The Secret to DIY Smart Home Installation: Know Your Technology

Homes are becoming smarter with each passing day. In fact, the smart home market is such that builders are now integrating smart home technologies into their new homes. For those of us with older homes, making them smart means either working with a contractor or entertaining a DIY installation.

DIY smart home installation can be a lot of work. But it can also be fascinating and fun. Learning how to install smart home components means learning a new skill. It means working with all sorts of electronic gadgets you may have never seen or worked with before.

Vivint, a nationwide supplier of smart home and security equipment, says the key to DIY success is knowing your technology. That makes sense. Technology is the heart of the smart home concept. If you don’t know what you’re dealing with, how well will your installation actually go?

Communication Technologies

Some DIY enthusiasts choose to start with connection technologies. Why? Because there is more than one way to:

  • connect all the start devices on your network, and
  • connect the entire system to an external service provider.

In terms of connecting devices to your home network, the most common option is wi-fi. It works well because nearly every home in the US is equipped with a wi-fi network. Wi-fi is how we get online. However, it is not the only network communication protocol. There are others to choose from.

As for connecting with an external service provider, this only applies if you are adding home security to your smart home system AND you want the security devices monitored by a remote monitoring service provider. In such a case, you have three primary options:

  • Landline telephone
  • Broadband internet
  • Cellular connection.

The landline option should be pretty obvious. Although landlines are arguably nearing their end of life, people still utilize them. Home security and automation systems can be easily connected to a landline for remote monitoring.

For the broadband option, you are essentially using your home wi-fi network to connect your system online. All the communication goes through your router. If you were to choose a cellular connection, your home automation system would use the same network technology as your cell phone.

Device Technology

Next up is device technology. Needless to say,the number of smart devices available to consumers continues to grow. Virtually any device in your home that runs on electricity can be connected to a smart home system – at least for purposes of powering on and off. But there is a whole boatload of devices with tons more functionality:

Smart Locks

Smart locks are electronic locks for a home’s exterior doors. They tend to be keyless, with entry being gained through a keypad or mobile app. The beauty of the smart lock is that it can be accessed remotely. It can also be monitored so that you always know when someone is coming or going.

Video Doorbells

One of the first smart home devices to hit the market was the video doorbell. A video doorbell combines standard doorbell technology with a tiny video camera and onboard audio. It is a device that lets you maintain visual contact with the area just outside the door. You can even communicate with visitors using the onboard audio.

Smart Thermostats

Today’s smart thermostats have taken previous programmable thermostats to an entirely new level. Smart thermostats are programmable, but they can also artificially learn your routine for purposes of self-adjusting. You can even access a smart thermostat remotely – just in case you want to override programming.

Smart Lighting

Smart lighting is all about automating how you use the lights in your home. Smart lights can be programmed to turn on and off at specific times of the day. You can program different lighting scenes to accommodate special events like parties, movie nights, and so forth. You can even utilize motion-sensitive lights so that you never have to remember to turn the lights off when you leave.

Wireless Video Cameras

It is not unusual for an entry-level smart home system to include one or two wireless video cameras for security purposes. It’s so common that the smart home and home security concepts are quickly becoming one and the same. Regardless, today’s wireless video cameras can be accessed remotely. They can come equipped with motion sensor technology, infrared technology, night vision, and so forth.

Geofencing Technology

If there is one smart home technology that represents the current state of the industry, it would have to be geofencing technology. With geofencing deployed, you can program certain aspects of your smart home system to respond based on your physical location. As long as you have your smartphone with you, your system will know where you are and react accordingly.

It’s a Learning Experience

If nothing else, installing smart home devices represents a learning experience. You will definitely learn a few things if you go with a DIY installation. But even with a professionally installed system from a company like Vivint, learning opportunities abound. There’s just so much that smart home technology brings to the table.

Think about your own experience to date. If you have a smart speaker, like Google Home or Amazon Echo, you’ve already delved into the smart home arena. If you have purchased smart light bulbs you control with your phone, ditto. In both cases, you had to learn how the devices work.

Smart home technology continues to evolve. As such, so do the learning opportunities. With every new device comes more potential to make a home smarter, more efficient, more comfortable, and safer. And the key to making it all work is knowing the technology you are dealing with.

If you have been thinking about a DIY smart home installation, take the time to do some research up front. Get to know your technology options so that you can lay out a plan for getting your home hooked up. The more you know about the tech, the better off you will be when installation actually begins.

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