Home Smart, Not Hard

April 2, 2019
A new guide offers homeowners easy steps to smarten up their abodes, from checking WiFi strength and safety, to adding smart lights and speakers, whether or not to use a voice assistant, and operational peace of mind.
Photo: Unsplash/NeONbrand

A new guide offers homeowners easy steps to smarten up their abodes, from checking WiFi strength and safety, to adding smart lights and speakers, whether or not to use a voice assistant, and achieving peace of mind.

Often, one of the hardest questions a homeowner considering smart updates may ask is, "Where do I start?" Based on the guidance of architects and tech experts, a good place to start is to make sure the WiFi infrastructure is robust enough to support all the products which will rely on the homeowners' network. As well, says Mark Spates, senior product manager for Nest and Google Home in Mountain View, Calif., don't bite off more than can be chewed. Telling The New York Times, “Starting with one piece is the way to go." After all, that was his method, “I started my journey with a single smart plug.”

Just a few years ago, creating a smart home with coordinated controls for lighting, motorized shades, multiroom audio, and heating and cooling required an expensive, comprehensive home-automation system and a renovation. “When you used to think about these systems, it was very much high-end,” said Spates. “It was a luxury.”

Today, many of those functions are accessible through affordable, consumer-friendly products. You can pick and choose the functions you want and install many of the products yourself, without opening up any walls.

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