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How to Set up a Smart Home

Catalogue

Smartphones were just the beginning - today, they can help you control your entire home. The smart home concept has ceased to be a sci-fi fantasy or a tech game for geeks. Now it has become a reality available to everyone. You can set up a smart home yourself, without any cables and complicated installations. You'll get a helper that will simplify everyday activities, increase home security and reduce energy costs.

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How to Create a Smart Home?

  1. When planning a smart home, consider a starter kit, or you might be planning a more comprehensive and centralised smart home.

  2. If you're just looking for a few smart devices, there are plenty to choose from. However, if you want to keep extending your smart home in the future, it's better to first select a central unit that has universal support, such as ZigBee, Z-Wave or Apple HomeKit.

  3. Be sure to take into account the operating system of the smart devices in your home. Many devices can collaborate with smart assistants, such as Siri, Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

  4. Don't worry! Even a less experienced user can put together a smart home. Setting up individual operating tasks and smart appliances is easier than it might sound.

SmartHome Guide

Smart Home Possibilities

What does a smart home give you?

The possibilities are endless. In the morning you will wake up to a soft light and the kettle starting to boil in the kitchen. After you leave, the thermostat lowers the temperature and the smart sockets are automatically disconnected. The security sensors guard your home and send you notifications if they record anything suspicious. The cameras also provide live transmission from the living room to the office. In the evening, you come home to a warm apartment, the smart lock automatically locks the door behind you and the motion sensors turn off. The blinds are closed, the AV system is launched, and the smart lighting creates a cosy atmosphere. The light in the children's room will turn off as soon as they fall asleep. You have absolute control over everything through an intuitive smartphone application.

  • Easily control the whole household remotely from your smartphone.

  • Create automatic function settings and follow-up actions for different situations.

  • You have a perfect overview of your home - anytime, anywhere.

  • Increased safety and comfort.

  • Reduce and control the costs of running a household.

Starter Kits

Starter kits provide the perfect stepping stone for a smart home. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to install - just unpack everything from the box, place devices in the desired areas in your home, and turn them on. However, these sets often only serve a single purpose (like security). It can be difficult to add a third-party device because it is a closed system with its own communication protocol. An example can be a smart thermostat, to which you can add other thermostat controllers. If you buy a smart light from another manufacturer, however, you may need to download another separate application to control it. The more you expand your smart home, the more applications you need, which is not very convenient.

  • More affordable price
  • Easy installation
  • Immediate operation
  • Compatibility is often limited to the same manufacturer
i Incompatibility of single-purpose sets with third-party components can sometimes be compensated by a free IFTTT application (If This Then That), which serves as a bridge between non-related cloud services and applications. By setting up a sequence, such as: "If motion is detected, turn the light on in the hallway," you will connect the otherwise incompatible components of your smart home.

Central Units

The heart and brain of a fine-tuned smart home is the central unit, the so-called hub. Just connect the central unit to the router and then gradually build up a complex, smart household by connecting other devices.

The hub communicates with individual smart components that support ZigBee or Z-Wave protocols that are safely encrypted with a 128-bit algorithm. Both protocols communicate by passing the signal across devices to the central unit. Every additional device expands the network reach. However, ZigBee and Z-Wave communicate at different frequencies, so take protocol compatibility into account when choosing smart devices.

The most convenient way to control a centralised smart home is by using smart voice-control assistants, such as Amazon Echo or Google Assistant. They can communicate with a variety of devices using both WiFi and Bluetooth, including products that primarily use only one of the universal protocols.

  • Diversity and perfect interdependence of the entire system
  • Centralised control in one place, from a single application
  • Gradual expansion with other components
  • A bit more expensive in price
  • Initial installation may be more difficult
  • Restrictions on component selection based on protocol compatibility
i The Internet of things made a great leap forward with the Bluetooth 4.2 protocol, but Bluetooth 5 extends its support through its emphasis on security and connectivity that is twice as fast. It also has greater reach, endurance and stability. It ensures communication among various devices throughout your home.

Apple HomeKit

IOS users don't need a dedicated hub with the ZigBee or Z-Wave communication protocol to centralise their smart home. An iPhone will do most of the work.

Apple HomeKit combines the control of smart appliances and components marked with the "Works with Apple HomeKit" logo in a single application. You can easily add more devices and other users directly in the app. Apple HomeKit can be controlled by an Apple Watch and even Siri's voice guidance. The Apple TV multimedia device and the smart Apple HomePod speakers are two devices that you can easily use with the HomeKit.

  • Eliminates the need for a specialised hub
  • Controlled via iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch
  • Siri voice control
  • Only for Apple product owners
  • Only works with iOS 10 and newer versions
Smart lighting

Smart Lighting

  • Wall and desk lamps, LED tapes, smart light bulbs
  • Adjustable light intensity, temperature and colour
  • Fall asleep and wake up naturally due to lights gradually turning on and off
  • Irregular intervals of lighting in your absence for added security
  • Interconnect and synchronise individual bulbs
  • Creates and mimics natural scenery
  • Set up the right atmosphere for different activities and situations (coming home, watching a movie, getting up in the morning...)
Philips HUE Intelligent Lighting

