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2023-06-14 19:34:08

How to Start a Smart Home in 2021

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When it comes to building a smart home in 2021 there are now more options than ever before .

So in this video , I'm gonna walk you through how to go about building a smart home .

What's new in the world of smart home tech for 2021 .

And then ultimately my recommendations on some of the best platforms and services to use to build a smart home .

So let's dive in .

And the first thing that we need to talk about is the first step that you take when deciding to build a smart home , which is what platform you're going to use to run all of your smart home devices .

There are two main directions to go here .

The first is you can go with an integrated solution from a company who will come in and install everything for you and give you the platform that everything runs on .

Some of the more popular platform companies like this will use control four Savant and Crest , which all mainly target the luxury home market .

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The second option is to set up a smart home yourself by using platforms like the Google assistant , Amazon's assistant Apple's home kit Samsung , smart things , wink and then other smaller platforms like the open source home assistant platform , which is mainly targeted to people who are very tech savvy and like to tinker a lot with their home electronics .

Now , the big three platforms right now in my book are Amazon's assistant , Apple's home kit and the Google Assistant .

And the reason I picked these three is because each of them contain a pretty powerful smart assistant .

Now , why is having a smart assistant so important in your smart home platform ?

Well , aside from making it feel like you live on the starship enterprise , having a smart assistant being able to control all of your smart home devices is super convenient .

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So for example , you don't have to carry your phone around with you everywhere you go to control the lights or other devices and you don't have to walk up to a specific display like on a thermostat or another third party screen to control all of your devices , you can control them from wherever you are in your home by just using your voice .

Now , with quite a few options , you may be asking yourself , do I have to choose just one assistant platform or could I use multiple ones ?

You can use more than one assistant in your home ?

You'll just need to make sure that the assistance that you are using can control all of your smart home devices because not all smart devices can be controlled by the big three assistant platforms .

The reason not all devices work on each of the big three platforms is historically , the platforms have had different standards for how to communicate with them .

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And Apple has usually in the stickler for requiring specific hardware requirements for devices to work with their home kit platform , which is why it's common for more devices to work with the Google Assistant or Amazon Assistant , but not with home kit .

Apple has relaxed some of the hardware requirements for home kit devices .

So hopefully that will open it up to more smart home devices out there .

Plus Amazon Apple , Google and the Zig Alliance have all decided to come together and form a working group called project connected home over IP , which plans to develop and promote the adoption of new royalty free connectivity standards for smart home products that put security as a fundamental design tenant .

So what does this mean for you as a user ?

Well as time goes on and you buy new smart home devices , those smart home devices should work with all of the major platforms out there because these platforms have joined together and agreed upon universal communication standards for smart home devices .

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Now , what is zig B ?

You may ask with smart home devices , there are actually several different technologies at play depending on the smart devices you use , some devices will use Wi Fi or Bluetooth , which you've probably heard of .

While others rely on zig B Z wave or threat zig B is probably the most popular one of these out there .

So I'll use that for my example .

Now , in simple terms , these are local mesh networks that typically consist of a hub that is directly wired into your router .

And your device is you can think of them like their Daisy chain together .

So for example , when your zig B hub sends out a signal to one zig B device , that device will then carry on that signal to all of the other Zig B devices in your network .

The benefit of these types of systems is they typically have more range than a wifi network with one router .

The only downside is you'll need to have a hub to control your Zig B or other similar type of network .

And sometimes different smart devices will require different hubs .

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For example , in my home , I lose smart blinds are connected directly to the Tron hub which is wired into the router .

And my Phillips hu lights are connected to my Phillips Hue bridge , which is a hub that is also connected into my router .

Now , recently , with the popularity of smart assistant platforms like the Google Assistant , Amazon's assistant and Apple's home kit hubs have become more and more unnecessary to control your smart home devices because many of the devices today will just directly connect to your wifi network .

With the only downside being when your wifi goes down , you'll lose the ability to be able to control your smart home devices for the everyday consumer .

I don't think you're going to need to worry about whether or not your smart home device uses zig B bluetooth or wifi for most consumers .

