Building a Smart Home From the Ground Up

first_img I’ve been loving my year-old IKEA remote-control lighting kit. And Alexa on the Amazon Echo has been a good friend during our first weeks together.But I don’t know if I’m ready yet for a truly smart home: learning thermostats, video doorbells, smart locks, Bluetooth-enabled cookers, robot vacuums.The Internet of Things is growing so quickly, it’s hard to keep up; for someone who is easily overwhelmed by too many options. Smart homes, frankly, scare me.AdChoices广告Don’t let my silly fears over an automated lifestyle spook you, though.Building your own smart home is easier than it sounds: Like an actual house, you’ll need a foundation—or, in this case, a hub. The Wink Hub 2 connects to a mesh network, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi and works with everything from lighting to cameras to speakers.Amazon’s Echo family of devices (Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Spot, Echo Show) are a great add-on. User-friendly and expandable, the speakers pair with If This Then That (IFTTT) to create “recipes” for controlling gadgets with your voice.Establish a routine, for example, that turns off your Philips Hue lights whenever your Nest thermostat goes into Away mode. Or set specific triggers for when you (er, your mobile phone) arrive at or leave the house.The Apple HomePod and Google Home are also fairly foolproof alternatives.For do-it-yourself types, Raspberry Pi is a burgeoning option. The tiny computer has been used to power a wearable computer, racing robot, Nerf Blaster (that can ID a target’s face), mini Game Boy, pocketable PC, and nostalgic arcade stick.Now, you can link it with the open-source Talking Pi extension to manage lights, plugs, and devices via voice commands. Or pick up one of Google’s AIY (“Artificial Intelligence Yourself”) Pi-friendly kits for personalized programming.And that’s just the beginning. From there, folks can bulk up their smart home with surveillance cams, locks, heating and cooling, lighting, kitchen appliances, sweepers, outdoor tools, and even health and fitness accessories.For more, see PCMag’s lineup of The Best Smart Home Devices of 2018.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target Geek Pick: Amazon Smart Plug Puts Alexa in Your WallsGeek Pick: Sengled Smart Wi-Fi LED Has Multicolor Beauty and Brains last_img