Philips HUE

  • The most sophisticated smart lighting system by the renowned manufacturer
  • Includes complete light fixtures, separate LED tapes, smart LED bulbs and switches
  • Requires its own central unit for full functionality - Philips HUE Bridge
  • Easy installation - a large selection of starter kits
  • Compatible with other systems - supported by Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT
thermostats

Smart Thermostats

  • A smart thermostat can be connected to a gas boiler, or a fuel or wood furnace
  • It wirelessly controls heating and air conditioning according to the set program
  • A smart thermostat will advise you on how to reduce heating costs
  • It learns your habits and favourite temperature settings at different times of day and year
  • It will turn the heating on when it detects your presence
  • The thermostat will switch to standby mode as soon as you leave your home
  • It detects smoke and carbon monoxide levels
Smart socket

Smart Sockets and Switches

  • Smart sockets are used to control the operation of appliances remotely
  • They protect against overheating and disconnects the appliance if it's not working properly
  • They provide statistics about energy consumption and notify users about the status of the devices
  • A WiFi socket can be individually set to function a certain way
  • Smart switches allow you to control multiple devices with a single button
  • Easy to program - there are different commands for various functions
  • Some switches learn commands from classic infrared drivers
Smart detectors and sensors

Smart Detectors and Sensors

  • A smart motion sensor alerts you to movement or vibration
  • Smoke, sound, gas, or water leakage sensors are also available
  • Timely notifications give you a perfect overview of your home
  • Outdoor sensors are dust and water resistant
  • They often serve as a trigger for follow-up actions in a smart home
  • They can turn on garage heating when freezing temperatures are detected
  • Able to turn off lights as soon as a baby falls asleep
  • Able to disconnect appliances if the electrical network has been damaged by water
Smart home security

Smart Home Security

  • Smart security cameras are the eyes of your smart home
  • They can recognise both household members and pets
  • Provides a constant overview of a given guarded area
  • Instantly record and send a notification to the user in case of intrusion
  • Smart security sensors send a message and ring the alarm when the doors or windows are forcibly opened
  • Bring attention to movement within and around guarded objects
  • You can unlock smart locks with your smartphone or fingerprint reader, so you don't have to carry around keys
  • There's the possibility of assigning long-term and one-time access rights to users
  • Suitable for monitoring access and attendance
Smart weather station

Smart Weather Station

  • A smart weather station with online support monitors and predicts weather, temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind speed, rainfall...
  • Sends notifications for requested events - such as detecting poor air quality or when a storm is approaching
  • Users can access shared data from other users from around the world
  • Provides an overview of long-term statistics and graphs
Smart videophone

Videophones

  • A video intercom shows who is standing at the door
  • Smart videophones can transfer images to a user's phone
  • Enable unlocking a door and opening a gate remotely
  • The outdoor module can provide security against theft and mechanical damage
Smart flower pot

Smart Flower Pots

  • A smart flower pot helps grow fresh herbs, as well as fruit and vegetables
  • There is an automatic system for irrigation, maintenance and natural light cycles
  • Smart Gardening without pesticides and growth chemicals
  • Prepared capsules with different seeds are available

Glossary - SmartHome

The Internet of Things

Internet of Things is abbreviated to IoT. With the rise of high-speed internet, the number of everyday devices that connect to the Internet is growing geometrically to communicate with users and send traffic data to other devices or to cloud services. It can be smart watches, safety cameras, but also cars or even refrigerators and washing machines. These devices can be remotely controlled by the user thanks to their unique identification and by gaining information about their functionality.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth is the standard for wireless communication linking two or more electronic devices, such as tablets, mobile phones, earphones, fitness trackers and more. A Bluetooth connections to a PC can be established with Bluetooth USB adaptors. It is used to transmit audio, video and other files and their signal is also used by security locators. Bluetooth was invented in 1994 by the Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson, who were researching an alternative for cable connections for mobile devices.

Apple HomeKit

Apple HomeKit is an open protocol for wireless communication devices in a smart home. This technology allows you to control devices from different manufacturers from a single Home application for iOS devices and create scenarios for automated actions based on defined conditions. Compliance with the Works with Apple HomeKit is a prerequisite for compatibility. A pleasant bonus is also the voice control thanks to the integration of Siri.

Z-Wave

Z-Wave is the perfect tool for automated smart home appliance management and plays a dominant role in the Internet of Things (IoT). Its key benefit is the ability to use the devices of different manufacturers while maintaining their mutual compatibility and ease of use. With one Z-Wave central unit, you can easily combine diverse products and manage them comfortably and interactively from a computer, mobile phone, or tablet. Another benefit of this system is a drastic reduction in the cost of automation across the home and a wide scope for future expansion.

ZigBee

The ZigBee protocol is the perfect tool for automating the management of smart home appliances, and it plays an important role in the Internet of Things (IoT) world. Its key benefit is the ability to use the devices of different manufacturers while maintaining their mutual compatibility and ease of operation. ZigBee allows you to connect similar products via one central unit and manage them interactively from your computer, smartphone or tablet. Another brilliant advantage is the drastic reduction in the costs of automating an entire household, as well as the possibility of further expansion.

IFTTT

If That Then That is a free web platform and an iOS/Android app that can connect non-collaborative applications and web services using simple applet chains. This string then activates a defined trigger. Chains can be freely created or selected from a menu of ready-made applets. The importance of IFTTT or similar platforms is growing as smartphone-operated things and appliances are becoming more common.

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