Home Tech Hacker: How to Get Started Creating your Smart Home

Sunday, May 1, 2022

By Marlon Buchanan

Are you interested in giving your home smart home capabilities but aren’t sure where to start? There’s never been a better time to get into smart home technology. Smart homes can enhance and enrich your life by automating mundane tasks and making other activities easier. 

They make your home much safer. They can help you save money. Also, they can be fun to show off!

Here are some good first steps to take on your smart home journey.

Step 1: Make sure your Wi-Fi is solid

Many smart home devices need Wi-Fi to work. Your smart devices will frustrate you if your Wi-Fi network is slow, has a lot of dropouts, or plain just doesn’t reach many areas of your home. 

For help making sure your Wi-Fi is stable, fast, and secure, check out my free Wi-Fi Tuneup ebook. If you are looking for more comprehensive help with making your Wi-Fi and the rest of your home network as good as it can be, check out my book, The Home Network Manual.

Smart bulb
Step 2: Buy a smart bulb

Smart bulbs are a good smart device to start with because they are useful, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive. 

You can program them to turn on and off at certain times of the day. 

You can also create moods and custom atmospheres with lighting and color effects. 

Learning to set up and use a smart bulb will build your smart home device capabilities and confidence.

Smart plug
Step 3: Buy a smart plug

In addition to lighting, being able to automate and remotely turn on and off devices using a smart plug is another key feature of a smart home. 

You can remotely turn on or schedule your coffee maker. 

Also, you can automate holiday lights, lamps, portable heaters, electric blankets, fans, etc.

Echo Dot voice assistant
Step 4: Buy a voice assistant

Buying a voice assistant will truly make your home feel smart. 
Using voice commands to control your smart bulb and smart plug will make you feel more in control. 

Start with a voice assistant that matches your preferred ecosystem, like Google’s Nest Mini, Amazon’s Echo Dot, or Apple’s HomePod Mini.

Step 5: Put it all together

Now that you have a smart bulb, a smart plug, and a voice assistant it is time to put them all together. 

Make sure you link your smart bulb and smart plug with your voice assistant so you can control them by voice. 

Play around with the apps that accompany the smart devices to set up automations like having your coffee maker startup with your morning routine or having a smart bulb turn off with your nighttime routine.

Step 6: Think about what you want out of a smart home

These steps will get you started, but there is so much more a smart home can do. Think about what types of things you want to control and automate in the long term. 

Think about what you want your smart home to be able to do (for inspiration, check out these smart home ideas). This, combined with how much effort and time you want to put into your smart home, determines your next steps.

Marlon Buchanan, Home Tech Hacker
Marlon Buchanan
is a best-selling author, IT Director, and founder of HomeTechHacker.com, a website with free resources to help you make the most of your home technology.


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