Smart home technology can seem foreign to those who have never used it. However, figuring out what smart home devices you need doesn’t have to be a stressful process. As an installer of smart home devices, we found these areas to be the best places to start for first time smart home technology users.

Installing the Right Wi-Fi Connection

The right Wi-Fi connection is key to properly automating your home. Most routers will create both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless networks and you will need both. If you just create a 5GHz only network you will have devices like printers, thermostats and garage door openers that will not be able to connect consistently if at all.  Do your research or consult with a professional on making certain your network is solid.  Poor performing automation systems are usually related to bad network design or implementation.

Save Money and Energy with a Smart Home Thermostat

The biggest reason to install a smart home thermostat is for the energy cost savings. With a smart home thermostat, you can schedule your air conditioning or heating to run less while you’re away so you will use less energy by cooling your home only when you are in it. You can program your digital thermostat to kick in right before you are scheduled to return home, so that your home is cooled or heated to your desired temperature. Savings vary by brand of thermostat. Nest, one of the more popular smart thermostat brands, claims you can save around 15 percent on your air conditioning costs and 10 to 12 percent on your heating costs throughout the year.

Parks Associates: Smart Home Device Ownership

Installing Smart Lights

Choosing smart lights for your home can help you save money on your electric bill as these lights use LEDs which use less power. Smart lights provide you different lighting options for your home. Timers, color, ambiance and the ability to work with multiple devices are built into the application on your phone that you use to control the lights. You can connect these lights with your television to create a more theatrical viewing experience for watching your favorite movies. You can also connect these lights to your security system to turn on in case they sense movement.

Smart lighting systems range from relatively low cost to quite expensive depending on what you want from your lights. Deciding what features, you want from your lights will be the determining factor on the price range. The more features the more expensive.

Connecting with Home Assistants

Smart home assistants such as the Amazon Alexa, iHome Speaker and Google Home Assistant are easy ways to integrate smart technology into your home. These devices require you to use multiple voice commands to open apps, play music, control your lighting and television. When setting up your home assistant write down your voice commands and keep them in a safe place. You don’t want to forget the commands you programmed to your device. These devices are the easiest way to begin with smart technology and can integrate with most other smart home devices. Smart home assistants can often be found relatively cheap or on sale at a variety of locations.

When starting out with smart technology for your home begin by installing a few simple devices to help you get better acquainted with how they work. Once you get comfortable with the easy-to-use entry level devices then you can consider upgrading as you desire. Smart home technology is the way of the future, so it is best to get started now.


Jason Fischbeck is the President and Owner of Automated Environments, a smart home technology installer and provider located in Mesa, Arizona.