What is a smart home?

A smart home uses one or more internet-connected devices to let you control and see what’s going on in your home, whether you’re in another room – or another country.

All you need is a smartphone or tablet, a very reliable internet connection and some smart devices, and you can potentially automate tasks like feeding your cat and watering the plants every day, even if you’re on holiday. You could check on your new puppies while you’re at work, or even double-check that you’ve switched the heating off.

In a smart home, you may be able to control and adjust your:

  • Lighting
  • Heating
  • Access
  • Security

And a whole range of appliances

What is a smart home device?

For your home to become a ‘smart home’, you need a few smart devices. They connect to the internet and usually have a smartphone app allowing you to monitor the device remotely over wifi. Here are some popular smart devices:

  • Smart speakers – where most people begin building their smart home
  • Smart displays – if you want a visual display as well as voice activation
  • Smart TVs
  • Smart thermostats
  • Smart lighting
  • Smart security – windows, doors, locks, cameras and motion detectors
  • Smart kitchen appliances
  • Smart washing machines

The smart home devices you choose will depend on what you want to monitor and operate remotely. If you’re concerned about security, comfort, convenience or energy efficiency, then all of these can be enhanced through the use of a smart home device and a smart home system.

Why should you have a smart home?

Have you been thinking about making your house a ‘smart home’? It might be more beneficial to you than you think. Here are some of the benefits that come with having a ‘smart home’.

  1. Saving energy (and money) – For a lot of people who decided to turn their house is to a smart home is the potential to save energy which will in the long run lead to them saving money. Smart thermostats like those from Nest can control heating and cooling more efficiently. Other smart products, such as lights, plugs, and appliances, can be set to shut off when not in use.
  2. Making life easier – A smart thermostat can learn your habits and automatically adjust the temperature based on your unique schedule. It also lets you manually and remotely adjust the temperature through an app. Smart TVs, dishwashers, refrigerators, and washers and dryers all allow remote access and control and can alert you to information that’s relevant to each appliance. For example, your washing machine can detect when energy consumption is the lowest in your area and turn on during that time, or your refrigerator can scan your groceries, letting you know when the eggs are about to expire or how much milk you have left! Smart lights allow you to control the lighting in every room of your house from your mobile device. Did your seven-year-old forget to turn off the lights in the kitchen? You can do it on the way to school right from your phone. Or configure your lights to turn on and off at set times, and never worry again if someone forgot to turn off the lights before you leave for the day.
  3. Safety reasons – A multitude of smart home devices can alert you to safety or security issues remotely. Get alerts no matter where you are for leaks, for leaving the garage door open, for smoke, for when someone rings your doorbell, or if you left something plugged in that really should have been turned off before you left the house.

How can Plume help to make your house a smart home?

Most consumers define the phrase ‘smart home’ in a relatively simplistic manner: the ability to remotely control appliances, lighting, security and/or electronic devices, generally via a smart app or digital voice assistant product. While this baseline definition is accurate, it doesn’t fully convey the potential of what is quickly becoming known as Smart Home 2.0 when reliable and robust connectivity to cloud-based solutions unleashes capabilities and usage models which have not yet been contemplated.

Over the past few years, many smart home technologies have gone from cutting-edge to the mainstream. Consider digital voice assistants, for example. Research predicts we’ll see 8.4 billion digital voice assistants including smart TVs, wearables, and smart speakers such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home in use around the world by 2024. That’s an increase of 113% compared to the 4.2 billion devices in use at the end 2020.

People with such technology in their homes won’t have just one or two devices, they’ll have on average around 21 in use. Plume data indicates that the number will then climb and exceed 38 by 2024. These devices will include smart appliances, remote-enabled entertainment systems, control and monitoring systems for home security, smart thermostats, smart light bulbs, smart doorbells, and more. More smart home devices are entering the market every day, with many more on the horizon. Among them: are faster and smarter WiFi routers, health and sleep monitors, energy management systems, apps for monitoring emotional health, monitoring systems for the elderly, and even smart toilets and smart paints. These next-generation devices will become mainstays of the future of the smart home ecosystem (what some call Smart Home 2.0).

The demand for connected home applications and devices is expected to dominate the Internet of Things market over the next few years, it’s been reported that by 2023, it predicts the consumer segment will be nearly three times as big as the business segment. And the number of connected devices will be three times bigger than the number of people worldwide.