We have been installing smart home devices for about 10 years now and they have improved dramatically as far as reliability and efficiency. I am sure you have heard or seen a lot about the smart home revolution in the past few years as more and more traditionally analog and disconnected devices have become endowed with Wi-Fi capabilities and complementary smartphone apps. But turning your house into a true smart home requires more than installing one or two connected devices. Today security systems, locks, doorbells, lights, and many other devices are going online. In this article, we’ll discuss 4 essentials that will get you started and show you the possibilities the smart home movement affords.

1: Video Doorbell

There are many of these devices on the market now that will not only notify you when someone is at your door but you can see them as well while away from your home. These video doorbells are the ‘eyes and ears’ of your front door’s access control. It’s part doorbell, part two-way communications device, part security camera—and it’s fully integrated into your security system.

When someone rings the bell, you see who’s there immediately in your smartphone app. You can have a two-way conversation with them through the doorbell’s speaker, whether you’re home or not. If you want to let them in and have the smart lock installed, simply click the ‘unlock’ icon on the same screen to open your smart lock.

The doorbell is also a security camera, able to record and send you video clips of activity at your door when motion detection is configured, so you’ll never miss anything important or suspicious that happens there. Ring and Vivint makes very popular video doorbells.

2: Smart Lighting

Smart lighting proactively protects your home by ensuring that after-dark visitors find themselves well-illuminated and visible from the street. Smart lighting devices can be triggered by motion on the porch, by someone ringing your video doorbell, or you can turn on lamps and lights with your smart phone manually.

3: Security Cameras

Another very smart technology that is essential for homes are security cameras. By installing cameras throughout your home they will enhance your family’s safety and protect personal items. Security cameras monitor home activity and potentially deter break-ins.

Outlined below are key considerations when purchasing home security cameras.

Security Camera Types

When choosing a security camera to protect your home, select a system that suits your home’s needs best. Factor in what type of home you have and how you will be using the security cameras. Camera type examples include:

  • Bullet: Designed to be mounted to point in a specific area, mostly for indoor use.
  • Day/Night: Primarily used for outdoor purposes, these cameras are built to adapt to natural lighting.
  • Dome: Built to spin quickly within its surroundings and not meant to be visible.
  • Infrared Vision: Designed to capture images in extremely dark conditions.
  • Varifocal: Allow operators to focus and zoom in on images.

3: Smart Thermostats

Among the earliest applications of smart home technologies was the smart thermostat, and over the years the devices in this category have grown more advanced. Smart home thermostats let you set temperature based on when people are home and when they’re away. In the summer, when outside temperatures are higher, you might, for example, want to set your thermostat at 68 degrees when you’re home and 78 degrees when you’re away. Instead of manually setting it, you can program a smart thermostat to automatically rise to 78 degrees by 8:00 a.m. when you’re off to work, and then start lowering to 68 degrees so it’s cool by the time you get home at the end of the day. You can also set the temperature manually from your smartphone while you are away from home which is an awesome feature within itself.