The simple thing to do is to decide on the platform that you want to run your smart devices on and then buy smart devices that are certified to work with that platform .

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Now , if you're the type of consumer that likes to tinker with technology or you just want more control over your smart home , then yes , I do think you should pay more attention to the technology that your smart home devices are using right now that we've gone through the different platforms and the different types of technologies used in smart home setups .

Let's talk about what types of smart home devices you can use in your home in general .

I break it down into these categories , music , media , lighting , climate , security and appliances .

First , let's look at music with whole home audio .

This type of functionality allows you to play music in media throughout your home .

Typically using smart speakers that run voice assistant and you do have quite a few options here .

Amazon Apple and Google , all make their own smart speakers that will play various music streaming services natively on the speaker itself .

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There are also third party speaker systems you can buy from companies like Sonos and bows that can work with all three companies platforms , some bows and sona speakers will even allow you to have Alexa and the Google Assistant directly on their speakers .

We've done reviews on quite a few smart speakers including the Google Nest mini nest hub , nest hub max Nest audio Google Home Max Amazon echo .

Amazon echo dot and the homepod mini , the Google Nest hub and Amazon Echo show have the added benefit of having a screen on them which makes controlling your media as well as other smart home devices .

Even easier if you're interested in learning more about any of these devices , I'll leave links to videos that we've done on them in the video description below .

Next , let's take a look at how to control media rooms within your smart home .

Now , typically this involves controlling a TV or projector associated speakers and then the lighting of your media room .

But we'll get to lighting in just a second .

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Right now , Apple Amazon and Google make the best TV streaming devices that will enable you to turn on and off your TV and related devices with an assistant .

They all deliver content from major streaming services and some can support the latest formats like four K H D R with Dolby vision and Dolby , Atmos , Google and Amazon's devices are typically around 30 to $70 while the Apple TV , four K runs a bit more at $179 the chromecast with Google TV , and Apple TV in particular , make it really easy to stream content from your devices directly to the TV .

By using either Apple's airplay or Google's casting feature .

Personally , I use both the Apple TV and the chromecast with Google TV .

And I love being able to ask the Google assistant or Siri to turn off the TV .

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And you can do that with just your voice with these devices and it will not only turn off the TV , but because it uses H D M I CE C , the TV , the receiver and either the Apple TV or chromecast will also turn off as well .

Next up , let's talk about smart lighting .

And this category in particular is interesting because neither Apple Amazon nor Google produce their own smart lights .

Unlike with the speaker and media device category , there are generally two approaches to doing smart lighting within your smart home .

You can either make the light bulb smart or you can make the switch that controls the light bulb smart .

And you can use a combination of these approaches in your smart home as well .

The main players in smart lights right now are Phillips G E Life X IKEA and U five .

These smart light makers make led bulbs that are typically in three categories , plain white bulbs that go from daylight to warm light or multicolored bulbs .

Sometimes the bulb will use Bluetooth or wifi or other types will need a zig B hub or something else that connects into your router .

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Smart lights .

Save you a lot of time .

You can turn off all your lights by just using your voice at night .

You can control your lights through a smartphone app and you can set up routines for your smart lights as well .

For example , I have mine to set automatically to fade in over 30 minutes in the morning .

And then I have them display sunrise colors .

I'll have them automatically change to daylight during the work day and then change to a warmer hue in the evenings .

You can even have them use your location and use Geo Fentine technology to turn on and off your lights when you come home and leave .

There are also other accessories you can get with your smart lights like wireless dimmer switches that you can assign to control a variety of lights in your residence .

Phillips hue probably has the most accessories and smart lights available today and they're the brand that I have in my residence .

We did a review of them that I've linked below in case you're interested for smart light switches .

Some of the popular brands out there are Wi Casa Eco B and Tron .

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These switches connect to your home's wifi network and replace the switch you have in your existing wall allowing you to either control the lights with the switch with a phone app or with a smart assistant .

These are a good option if you're doing a remodel or building a new home and you need to put in light switches anyway , or if you have a light fixture that you just don't want to put smart bulbs in or can't find the right smart bulb size to put in .

