Smart Home Essentials 2019: what you need to know about modern-day smart homes

Updated a month ago 7 minutes

Smart Home has gathered a lot of interest lately. But what is it, and what is it useful for? What does Smart Home look like anno 2019? Let’s dive in.

Technology becomes more and more important at home. From your dishwasher to your TV, and from your smartphone to your audio system – it’s all powered by technology, which becomes more and more ‘smart’.

This technology can easily become overwhelming to use. At the same time, there’s often very little oversight. Are you sure you turned off the coffee machine? Is the security alarm really armed?

Smart homes exist to solve both these problems. For starters, they combine all your devices into a single smart home system like Homey. Controlling all your devices now becomes easy, as they are all in one place. Control your home via smartphone, voice control, remote, tablet or regular physical buttons.

Since your smartphone is one of these control options, you can access your home anywhere in the world. Use the app on your phone to quickly check if that coffee machine is really off. And if it isn’t, you can tap a button to power it down remotely.

Smart Home control app worldwide
Smart Home platforms like Homey put your entire home in your pocket

So in short, a smart home system like Homey centralizes home control and home monitoring. It solves the issues of complicated technology and worries. And then it adds a completely new possibility: home automation. Make your home perform tasks automatically, based on your wishes. For instance, you can make the hallway light up when you walk through it. Or make the curtains close when you start watching TV. The possibilities are endless.

Smart home applications

For every electronic device in you home there’s a smart option. Most brands focus their portfolio around a single application or product category. Examples include Sonos in music, Philips Hue in lighting, Somfy in motorized products and Ring in home security.

With these product categories, smart homes can be used with a number of different goals. You can use smart home to make your home more green and energy efficient, safe and secure, cozy and comfortable or simply more awesome.

smart home systems safe and secure
Smart home can be used to make homes safer and more secure

The idea of smart homes might make you think of people like Bill Gates or the Jetsons. It sounds futuristic, nerdy and expensive. However, nowadays smart homes become increasingly common. Popular brands like IKEA and Google are very active in smart home. And since modern smart home products are wireless and plug-and-play, installation can be done yourself.

A lot of smart home products are now priced similar to their ‘dumb’ counterparts. Take smart lightbulbs for instance. They are not that much more expensive than regular dimmable LED bulbs. Yet, they offer much more. Or smart alarm systems, which are priced in the same range as regular ones. In categories like thermostats, motorized blinds and even built-in dimmers, the price difference between smart and non-smart devices disappears quickly.

Sonos Smart Home speakers work perfectly with Homey
Sonos speakers are a popular example of smart home products

How it works

Smart devices becoming as cheap as ‘dumb’ ones, plug-and-play device options and a lot of popular brands to choose from… sounds great, right? So how does it work? And does every device magically work together with other devices, especially across brands?

Not always. To start simple – a smart home device needs some sort of connectivity. Wireless, of course, because we don’t want to be pulling wires to every single device in our home.

Wi-Fi is obviously a well-known technology for wireless connectivity. And quite some devices directly include Wi-Fi. Especially devices that need a lot of bandwidth like video streamers, voice assistants and audio systems use Wi-Fi. But there are more options. For energy-efficiency, range and reliability, we also have Zigbee, Z-Wave and 433MHz wireless technologies. And then there’s also still good old infrared, which your TV and stereo system probably use.

mesh networking in smart home
Wireless standards like Z-Wave and Zigbee let devices talk to each other

All these standards are used between products to talk to each other. They are different, and each one of them has its pros and cons. However, devices on different technologies cannot ‘talk’ to each other, nor to your smartphone. So, a lot of brands release ‘Z-Wave gateways’ or ‘Zigbee hubs’ to get their products on your Wi-Fi network, and on your smartphone.

This solves part of the problem. Still, you will end up with multiple hubs, gateways and apps on your phone. Every solution stays in its own brand silo. And it’s still hard to automate or get a complete overview of your home.

How to start with smart home

So where to start? How do you choose between these different wireless technologies? How do you create one system to manage your entire home? Of course if you start out you want to create a system that is versatile and future-proof, and which does not limit you to only a handful of devices or brands.

To solve this, there is Homey. Homey is a smart home system. It combines all these different wireless technologies into a single gateway. Homey contains Z-Wave, Zigbee, Infrared, and 433MHz technology next to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The system works with more than 50,000 devices from over 1000 popular brands, like IKEA, Sonos, Fibaro, Netatmo, Somfy, Xiaomi Aqara and many more.

Homey smart home system and app
Homey combines smart and wireless devices of all popular brands in one app

With Homey as a basis you keep your options open. In every single category of smart home, Homey works with many popular brands. All these brands and devices are centralized in a single app.

Use the Homey app to keep an overview of your entire home and all devices. Get insights in your energy consumption and generation through Homey Energy. And with Homey Flow you can automate your home. Easily make devices from different brands, and on different technologies, work together seamlessly.

Homey is the most user-friendly, powerful and versatile smart home system. It’s not designed to work with its own devices and sensors, but to work with the brands you know, love and probably already have.

So upgrade you home. Step in the future of smart home and discover Homey.

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