The smart home in 2020

smart bedroom devicesSmart home is the fashionable thing for home owners presently. However, what a smart home means is different for different people. Having a few electronics gadgets that are Wifi compatible or being able to access your home appliance from anywhere could be termed to be having a smart home. Is your home smart, just by having a few of these appliances or every appliance you have in the home need to a smart appliance for your home be considered smart. I guess, the jury is out.
Also, smart homes can be called smart house or home automation. They mean the same thing.
While there have been a plethora of gadgets that are been used in a smart home, the problem is that there is yet a standard for these gadgets to communicate with one another, to really create the ideal smart home. What we presently have is the owner of the home communicating with one or two smart devices to carry out a particular task at a time.
Some manufactures like Samsung who are already in the manufacture of household appliances, have created smart appliances that can communicate with one another. This has limited their use to their customers.
While others like Amazon Alexa have allowed manufacturers to integrate their voice activation software to their own smart products.
Presented below are some of the most prominent smart home appliances you will find today. These are seen in the control lighting, home entertainments, home security, home appliances, etc.

Smart Wifi LED light bulbs.

For your smart home lighting, what do you actually want? Bright lights, colored, dimmable, voice control, multicolor, change intensity of brightness, turn on and off while away, schedule your lightings, control from anywhere with your smart phone ( Android or IOS)? I guess you want your smart home to have all these.
The Kasa Smart Wi-Fi LED Light Bulb by TP-Link – Soft White, Dimmable, A19, No Hub Required, Works with Alexa and Google Assistant, can do all these and more. It installs like your ordinary light bulb. It is easy to connect to your home Wifi so you can control it with your smart phone.
This smart wifi LED light bulb works with any Wi-Fi router (2.4GHz Band) without the need for a separate hub or paid subscription service.

How to get started.
1. Download TP-LINK Kasa from App Store or
Google Play.
2. Connect mobile device to your 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network.
Note: The Smart Bulbs only support 2.4GHz networks.
3. Launch Kasa and follow the in-app instructions to
connect the Smart Bulb to your home network.

Best Alternatives to Kasa Tp-link smart bulb.

Best AlternativeSecond Alternative
smart home lightingOne of the best alternative to the smart Tp-link led bulb is the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 60W Equivalent Dimmable LED Smart Bulb. While they can basically do the same things, here are the differences between them.
Voice control. The Philips hue works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Homekit while Kasa smart works with Alexa, Google assistant and Microsoft Cortana.
Dimmer switch. You don’t require a dimmer switch to use the kasa while you require one, sold separately, to use the Philips hue for dimming your lights.
Hub. The Kasa LB100 works with any Wi-Fi router (2.4GHz Band) without the need for a separate hub or paid subscription service. But the Philips hue requires a hub. This hub thing could be a pain because everything has to connect through it
Tab content


Smart wireless home outlets and plugs

best smart home lightingWhen we talk about smart home, nothing beats turning on and off your electronic appliances from where ever you are. Whether you are at the office or on the road, you can conveniently turn on or off your electronic gadgets using smart wireless home outlets and plugs. One of the most versatile of these kinds of home gadgets is the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug HS 100 by TP-Link. It works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana. This means you can control it with your voice in the home.
You can control this wireless smart plug from anywhere using the Kasa app which is compatible with Android and IOS devices (Compatible with Android 4.1 and higher or iOS 9 and higher ). However, it should be noted that it requires a secured 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network connection.
You can have this smart plug put on a group of appliances at a particular time of the day. For example, when you are homeward bound you can schedule to have those appliances that you will immediately use when you get home come on a few minutes before you are home. So you don’t have to go from room to room putting on these electronic appliances.
Also when you are away from home, on holiday or business, you can have your lights switch on and off at schedule intervals, to make it appear as if somebody is home.
This smart home wireless plug also gives you peace of mind and saves energy with it’s countdown timer feature. Simple set a appliance to time down and go off and you know you will never worry again about leaving the appliance on unnecessarily.
Finally, the Kasa Smart app allows you to add as many smart plugs as you want to track multiple appliances.
PROS.
1. Remotely control from anywhere
2. Can group appliances for easy scheduling
3. Easy to setup and use
4. Can use voice control with Alexa
5. Does not need a hub
6. Can relocate smart plug without losing settings
7. Good price.

CONS.
1. Limited capabilities with Alexa.
2. Makes the other outlet unusable whether plugged into upper or lower outlet.

How to get started.
1. Download TP-LINK Kasa from App Store or
Google Play.
2. Connect mobile device to your 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network.
Note: The Smart Bulbs only support 2.4GHz networks.
3. Launch Kasa and follow the in-app instructions to
connect the Smart Bulb to your home network.

The best alternatives to the tp link smart plug.

Best AlternativeSecond Alternative
The best alternative is the Wemo Mini Smart Plug, Wi-Fi Enabled, Works with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Both smart plugs have almost identical features. So you could use either of the two. However, the wemo mini smart plug also works with IFTTT, which allows you to connect with many other web applications. It also works with Nest. Nest can sync with Wemo for automatic home/away control .
it also differs from the tp link smart plug, in that you can stack two wemo mini smart plugs in one outlet
Tab content

Best smart thermostat for multiple zones

best smart home thermostatIf you are looking to control the temperature in your smart home and save on energy bills at the same time, then look no further than the Nest (T3007ES) Learning Thermostat. It meant for Easy Temperature Control for Every Room in Your House, and works with Alexa for voice control.
It is called a learning thermostat because it adapts to how you use it. So that you don’t need to subsequently program it. You then set it on auto-schedule and it programs itself. It does this after a few days of manual adjustments by you. It learns your lifestyle.
It can anticipate when you would want to turn the temperature up, to help keep you cozy in the morning, and set the temperature down as you head to bed. The Thermostat also works in combination with your Nest Cellphone App. Remotely change the temperature so that your house can be warm when you come home or, turn the temperature down to save energy while you’re away.
You can change the temperature of your smart home from anywhere using your phone, tablet or laptop.
When researching this, I did notice a huge price difference between this thermostat and the programmable thermostat like the Honeywell Wi-Fi 7-Day Programmable Thermostat (RTH6580WF), which also works with Alexa. The difference is almost $150. Something to think about.

