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An introduction to smart home solutions

While the prominence of smart homes is an interestingly regional phenomenon, there is a very good chance that you have at least considered going “smart” at some point during the past decade or so.

First it was just a thermostat, then came wave after wave of smart light solutions, and then you blink for a second, and you are met with talking “smart” refrigerators that order you milk if it detects you are out of it. The novelty of having smart home accessories rather quickly wore off and it almost turned into one of those “you either get it or you don’t” types of phenomena.

But by the virtue of you reading this article, we suppose you fall in the former group of people, either you get it already and you are just looking for a place to get started, or you don’t and you are still looking for a place to get started on getting it. In this article, we will explore the different ways you can make your home smarter.

What is a smart home device?

In its most basic form, a smart home device is one that offers extra functionality suited to your your living experience more seamless, compared to that of its non-smart counterparts. This extra functionality often includes taking commands remotely either through the web, a local router, or via Bluetooth. Remote control is often the most basic functionality we can expect from a smart home accessory.

There are many ways that a smart home device can create a need by differentiating itself from its competitors. Sometimes the differentiating factor could be a completely useless gimmick, like Juicero (a $700 WiFi enabled juice-pack squeezer) while some others can legitimately improve, even in small but noticeable ways, some basic tasks you do around your home, like smart vacuum cleaners that can be scheduled to vacuum the house even when you are not home.

One could make the argument that there is a thin line between gimmicky smart devices and legitimately useful ones, so we will leave the final judgement to you and how you assess the connection between the functionality of a smart device and your needs. With that said, here are some of the more established smart home accessory categories that have become all too common in any smart home and are the furthest you can get from being gimmicky.

Categories of smart home devices
Smart bulbs

Smart bulbs are one of the oldest categories of smart home accessories that have risen in their popularity for the convenience they bring. They can be adjusted remotely (using your phone) and automatically, based on the time of day. Some smart bulbs come in RGB and can be combined with smart light strips to really change the aesthetics and mood of your room.

There are so many different scenarios where just having the ability to control your lightbulb with your smartphone can be such a quality-of-life improvement. Imagine laying in your bed for some social media scrolling and you decide that you want to sleep right then and there––you no longer must get up to turn off your lights. The same holds true for when you need to remotely monitor the lights in your infant’s room, and many other scenarios.

Smart light strips

Smart light strips are not the most essential when it comes to smart home accessories. But when used in tandem with RGB smart bulbs, they can really alter the atmosphere of any given room, especially, a bedroom/gaming den! Some of the smarter LED strips offer a wide variety of dynamic lighting effects that can interact with various inputs, such as music, or even what is happening on your display.

Smart plugs

Smart plugs are among the most basic but essential pieces to a smart home. They allow for the smartification of home appliances that aren’t designed to be smart.

For example, a simple rice cooker can be set up to turn on a couple of hours before you come home so that the food is hot by the time you reach home. Or, if you are outside and suddenly remember that you may have left the iron plugged in, you can just shut power to it using your phone. The same idea can be applied to pretty much any non-smart home appliance that can be given various types of prompts either independently or linked to other smart hubs or sensors.

Smart motion sensors

Motion sensors alone would be rather useless if not connected to another smart home accessory. The simplest usage of a smart motion sensor is that once it sees that you are leaving the house, it can turn off all the lights or turn off some unnecessary plugs, like the one your iron is plugged into. If the app surrounding the smart motion sensor is made well enough, you can also set it up in a way that it doesn’t trigger during certain times of the day or under certain conditions to avoid unwanted triggers.

As much as smart motion sensors can simply be a quality-of-life improvement that would make us skip a few extra button presses, it can also offer us more peace of mind when it comes to the security of your home. You can set up motion sensors outside of your apartment door and have it on while you are outside of the house or are asleep to pick up any movement out your apartment or house entrance. If movement is detected, the motion sensor can trigger your phone or maybe an alarm that your phone is connected to. Alternatively, the motion sensor may be connected to a hub that is connected locally so no internet would even be needed, and the smart hub would make noise itself, or perhaps prompt a speaker or an alarm to go off.

Smart hubs

Smart hubs are almost a necessary addition if you are thinking of getting a motion sensor for security reasons. Yes, the motion sensor can communicate with your phone, but only if it is in range. But a smart hub that is always connected to your internet and has all the motion sensors and other smart accessories connected to it via its local low-power connection will make the functionality of all smart home devices much more efficient and reliable. This is especially true for smart security solutions like cameras and motion sensors. Some smart hubs also act as doorbells or offer some other form of functionality, but their main function is to boost the reliability of your entire smart home ecosystem.

Smart cameras

If you want to go one step beyond the simple motion sensor for your security, a smart camera is the way to go. Having a smart camera, especially one that has night vision, mounted in a discreet location can protect you and your home. Many smart cameras that are designed specifically for this purpose also come equipped with a warning system, whether in the form of an audible alarm or flashing strobes of light to warn off the attacker, to let the intruder know that they are being filmed.

Yes, there is still the risk of the attacker breaking the camera so that you wouldn’t be able to access the footage to identify him, but if the software managing the security camera is designed well enough, you would be able to record the camera footage on your phone in real-time so that at least you would still be able to access the footage before the camera was broken.

There are also other types of smart cameras that, while they still can be used as security cameras, can also be used as a simple monitoring tool or a way to capture memories. They can also be linked up to motion sensors to, for example, start recording only when a person enters the room. However, if the cameras are truly smart, they can identify that themselves without the need for a motion sensor.

Making a purchasing decision

Now that you have an introductory understanding of some of the most basic categories of smart home accessories, whichever one you decide to go with, we have a solution designed for it, with the help of our partner, TP-Link and their Tapo lineup of smart home accessories. You can find a fairly comprehensive list of all of their smart home solutions here and a full list of their camera solutions in this article.

Interested in learning more about TP-Link’s smart security solutions for your home?

As the official distributor of TP-Link’s Tapo products, some of the best smart home solutions in the region, Newcom offers a wide range of Tapo’s smart home solutions, including smart motion sensors, cameras, and hubs manufactured by TP-Link.

If you are interested in learning more about TP-Link’s smart plugs, cameras, motion sensors, and other smart home security solutions, please make sure to check out our products page. For further information or any inquiries, make sure to directly call us or reach out through our contact us page.

To make sure you are the first to find out about the latest TP-Link releases in the region, be sure to frequently check out our blog posts. 

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