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What is A Smart Home?

Over the last couple of years, I have slowly been getting into the idea of a smart home. Is a smart home in Idaho Falls the way to go?

What is a smart home, anyway?

Have you ever left the house and wondered if you left the garage door open and drove back home just to find it was closed after all?

Have you ever had your water heater leak, only you didn’t find it until it was a large puddle, or worse?

We are all short on time anymore. Wouldn’t it be helpful if your house started to pull it’s own weight?

I thought so, too. Turns out, it can help you with all this and more.

Where to begin?

You will need these three, essential things to start:

  1. You have to have a WIFI internet connection. Most of us have this these days, through our cable or satellite company. If you don’t have a WIFI connection or are not sure what that is…well, perhaps you need to take a step back. And if you have a middle schooler handy, they can help you with this!
  2. You will need a smart phone, iPad or tablet that is connected to the internet. This is either via your WIFI while you are at home, or your wireless company while you are away. You can also use a computer, but ultimately you won’t have that handy when you are driving off wondering if the garage door is open.
  3. If you have WIFI, that means you have an internet router in your house. In additional to this, you will need another piece of hardware called a ‘hub.’ The hub is the digital brain for your house. And it talks to your house over WIFI.

Let’ts talk Hub

My first hub was a MiCasa Verde Lite controller by Vera. This was a few years ago, and they have since released upgraded options you can find here. About a year ago, I changed to a Samsung Smartthings hub. I changed is because the hubs each speak a language, and like IBM and Mac, they don’t all talk to each other. Remember VHS vs Beta? (Ok, I’ve really dated myself there!) You get the idea.

My Vera spoke ‘Z-Wave’ and that’s it. My Smartthings also speaks ‘ZigBee.’ I don’t need to know how they work, I only know that my new hub will speak to more devices (it’s like having VHS and Beta.) Don’t fret, though. Vera has since released new hubs that speak both z-wave and ZigBee and additionally Bluetooth, which seems like it could be handy to connect additional devices.

Honestly, I don’t think it matters much which hub you pick to start. I would recommend you try out the apps on your phone or tablet, if possible, as that is what you will interact with to talk to the hub. I know the Smartthings works on my iPad and my Android phone, even though it’s made by Samsung.

Take some time to do a little Googling here for a hub and read some reviews. After all, you are the one that will have to live with it!

Next up….devices!

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