This home automation beginners guide is the perfect introduction for those looking to start in the world of smart home automation. We will cover, what a smart home is, why you might want to begin automating things within your home and how it works in an easy to understand manner. Begin your journey into the world of home automation with this easy to understand beginners guide that covers the fundamentals.
What Is A Smart Home?
At its most basic level, a smart home is nothing more than a bunch of timers and other event-based triggers that run pre-defined routines or actions.
Think of how we have been able to use timers to give us more control over our central heating systems for many years. During the winter months, you might set your heating timer to come on a 6 am, so it’s nice and warm before you get out of bed.
This is an event-based trigger, “at 6 am, turn the heating on”. It becomes a smart home when you being to include other variables like weather data “only turn on the heating at 6 am when it is cold outside” you could take this one step further to include presence detection so it becomes “turn on the heating at 6 am but only if it’s cold outside and someone is at home”. This is a real smart home!
My example uses heating controls, something most of us have in our homes already. You can see how adding these simple variables can help to create powerful automations. Giving you a greater level of control over something you would struggle to achieve without smart home automation.
Why Would You Want To Begin Home Automation?
Home automation can offer savings, convenience, and control to its users, among other advantages. Many consumers also buy home automation products so they can stay comfortable and feel more secure.
When I first became interested in home automation, I wanted a room to begin heating before I arrived home. Whatever your needs, whether it’s simplifying some of your most time-consuming daily tasks or using home automation to improve your home’s functionality, you will find what everything you need on this website.
Home automation is playing an important role in improving the day to day lives of people with disabilities or mobility issues. Helping them to operate switches in hard to reach places, or unlocking the door to allow entry to family, friends and nursing staff with a simple voice command.
You must identify your needs and what you want to achieve from home automation, whether that be improving the security of your home or just turning the lights to the same shade of your favourite sports team to celebrate their win. There is so much that can be achieved with home automation, the possibilities are endless! – Have a goal and take things one step at a time.
How A Smart Home Works
In a smart home, all of the devices are connected and able to talk to one another, directly or indirectly via a central hub. There are a variety of switches, plugs, sensors & light bulbs to choose from. Depending on the manufacturer, it may speak a different language (or a different protocol) than the other devices. That’s where the central hub comes in, translating what’s being said by other devices and letting you (and the other devices) know what’s going on. You read more about smart home hubs in our What Is A Smart Home Hub guide.
With a little research, planning and a simple understanding of how smart technology works, it’s possible to build out a smart home with devices that are compatible with one another. Starting with a few simple devices and adding more as you need.
When beginning any smart home automation project, it’s important to think of the technology you already own. This could be things like your smartphone or other devices that connect to the internet like TVs and smart speakers. You may be able to take advantage of these existing devices and incorporate them into your new smart home setup. You may find that the devices you already own can play a significant role in deciding what devices to buy when automating your home.
Choose The Right Devices When Starting Your Smart Home
One of the things people find confusing when beginning home automation is the myriad of devices from many manufacturers and the different ways they communicate. With so many devices to choose from, it’s no surprise that not all devices are compatible with each other. Hence why the technology you own already can influence the devices you buy in the future.
Many of the Big Tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Samsung and Google have their own ecosystems that help with configuring and controlling devices. While this makes it easy when first setting up the device, it can become an issue when you want to use devices that are not within that ecosystem later down the road.
Thankfully, many of the big tech companies have got together to agree on a unifying standard for the smart home market. The language these devices speak will go by the name of Matter. This will make it easy for beginners to start home automation, as all the devices that are certified with Matter will work across any ecosystem from different manufacturers.
Taking The First Steps Into Automation
One of the easiest ways to make many smart home devices work together is by taking advantage of a service called IFTTT.
IFTT is an acronym for “If This Then That,” – when a device (or service) does something, an action on that device can cause an action on another device or service. It’s like having your own smart home hub in the cloud. It’s widely used, easy for beginners to get the hang of and it works with a lot of stuff.
If This Then That uses “Applets” that are easy to configure, you link devices together with one as a trigger and another as an event you want to happen when the trigger is activated.
IFTTT used to be a free service, but that’s not the case anymore—at least, not precisely. With a free IFTTT Standard account, you can use hundreds of free IFTTT applets—and there are thousands of them for you to use.
Sadly, IFFT may not be the magic bullet you were looking for. IFTTT’s Standard plan will, however, limit you to only three applets. It costs $3.99 per month if you want to set up more than three new applets.
It may be overwhelming at first to be a beginner in smart home automation, but it doesn’t have to be. This article was formed to give a very simple overview of home automation and to highlight a few key areas to think about when beginning your home automation projects.
We will break down things into more detail in subsequent posts, adding depth to your knowledge. Helping you to make the best choices when planning your home automation.
This home automation beginners guide will introduce you to the world of smart home automation. We will cover, what a smart home is, why you might want to begin automating things within your home and how it works in an easy to understand manner. Begin your journey into the world of home automation with this easy to understand introduction.
If you would like to learn more about Home Automation, including The Differences Between Automation, Scripts and Scenes, please follow the link to that guide. For those interested in getting started with home automation, we have detailed guides that describe how to install Home Assistant in VirtualBox. This is a great way to turn an old laptop or desktop computer into a powerful home automation server.