Creating a smart home for beginners

How to make your home smarter
How to make your home smarter

A connected home adds convenience and efficiency to your life by helping to automate minor tasks and chores. In other words, it will help you put some of your daily routine on autopilot so you have more time to do the things you love.

How can this technology be applied to your home? You might already be familiar with some common smart home devices – such as smart lights and thermostats. But there’s a whole plethora of devices coming online. Here are some examples of smart home components and what they can do:

  • Lighting – Interior and exterior lights can be commanded by voice, programmed to turn on when you arrive home, or scheduled to come on at dusk and switch off just before sunrise.

  • Entryways – Doors can be locked and unlocked using voice commands. Video doorbells let you see who’s approaching your home. Garage doors can open automatically when you pull into the driveway.

  • Kitchen – Coffee makers can be scheduled to start brewing as you wake up. Dishwashers and washing machines can send you an alert once the cycle is complete.

  • Entertainment – TVs can be controlled with your voice. Stereo systems can be programmed to turn on when you enter a room.

  • Family & pets – Smart indoor cameras can let you know the kids have arrived safely home from school. Intelligent baby monitors allow you to keep an eye on your newborn from the next room. Smart pet feeders let you refill the dog’s bowl when you’re away from home.

  • Landscaping – Robotic lawn mowers can mow the lawn for you. (Yes, really.) Sprinkler systems can adjust watering based on the weather.

Almost all of these devices can be controlled from your smartphone, and many of them can be controlled with voice commands through a smart speaker. You’ll need to do some setting up, but once you have everything in place, it works almost like magic.

Here are just two examples of home automation using intelligent devices:

  • Let’s say the hallway to the kids’ room is dark and you can’t reach the light switch since your hands are full with a bunch of their toys. Instead of dropping everything to the floor and fumbling around for the switch in the dark, you could simply tell your smart speaker, “Hey Google, turn on the hallway lights.” And, presto – the lights in your hallway will turn on at your command.

  • Or, imagine you’re home with the kids, preparing dinner and waiting for a load of laundry to finish in your smart dryer. With the proper smart-device setup, you can tell Google Assistant to tune to your children’s favorite Netflix show using Google Chromecast Ultra, walk you through a five-star recipe for Chicken Paprikash, and re-run the dryer cycle so your clothes won’t wrinkle while you work on dinner – all without lifting a finger.

To see some concepts come to life, visit the Fios Smart Home page.

A single smart device in your home can do some pretty neat things. But when you start stringing together lists of actions through a smart hub, that’s when it gets really interesting. For instance, you can create an advanced setup where as soon as you pull up to the house after a hard day’s work, the garage door opens, the lights come up and your favorite Spotify station starts playing on your stereo system, all while the thermostat adjusts your home to the perfect temperature for your arrival.

The possibilities are almost endless. Just keep in mind that features vary depending on brand and model of device.