If you’re interested in inching your way to a more connected home, you know it can be a daunting experience. There are so many different smart devices available on the market and a number of variables to contend with. However, if you’re truly interested in a smart home, there are some easy ways to get started and eventually work your way up to having the ultimate smart home experience.
Getting Started: LED Light Bulbs
LED light bulbs are a great gateway to creating a smart home. They can help reduce your energy bills, provide good lighting and act as connectivity points for the smart home. They’re also right off the shelf, and all you need to do is screw them into the light socket, and download and use the app to control your lights. Often, there are options where there is no hub, no gateway and no bridge necessary.
To start, try installing them in a bedside lamp to see if they’re right for you. The C by GE C-Sleep bulb has been designed to provide appropriate light in your bedroom and help manage your sleep cycle. These bulbs come with three distinct settings. The PM color has an amber tone and is meant to be used at nighttime. This color pulls all of the blue wavelengths out of the light because studies have shown that blue wavelengths of light suppress production of melatonin, the hormone that helps us fall asleep. The AM color adds extra blue light to do just the opposite—suppress melatonin and help us get out of bed in the morning. The third color option is the DAY color. It’s designed to match the color and feel of normal home lighting, as well as the color of our C by GE C-Life bulb. Both the C-Life and C-Sleep bulbs can be dimmed, turned on or off and scheduled with our app.
Next Step: Voice Connectivity
Voice is the next step to enjoying the ultimate smart home experience. After you’ve tested out some off-the-shelf smart light bulbs and get used to using them, try out voice assistants. The C by GE C-Reach (coming soon!) device makes connected bulbs compatible with Amazon Alexa and Apple Homekit. With C-Reach, you can control your lighting hands-free—no switch necessary.
Voice connectivity can be integrated into just about any corner of your home. For example, you might find that voice connectivity in your kitchen makes it easier for you to multitask while cooking a meal. When you use Amazon Alexa or Apple Homekit to control your appliance, you can preheat your oven using just your voice or check the time remaining on your oven. With voice assistants, you can also do things like set a timer, order dinner, listen to the latest headlines, play music and more.
Another way to play with voice is with the C by GE Sol, the first-ever lamp and light source with Alexa embedded directly into it. This means it has all the voice-activated skills you’d expect to find in a traditional Amazon Echo device, plus additional lighting-related features. For example, there are visual indicators that pair visual light cues with everyday tasks like checking the time. There’s also the ability to enable sleep-based lighting, like that of the C-Sleep bulb, to reinforce your body’s natural wake-sleep cycle. With all these features, and more, there’s no need for an additional Amazon Echo device. As you build a comfort level with voice assistants, you’re just shy of experiencing the ultimate smart home.
Ultimate Smart Home Realized
Explore your house and see which smart elements make sense for each space. For example, you might want motion sensors installed in transitional spaces like bathrooms and hallways to automatically turn on lights when motion is sensed in that area of your home. In areas where voice control isn’t appropriate, consider using smart switches to get around using a traditional wall light switch. Smart switches act like a remote that has an on/off button, but also have features like the ability to automate and schedule lighting.
However, having the ultimate smart home means going beyond lighting. Consider looking at smart devices that provide extra security at your home. Smart security cameras and systems allow you to keep tabs on your house anytime, anywhere, via your smartphone or computer. You can also receive real-time alerts when anyone enters the monitoring zone of your house.
Smart home devices can also make your home feel more comfortable. Smart thermostats, like the Nest Learning Thermostat, learn what temperature you like and build a schedule around you. Within a week, it programs itself so that your home is always as cool or as toasty as you want.
Having the ultimate smart home experience is something that can become a reality for you. My recommendation is to start small with a few, simple smart devices and play around with them. See what works for you in each area of your house and incrementally add more complex smart devices and voice assistants. At the end of the day, the goal of any smart home is to make it work for you and the way you live.
Questions or comments on turning your home into a smart home? Leave a comment!