What is a Smart Home and How Can It Help You Live Better?

The modern home is becoming increasingly more connected, with many people educating themselves about making their homes smarter. The good news is that there are so many ways you can go about it without having to do any of the wiring yourself. As long as your devices have Wifi capability and you know which type of connection they need (e.g., Ethernet), then all you’ll need to do is follow a few simple steps to set them up on your home’s network.

Smart Home

Here are some key points for setting up smart devices as you make your home more intelligent than ever.

What is a Smart Home?

A smart home has devices that can all be controlled remotely with your smartphone or another mobile device. Pretty much everything we might find in our homes—from light bulbs to appliances to outlets—can be connected with some wireless technology.

Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV Sticks and Cox Contour Stream Player are all devices that can be controlled wirelessly through an app on your smartphone or tablet. Once you learn how to connect your smart TV to Wifi, you can use it to stream shows or movies, play games or listen to music — all without the need for any complicated setup.

If you already have a smart home with things like lights, doorbells, speakers, thermostats and more in your living space, using a streaming device can add another great way to interact with them without having to install anything new.

Do I Need a Smart Hub?

While it is possible to create a smart home without any devices that require a hub, the easiest way to get started with smart lighting is through a central hub. Some hubs are more user-friendly than others so research them carefully. It’s also worth pointing out that hubs are not created equally regarding security and privacy.

The ability for smart lights to interact with other smart home devices determines how easy it is to create a truly integrated smart home system. Being able to use voice-activation such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa to control your lights provides you with an incredible amount of flexibility and automation (e.g., “Turn on the living room lights”).

You don’t necessarily need any hub or streaming device to connect your smart home—this is because many apps offer the capability to ‘bridge’ your smart devices together. The great thing about these apps is that because you can connect them to other things like IFTTT and Amazon Alexa, it makes it even easier (and more accessible) to use them as a remote for your existing smart home.

What to Consider When Choosing a Hub

You should consider what kind of connections you want your hub to incorporate before deciding which one you’ll purchase. For example, if you own a Cox Homelife system, the best way to connect it with Amazon Echo would be through your router—which will work perfectly fine.

Overall, when you’re making your home smart, remember there are different ways to go about connecting all of the devices. The most important thing is that you find something that will work for your situation. The more devices you have, the more complicated it may get, so finding a system that will work with all of your products is the most important.

You can always build up slowly and add new devices as you go or go room to room, making them smart(er) until your home is complete.

Erin Emanuel