Next , let's talk about climate control within a smart home .

And here we're mainly going to talk about smart thermostats .

These are wifi connected thermostats that can be controlled by your smart assistants .

Most smart thermostats will work with each of the big three smart platforms and their installation is typically pretty easy .

Some popular ones include the Nest Learning thermostat made by Google the Eco B four , which Amazon has a sizable stake in and various other ones as well like from big name brands like Honeywell .

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Some you can program like more traditional thermostats with a weekly schedule while others like the Nest learning thermostat , learn your pattern and use A I to predict what the temperature should be set to most .

Now allow you to stick sensors in different rooms around your house to aggregate the temperature data in your home to give you a true home temperature .

Next , let's talk about smart home security systems .

The options here will vary greatly depending on your location here in the US .

You can choose to go with the service from large brands like Brinks ad T and C P I or you can do a more do it yourself route by doing the install of the sensors base station , cameras and supporting equipment yourself .

Some companies that allow you to do this are ring and simply safe .

They allow you to do the install and placement of security devices but also have a monitoring service as well .

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Nest is another large brand in the home security space , but the company recently discontinued their Nest secure alarm system at the end of 2020 and earlier in the year , they struck a deal with AD T where Google invested $450 million in the company .

So you can't expect more to come in this space from Google's Nest brand .

The last option with smart home security is a complete do it yourself route without a monitoring service which opens you up to a lot of other third party devices out there , especially with cameras , just make sure you buy cameras from a company that you trust with your privacy and you also want to make sure that the cameras you buy are compatible with the smart home platform that you've chosen because being able to tell the Amazon assistant or Google Assistant to bring up a video feed on a display or tell Siri to arm the system makes using these systems much more convenient .

The last and final category of smart home devices is a catch all category that I like to call appliances and accessories .

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There are so many devices in this category and it grows larger and larger every year .

The basic concept is that these are devices like your typical home appliances , like your stove , refrigerator , washing machine , but also home accessories that can connect to your smart home platform like smart blinds , robotic vacuum cleaners , smart scales , smart plugs , et cetera .

My go to smart home accessory over the past few years has been smart plugs .

They turn any appliance into one that can be simply turned on or off by any of the major smart home platforms , especially handy when it comes to holiday decorating .

For example , around the Christmas time frame , I use about 5 to 8 smart plugs to link all of my holiday lights to the Google Assistant .

Once you've chosen your smart home platform and start buying devices for your smart home , you're just going to be amazed at how easy it is to automate some of the most mundane parts of your life .

Like turning off the lights in every room of your house with your voice , having your room , but clean the kitchen after cooking or do things .

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You could only have dreamed of years ago like having blinds that automatically close at sunset or adjust their tilt throughout the day based on the angle of the sun .

Most of the major smart assistant platforms have routines and automation that you can create within the platform to help automate all of your devices .

So for example , when you come home , your lights can automatically come on your thermostat turns up and your speakers start playing the latest news from BBC or N PR or when you start getting ready for bed lowers the temperature .

The lights turn to a sunset color and slowly dim .

Over 30 minutes , the blinds close , your bedroom fan turns on and your assistant tells you what's on your calendar for tomorrow and then starts playing ambient sounds of the forest to help you drift off to sleep .

This level of customized automation is no longer a dream .

It's attainable and accessible to millions of people out there .

Thanks to the smart home platforms and the thousands of devices that run on them .

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Smart home tech has the potential to really change our lives for the better .

And it's an important part of what we do here at six months later .

Reviews .

So if you'd like to learn more about a particular smart home device , we may have already done a video on it or are about to .

So make sure you subscribe to the channel to see more videos of smart home products and tech like this video .

And if there's a particular device that you'd like to see us do a video of make sure you leave a comment below to let us know .

Well , I hope you found this video helpful and informative and if you did and liked it , make sure you hit that thumbs up button below .

Well , that's gonna do it for me for six months later .

I'm Josh Teter .

Thanks for watching


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