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The Internet of Things: (Finally!) Getting Started With Your Smart Home, Part 2
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The Internet of Things: (Finally!) Getting Started With Your Smart Home, Part 2 - Executive Leadership Articles

The Internet of Things: (Finally!) Getting Started With Your Smart Home, Part 2

Executive Leadership Articles

The Internet of Things: (Finally!) Getting Started With Your Smart Home, Part 2

If you’re deciding to take the plunge, bringing your home into the smart home age, you’re not alone. In 2017, 21.5 percent of homes in the United States owned a smart speaker. Now at the end of 2018, the number is around 41 percent, with Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices taking most of that and Googles Home accounting for most of what remains. Smart speakers are only one component (and not a critical one) of many smart homes, but the numbers give us a good idea of how many of our neighbors are taking their first steps into connected homes.

Smart speakers, then, are serving for many as an entry drug, but you certainly don’t need to start there. Many retailers offer smart home starter kits for (sometimes) reduced prices, usually with one task in mind: door locks, thermostats, security cameras, or lighting. If you already own smart home compatible stuff, such as a smart speaker or smart television, you might want to get a starter kit that’s compatible, although there’s certainly nothing wrong with separate systems that don’t integrate. You can use your Echo Dot to control your entertainment and shopping choices while an app on your smartphone controls your locks and lighting. Eventually it’s all going to come together anyway!

A starter kit is an excellent way to begin because you decide right now what you want to get started with, and you don’t get distracted or intimidated by all the other considerations, of which there are many. The kits are expandable, of course, so if you love the four cameras yours came with but think eight would really give you what you want, it’s easy to know what to pick up: additional gear from the same manufacturer.

Another way to get things rolling is to add components to what you already have. If you have a smart TV, why not get the smart speaker that will let you voice-control it? Or if you have a premium subscription to a music streaming service, get the smart TV that includes its app. Then build your smart home from there: add a compatible smart speaker and then the lighting, robot vacuum, and garage door opener that tie it all together.

We’re reluctant to suggest brands by name, but we looked at reviews for many of these starter devices and a few names popped up repeatedly as among the best value, the most satisfying experience, or the easiest to expand on. Do your own research and you’ll see the same names: Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini for starting small (recommended!), Samsung SmartThings for control hubs and home monitoring, Philips Hue and Lifx for lighting.

Yes, there is a lot of product out there, but don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed. Pick one or two of these bits of advice that work for you and build from there. Remember our two best pieces of advice (from part one in this series): set a budget first and get the best stuff you can buy without going over, and ask your friends what they’re running. Then consider getting something similar to a friend you trust, so you can have a personal advisor who won’t get tired of answering your questions.

 

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The Internet of Things: (Finally!) Getting Started With Your Smart Home, Part 2 - Executive Leadership Articles

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