Now that you’ve mastered the fundamentals of custom smart homes setup, it’s time to step up your game. Many secrets aren’t mentioned in the guidebook or FAQs, ranging from easy recommendations to vital decisions that can save you from starting again from the beginning a few years later.
Here’s how to maximize your smart home, broken down into key recommendations and best practices on smart home automation in Toronto.
Pick a Master Platform
Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit are the three primary smart home systems on the market, and your smart home is likely to have at least one of them installed. Almost every big smart home gadget that comes to the market will support at least one of these three systems, if not all three.
Of course, these platforms are distinct. Alexa and Google Assistant are first and foremost voice assistants/smart speakers, but their ability to control your smart devices has become a major selling point.
HomeKit, on the other hand, is more of a hub that simplifies setup and management. However, because HomeKit works with Siri, it may also be used as a voice assistant if you have an iPhone or an Apple HomePod.
All three platforms will coexist amicably, but you don’t need both Alexa and Google Assistant in your home, and managing both will become a hassle as your smart home expands. It’s also perfectly acceptable to utilize HomeKit to set up products and then operate them with Alexa or Google Assistant. If you have one, you should utilize a HomeKit hub device (either an AppleTV or a HomePod) as it simplifies setup.
A Smart Home Hub Isn’t Always Required
Two wireless technologies, Zigbee and Z-Wave, were predicted to be the future of the smart home in the early days. These low-power radios include mesh networking capabilities that make it simple to blanket your entire home with smart devices without worrying about coverage gaps or congestion.
The biggest issue with Zigbee and Z-Wave devices is that they require a specific hub that functions as a bridge to your WiFi network, allowing you to communicate with them via a smartphone, tablet, or computer (both at home and remotely).
At the moment, Samsung SmartThings is the only worthwhile DIY product in this category; its only credible competition was Wink, which is currently on its third owner and has a shaky future at best. Although the Ring Alarm system has both Z-Wave and Zigbee radios, it is primarily designed for home protection rather than home control.
If your home-control goals are straightforward, gadgets (and the apps that control them) that connect directly to your WiFi network and integrate with one of the three platforms indicated above may be the best option.
Range Concerns Can Be Extremely Problematic
The disadvantage of using WiFi-only equipment is that everything in the house will need to connect to your router directly. Range issues can arise if your router is not centrally positioned and your home is dispersed, especially in high interference, such as the kitchen, bathrooms, and anything outside.
Before installing hardware, check your WiFi connectivity both inside and outside the house. Make a map of dead zones to see if you can live with them. If not, think about moving your router or upgrading to a mesh WiFi network with two or more nodes.
Interference can also be a bothersome issue that evolves. If your next-door neighbor upgrades or relocates his router, you may notice that a formerly stable signal has become inconsistent.
You can fiddle with the WiFi channel settings in your router’s administration console, but setting up a mesh network is safer. Orbi mesh nodes from Netgear can even be deployed outside to cover your backyard.
Smart home automation systems can be perplexing, especially given the number of gadgets available. We hope you find the site helpful in your hunt for the best smart home deals, and please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send us an email if you have any questions.
Smart Homes Pro is a local company servicing the GTA area in Toronto, and we are dedicated first and foremost to our customers. We provide Network & WiFi installation and configuration, Whole Home Audio, Home Theatre, Security & Surveillance, and Custom Smart Home Solutions. Reach out today for a free consultation on smart home automation in Toronto.