How Smart is your Home?

Hello Heroes,

I mean hello home! No answer! Well you’re in the same boat as me. I long for my home to speak back to me, like umm in Iron Man, Tony Stark has such a cool house. Jarvis has got it all covered.

Now I know making my home a little smarter probably won’t make it have any more square footage or the view of LA, but it sure will make me feel cooler.

The problem with today’s smart technology is that some products only work with some assistants and some assistants are better than others.

Here is my quick run down of the who, what, where of smart tech.

First, you’ve got to pick an assistant. No, you don’t have to hire someone to live in your house, but more like a virtual assistant to manage your home. There are many virtual assistants out their, but the main three are Apple’s SIRI, Google’s Assistant, and Amazon’s Alexa.

Apple’s SIRI Google’s Assistant Amazon’s Alexa
Pros:

 

Super Secure – Apple has worked directly with hardware manufacturers, so they can ensure a secure line of communication.

HomeKit – this app is pretty awesome, it merges all your hardware into one easy remote controller.

Pros:

 

Smarter – in terms of artificial intelligence Assistant is far superior to Alexa and SIRI.

Cost – it is a lot cheaper to get into the smart home game. (Google Home Mini, starts at $79.99)

Pros:

 

Cost – also cheap to get into the game, the smallest speaker is only $50

Setup – so easy to setup, plug in and go!

Skills – it has over 12,000 skills, making it the most versatile assistant

App – works with Apple and Android devices

Cons:

 

SIRI – SIRI is only exclusive to Apple Products and sometimes she has a hard time understanding what you’re saying.

Fewer Options – because Apple has its nose in manufacturer guidelines, there are fewer hardware options.

Cons:

 

OK Google – is the way you have to call your assistant, kind of weird.

Audio – if you’re an audiophile, this may not be the best route

Privacy Policy – their policy isn’t so clear, what information are they collecting???

Cons:

 

Apps – they are large in size, may take up a lot of space on your device.

Privacy – they leave it up to the hardware manufacturers, taking no responsibility.

Quality – speaker quality is fair

 

Now that you’ve chosen who you want to live with, the next step is to figure out what hardware you want to incorporate into your home.

There are so many hardware options to choose from. You name it and some thing can control it. Some of my favourites are the Philips Hue Bulbs, Nest Thermostat, Lutron Smart Switch, and the Sonos One.

The Philips Hue bulbs are so fun. Basically screw the bulbs into any of your lamps or ceiling lights and you can control when they switch on and what colour they are. Having a dance party, then Philips Hue has got you covered.

My personal favourite and something I live by is the Nest Thermostat. This guy replaces your current thermostat and makes it SMART. With some of the smartest features around this thing can monitor motion within your home so it can control when to turn on your AC or heat. The Nest app is even smart enough to know when you are roughly 3 km from your home so it can get your house to your desired temperature.

The Lutron Smart Switch is similar to the smart bulbs but this is more of a hard wired option. This switch replaces your flick on/off switch. If you forget your lights on and you have left your house, simply open the app and flick them off. When you arrive at home simply ask your assistant to turn on the lights and voila!

I’m a sucker for speakers. I’ve got one in every room. Gone are the days when you need to have in wall mounted speakers installed, the Sonos One replaces all the heartache. This guy is the first of the Sonos line to incorporate Alexa into the hardware itself. I can simply ask Alexa to play my favourite playlist or a specific song. Even better, since Alexa is built into this smart speaker, you can ask her to control any of your other pieces of smart hardware.

All in all there is definitely something to suit your needs. Remember all these items can be controlled by your voice through your specific assistant. My favourite thing is to set up routines. Through my Alexa, I simply say “Alexa I’m home”, and she turns my lights on and starts to play my favourite playlist. How cool is that? Now only if I could get it to make my dinner too!!!

Ok so now that your home is a little smarter then it was, it’s time to sit back and control your throne. “Alexa turn on Samsung TV and play Netflix” See ya later.

Remember, I am always here to help. Shoot me a DM or comment below with any of your questions or concerns.

Instahusband out,

Sameer @playingwithapparelmen