PROS.
1. Uses voice control
2. Can be programmed to work while away from home
3. Well built
4. Learns the way you use it.

CONS.
None

The best Alternative to Nest smart learning thermostat.

Best AlternativeSecond Alternative
best smart home thermostatAs you can see above there is no con for the Nest smart learning thermostat. That does not mean it is a perfect smart device. Every device will only satisfy a few situations perfectly but not all situations perfectly. For this reason we should always look at alternatives that will satisfy our situations.
One very good alternative to the Nest is the ecobee3 Smart Thermostat & 3 Room Sensors.
Firstly, ecobee3 works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Microsoft Cortana, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, IFTTT. That is, all your smart assistants.
Ecobee3 also work with many residential HVAC systems. However, if you are not sure if your system is compatible, simply use the compatibility checker on their website.
Tab content

Smart home wifi deadbolt smart locks

Best smart home smart locksIs a smart home complete without a smart lock? Definitely not. Security wise, the lock is the most important device in the home. it is from where the intruder most likely will like to gain entrance to the home. So fortification of it, with a smart lock is the ideal thing to do. For a smart home lock, integration with other smart home security appliances is important. For this reason, the Schlage Z-Wave Connect Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt with Built-In Alarm, Satin Nickel, BE469 CAM 619, is a very good choice indeed. It works with Alexa via SmartThings, Wink or Iris.

With this home smart lock, you don’t need to use your keys. Issues such as misplaced or forgotten keys are not experienced. You can go keyless. This is a high grade security smart lock system.
It has a audible alarm which alerts to three types of alarms. 1. When there is activity at the door, 2. When the door handle is touched and 3. When the door is opened.

You can also conveniently operate and manage it from anywhere when it is connected to your smart home automation system with it’s Z-Wave Technology. Using just your computer or smart phone, the Schlage Z-Wave Connect Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt lets you open your front door for anyone remotely. It is one of the most powerful ways of controlling your home. With support for most smart home appliances like thermostat, lightings, locks, cameras, etc.
On the face of the ,lock itself, it has a touch screen that is finger print resistant, so intruders cannot detect numbers being used due to constant usage. Each member of the family can have their own 4 digit code for utmost convenience.
And when the battery is low, it gives an alarm.

Pros.
1. Very well built
2. Control from anywhere
3. every family member could have their own entry code
4. Has z-wave technology allowing it to connect to your smart home appliances
5. Keypad is smudge resistant

Cons.
1. May gather moisture in humid weather.

Alternatives to Schlage Z-Wave Connect Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt smart lock

Best AlternativeSecond Alternative
Best smart home smart locksThe alternative to the Schlage Z-Wave Connect Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt, is an equally versatile smart lock for your home, the August Smart Lock Pro + Connect, 3rd gen Technology – that works with Alexa.
The alternative does all the basics of a smart lock with a little twist here and there. For example, the August smart lock pro installs very easily. Probably in under 10 minutes and you can use your existing deadbolt. So in a little time you can turn your door into a smart door lock.
With it’s proprietary DoorSense technology, you know if your door is completely closed and locked.
For voice control, it works with Alexa, Siri and Google assistant.
Tab content

Best smart home security cameras

best smart home security camerasLooking for an all round smart home security camera, the Blink XT Home Security Camera System with Motion Detection, Wall Mount, HD Video, 2-Year Battery Life and Cloud Storage Included, could end your search. This is a weatherproof, indoor or outdoor smart security camera. It has motion detection, wifi cameras, simple to install and use, HD quality video and with free cloud storage.
Once motion activity is detected you are alerted over wifi on your smart phone. You can use up to 10 blink cameras to ensure coverage of the whole home. You can listen to live audio, watch live video, take a snap shot ( good quality pictures). Also with the Blink XT infrared night vision camera whatever happens at night is not lost on you.
The blink home security system also integrates completely with Alexa products. So if you own the echo, echo dot, Amazon tap you can control your blink using your voice.
It runs on 2 AA batteries that the company says last for 2 years. You don’t, require any subscription for cloud storage. It is free.

PROS.
1. Easy to use and install
2. Good price
3. Free storage
4. Has infrared night vision
5. Individual cameras can be armed or disarmed manually or on a schedule.

CONS.
1. Audio is one way. You can hear but you can’t talk back.
2. It has flimsy mounts

Alternatives to Blink XT home security camera system

Best AlternativeSecond Alternative
Best smart home security camerasThe best alternative to blink XT home security camera system is the Amazon Cloud Cam Security Camera. It also works with Alexa. This offers all the basics of a security camera like the Blink XT does. However, the audio is two way. Which means with the Cloud Cam’s built-in mic, you can talk to the persons at the other end through the cloud cam app. Also you can ignore what I will call false alerts. Like the motion of a bird. Instead capture real persons activities for alerts. However, you will need a subscription to the cloud cam for this.
You can also create zones in and around your home to ignore. So that any motion activities in these zones are ignored by the camera.
Tab content