Is your home “Smart”?


Imagine waking up in the morning, not to the glaring blare of an alarm clock, but to your favorite song streaming through speakers in the ceiling, as your blinds slowly open to reveal the morning sun. Touch one button by your bed and the lights in the hallway turn on so you can safely navigate to the kitchen where the TV is already tuned into your favorite morning news program.

As you race out the door for work, smile as everything powers down—the lights, the TVs, the audio—even the thermostat dials back to a more energy-efficient setting. The alarm arms, the garage door closes and every door in the house gets locked. Automatically.

Many homeowners probably never give any serious thought to automating their homes because they think it’s cost-prohibitive. But the truth is that home automation is far more affordable than most people think. One choice is a fully automated home system set up through a universal remote such as Control 4.  Home automation includes centralized control of lighting, HVAC((heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning), appliances, security locks of gates and doors, entertainment systems, shades and other systems. This also gives access to control devices in a home from a mobile device anywhere in the world. Home automation advantages include Increased comfort, convenience and security, reduced energy consumption, maximum flexibility due to battery-free, wireless devices, Plug&Play operation and easy system expansion and extensive cost-savings.

Turning your home into a smart house doesn’t mean you need to get it all rewired or spend thousands of bucks. These days, there are some really easy, DIY options for upgrading your home to ensure it works more efficiently. And most of the time, all you need is a smartphone to get started. Here is a list of simple “smart” ideas that won’t break the bank.

  1.  August Smart Lock basically allows you to turn your phone into a virtual key. You can lock and unlock your door, create “keys” for guests and carefully track who’s coming and going into your home. The lock syncs up with Siri, Alexa and Google Home.
  1. Arlo is a simple Wi-Fi security system. It’s weatherproof, 100-perfect wire free and allows for 24/7 cloud video recording. The system is completely flexible, so you can set it up in as many spots as you need, then access live views from a simple app on your phone, tablet or computer. There is even two-way audio, so you can hear what’s going on at all times.

3.  Ring combines the convenience of a security camera with the functionality of a doorbell system. You can mount it next to your front door and use it in place of a standard doorbell. A tiny camera and speaker allow you to get Ring alerts on your phone, so you can respond to anyone at your door no matter where you are. So, if you get a package delivery, you can respond directly through your phone and tell the delivery person to leave the package by your front door. So cool.

4. Nest’s smart smoke and carbon monoxide alarm has no annoying chirping alarms. The alarm also has a friendly human voice that warns you at the slightest sign of smoke or carbon monoxide. The alarm is able to test its batteries and sensors (over 400 times a day) to ensure that it’s working properly. Plus, it can be controlled from an app on your phone and will last up to 10 years.

5. Sensibo allows you to control your heating and AC unit from an app. But Sensibo works with any remote-controlled AC or heating unit (not just central air like Nest). The system learns your habits and defaults to operating in the most energy-efficient way possible for your home. You can control one unit or multiple units at once and also set timers.

6. Philips Hue LED light bulbs are a great way to connect and manage all of the lighting both inside and outside your home. Hue light bulbs can be controlled with an app on your phone.  You can set timers for your Hue light system so, for example, exterior lights can go on every evening at 6 pm and off every morning at 6 am. They come in a variety of colors and styles and are also dimmable.

7. Amazon Echo It’s a speaker that can play Spotify, Pandora or even the music on your phone. You can set timers and reminders by simply asking “Alexa,” the voice that controls your Echo. You can sync it to control your lights, fans, thermostat, garage door and more. It can also read you the news, fill you in on sports scores or even play your Audible books. They are always adding new features so check in frequently to see the new innovations.

8. WeMo plug.The Smart Plug uses your existing home Wi-Fi network to provide wireless control of lamps, heaters, fans, and more–with no subscription or hub required. Simply plug the Wemo Mini Smart Plug into an electrical outlet, plug a device into the Smart Plug, and control your device using the free Wemo app.

9. Awair actually monitors the quality of the air in your home. If you or anyone in your family suffers from allergies, asthma or other issues, it can actually track the levels of toxins and chemicals in your home and give you personal recommendations on how to fix it. Based on the readings, you can make any needed changes you need to your space and take control of your family’s health.

10. If you’re dog or cat crazy, you’re going to love the Petcube. This is an easy, at-home camera that allows you to monitor your pet through an app. You can even talk to your pet through the cube, soothing them with the sound of your own voice. The folks at Petcube even have a new offering that will allow you to give your dog a treat remotely.

So along with making your home a stunning reflection of you visually, create a functional home that provides some piece of mind as well. What will your home look like in the future? Contact us at or 805.864.2585 for assistance with making your home smart and beautiful.