices to each other. Traditionally, these standards have varied across competitors, but Matter has recently become an open-source smart home standard that has overwhelming support from industry leaders, including Apple, Google and Amazon.

While most users might not pay attention to the underlying technology that is connecting their devices, Matter allows your devices from multiple providers to seamlessly interact with each other, ensuring a better user experience.

Arrange your devices carefully

It’s important to test your devices in each space before deciding to leave them there permanently. Check if your Wi-Fi network and bluetooth connectivity are effective in the spot you have decided to place the device. Smart plugs, smart thermostats, your Wi-Fi router and other similar devices should be placed in a central location, along with your hub (if you have one).

Finally, make sure you label each smart device something you will remember, since voice commands can be finicky if you don’t say a device’s name clearly. Consistent labeling and grouping can also help with routines in your home network, such as turning on all the smart lights in a particular room or automatically activating motion sensors after going to bed.

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