How to transform your house into a smart home

8 MinsMarch 02, 2020

You spend a lot of time and effort in the maintenance and upkeep of your home. Now it is time to let your home take care of you. The convenience that smart home devices bring to daily life is extremely desirable. Smart homes today are within the grasp of ordinary consumers by being both affordable and easy to set up. Before we show you the different ways you can convert your entire smart home, there’s one important concept to be understood: a smart home platform.

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The right platform

Simply put, a smart home platform is a thread that ties the multiple devices and aspects of your smart home together. Without it, your devices will still be smart but will have to be controlled individually. When a device boasts compatibility with one of these platforms, it’s telling you that it will work well with other devices within the same ecosystem, ensuring things like “routines” (sequence of actions across multiple smart home devices) will be possible. The choice between these largely depends on which ecosystem you’re already invested in through other components like the smartphone you’re using, a smart speaker you already own, etc. Keeping that in mind, let’s look at particular devices.

Smart Appliances

One approach to giving your home a smart upgrade is to get appliances and devices that already have smart features. For instance, a smart AC could turn on when you’re 15 minutes away from home, bringing the room to the exact temperature you want. A smart coffee maker could have your favourite brew ready by the time you wake up.

You can even switch your regular lights for smart lighting, which can be controlled and customised to a great degree. Smart bulbs from reputed brands can start as low as Rs.500.

Entertainment

Smart TVs are extremely popular today. Apps from popular streaming services are nearly a standard feature, and connectivity with smart home platforms is also gaining traction. This enables you to control your TV through a central hub or a digital assistant on the platform. TVs that support smart assistants today start from as low as Rs.13,000.

Similarly, smart speakers starting around ?3,500 will allow you to control music, listen to the news, and use your voice to control other smart devices that it is connected to. Even headphones with digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant on board are readily available at around Rs.5000.

Security

Home security has benefited the most from the advent of smart homes. Smart IP cameras that can be accessed over the internet, either through an app or the web, are available online for around Rs.3,000 from reputable brands. These cameras even come with motion sensors that can start recording (and alert you) when an unknown presence is detected.

Parents can install baby monitors with internet connectivity features. The features range from as simple as motion detection to as complex as sleep data analysis. You can even go for motion sensors that alert you when a particular door or window is opened. For advanced door security, video doorbells and fingerprint activated door locks are also available. A reliable video doorbell and good smart locks with fingerprint sensors can cost around Rs.15,000 and higher.

[Also Read: Renovate your home in style]


Smart Switches and Plugs

You can ‘convert’ your regular devices into smart ones at a fraction of the cost by opting for smart plugs and switches. These will allow you to turn on your devices remotely, and even schedule their operations. Certain smart remotes with Infrared sensors can be programmed to control non-smart devices, like a regular AC, over the internet. There are even devices to convert regular speakers into smart speakers with voice assistants.

Pricing

You can get basic smart devices without spending much, but such they may not have the full feature set you desire. It is therefore recommended to go with devices that offer more smart capabilities or bring entirely new functionality. For instance, a smart display hub adds a display to the features that a smart speaker offers already, allowing you to interact visually with your home. Premium smart display hubs around ?20,000 can double up as a capable source of entertainment as well, and even basic models can cost up to Rs.10,000.

For large appliances that don’t compromise on features, the jump in price is quite steep. A French-door smart fridge with a smart display from a leading brand can cost around Rs.2.7 lakh. Along with sensing the contents of the fridge, it comes with features like synced notes from multiple phones, streaming entertainment and more. The trend is similar in other areas of your smart home as well.

If you plan to go for a single purchase but have budget concerns, consider using your Axis Bank Credit card that offers great benefits on online shopping and can help you with the option of converting your purchase to EMI. Browse through offers for your Axis Bank Credit Card here. Alternatively, if you’re going for a complete overhaul of your home, you might need to push your budget further, and a personal loan is a safe way to go about that without endangering your finances immediately.

How it all comes together

There are a few basic things that you must ensure for your smart home setup to work. For starters, a strong and fast Wi-Fi network is a necessity for a smart home. Between your laptop, smartphone, TV, gaming console and more, your existing Wi-Fi router is probably quite taxed already. Hence you might need to upgrade your connection as well as your router. Better yet, go for mesh networks that – although a little pricey – can bring just the all-encompassing connectivity that your smart home needs.

Many e-commerce platforms today offer easy kits and combos for smart home devices. These could be generic, like a voice control speaker paired with a smart bulb, or use case-specific, like a doorbell and a security camera that work well together.

This is also the part where the decision about your smart home platform plays an important role. Devices that are compatible with the same ecosystem are easier to set up and are capable of greater interoperability. Installing a few apps and linking few accounts is all it takes for seamless access to your entire home.

Disclaimer: This article has been authored by Siddharth Parwatay, a Mumbai based independent tech-journalist, editor, and content-creator. Axis Bank doesn't influence any views of the author in any way. Axis Bank and/or the author shall not be responsible for any direct / indirect loss or liability incurred by the reader for taking any financial decisions based on the contents and information. Please consult your financial advisor before making any financial decision.