Create a blueprint for the smart home of your dreams! Create your smart home one step at a time.
Ok now that we have the basics out of the way, lets start planning. From here on out I am going to assume you already have your digital assistant picked out, such as Google Assistant or Alexa. I know you can use Siri with Apple HomeKit but that is an Apple only environment. Google Assistant and Alexa are available and fully functional on all platforms so I will be focusing on those two. You can use the apps that come with the devices but that can get really confusing. Using a device like we’ll talk about below with an assistant help bring it all together in one place.
The equipment to control it all
Now we need to get one or maybe two devices you can use to control your smart house. For a full featured experience You can choose the new Google Pixel Tablet with a Charging Speaker Dock. Or you can choose the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) which comes with a built in stand. These options are a little more expensive but offer you bigger screens and more functionality. The Pixel Tablet is nice as it can be removed from the dock and be used like a regular tablet. Once you put it back on the dock it automatically switches to a smart home display.
There are also other devices that have smaller screens you can choose but these devices will give you a more complete experience.
If you have a smaller budget no need to worry, both companies offer smaller audio only devices that are less expensive. Such as the Google Nest Mini or the Google Nest Speaker. Amazon Echo series also has some audio only options to fir your budget. Like the Echo Dot with a clock or for a little better sound you can get the Echo Studio. Either way there’s something available for every budget!
Devices to start out with
The next thing I recommend are some smart lights. In my opinion they bring the highest value and convenience to a smart home. The choices are plentiful, you have Govee, Kasa, Wyze and even Amazon Basics has them. There are also several technologies that are used for connectivity such as Bluetooth, Zigbee, and Z-Wave. That’s just to name a few. For now I’m not going to get into all the details of each as it is a little confusing, and there’s already a lot to digest.
You’ve probably heard of Matter as well. Matter is not widely implemented by manufactures yet, it’s supposed to standardize the protocols for connectivity and communication. With so many technologies and devices it’s been a slow roll getting it adopted.
My personal preference for lighting is Philips Hue, they have a huge variety of bulbs and fixtures to choose from. Now, I will say that the Philips Hue bulbs are more expensive most so keep that in mind. I have used several different types of bulbs from several different companies and I always end up back with Hue. Sometimes I end up replacing the non-Hue bulbs with Hue bulbs so it end up costing me more than if I had gone with Hue to begin with.
They just work, they look great and I don’t have to have multiple apps to connect them. Sometimes that lack of problems and ease of use outweigh the costs. They also do a great job of walking you through the initial setup, which is very easy.
I would recommend starting out with something like the Philips Hue White Ambiance Starter Kit. The kit comes with 3 Philips Hue White Ambiance A19 bulbs (really not sure why only 3 lol), a hub and even a smart button. If you have a fixture that has 4 bulbs, like a lot of mine do, you can buy them individually. This is going to be your least expensive way to get rolling.
They do have Bluetooth capable bulbs but I recommend sticking with a hub as it will have far fewer interference issues and can support a lot more bulbs and devices.
If your budget allows for it and you want a little color in your house then go with the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit. It has all the same stuff but the lights can change colors. Yes it only has 3 bulbs as well so if you need more you can buy those individually too.
Obviously if you want to buy more lights by all means go for it, just remember you only need one hub so don’t buy another starter kit (like I did lol). Philips Hue officially says the hub supports a maximum of 50 devices/lights. Unofficially it’s much higher than that. I have well over 50 on my indoor hub, plus some accessories.
We’ll get deeper into that on down the road and I will walk through some of the setup steps I use. Now that we have an idea of what we need, now we need to determine how we are going to set them up. You will need to have your virtual rooms in mind and what you will call each light/accessories when you add them. If you make the same mistakes I did you will end up having to sort it out later, which is far more difficult than laying it out ahead of time.
I’ll be covering some of that, and a lot more in my next post. Once again I appreciate you taking the time to read this and drop me a comment or use my Contact page to shoot me an email with any questions or comments you might have. If there is something specific you would like to see me cover let me know that too. Also keep an eye on my YouTube channel for some upcoming video’s that will go along with these posts.