IS MY SMART HOME FAMILY & GUEST FRIENDLY?
You're either planning your Smart Home or you have already started off on your journey.
There are so many different ways and means to "Automate" or add "Smarts" to your system but have you stopped to consider how other family members or guests will interact with the "Smart Home"?
You as the creator, the one that set it all up and named all the devices, you will have all the power, all the knowledge and control.
There are a few things to consider and a few ways to improve the way the house responds to the needs of everyone.
With the cost of Voice control devices at an all time low and their recognition technology now at a point where they are actually able to understand most people speaking in their regular accent the "Voice Control" market has literally exploded.
By the end of 2018, a poll by BitDefender found the average Smart Home contained 11 IOT devices. Each one of them being given a name such as "Steve's Lamp", "Kitchen Strip Lights" or whatever weird or wonderful name the owner creates.
Often you start with one or two devices with funny or simple names, but by the time you end up with a house full of devices you need to remember what you named them all, and you need to teach others.
Standardising the names of items through the different rooms can make a huge difference to how you and others are able to remember.
An method of naming convention is "Room", "Position" & "Name". A few examples being...
"Living Room", "Main", "Lights"
"Kitchen", "Counter", "Lights"
"Master bedroom", "Desk", "Lamp"
This should make it really easy to explain to visitors, guests, babysitters and also for small children to remember the naming convention.
THE DRAWBACKS OF SMART BULBS
Smart Bulbs are a great and easy way to add smarts to your lighting and definitely have their place within the Smart Home.
What most people who dive into Smart Technology forget is that they are removing the ability to use the wall switch when using them with Ceiling and Wall lights.
A complaint we often hear is "my partner/parent/child is always turning my Smart Bulb off at the wall".
One way around this is to remove the Switch Completely and put a Blanking plate in its place. This means the light can only be controlled by your App, Automation or Voice control. This works well for some people and is a viable options, maybe not the most guest friendly, and also if your chosen provider is Cloud Based or there are issues with your Smart Home gateway you have no control at all!
We would always recommend having a manual operable Smart Switch where possible rather than a Smart Bulb, as this leaves the option to simply use the switch if you have no access to the Smart Home controls.
Items like Kinetic Switches, WiFi or MiHome Switches are manual switches with Smarts included, if you would rather use your own Decorative Switches you can use Smart Modules hidden behind the existing switch.
Having a single centralised control with clearly laid out pages can make controlling or checking the status of your home a breeze.
Apps for your various Smart Systems can be hosted in one place, but better still if you choose an advanced Smart System such as Zipato or Homeseer you can use their system to centrally manage your third party systems through theirs.
There are also third party Apps designed for integrating the products of multiple manufacturers. One of our own favourites is Imperihome with which you can create beautiful screens that are simple to use.
Again naming convention should apply to Tablet Screens as it does with Voice Control, guests should be able to easily navigate the pages and understand what they are looking at.
One way to make things easy for yourself and guests, and potentially future owners of your home if you decide to leave your Smart Home System is to document the system as you build it.
Creating a Word Document that you could print at any time with the layout and commands, names and positions of items in the system can make life easy for your future self, or your spouse, guests or home buyers.
The list could also include information such as a table of Equipment, IP Addresses, Names of Apps and other information that help out.
We have been involved with AirBnB owners who have added Smart Home systems to their rental properties. As part of the system they recorded info into a manual and both emailed it to Renters as well as leaving a laminated copy in the property.
Whatever you decide to do to make your Smart Home easier remember one key thing, it's YOUR home.
Do whatever way makes the most sense to you and helps bring you the maximum pleasure.
We at Home Control Shop have had lots of fun trying to invent new ways to interact with our homes, from making funny routines with "Alexa" where certain commands will turn off the lights, open the window and play a song to one phrase turning off most of the lights in the house at bed time.
There are literally thousands of ways to interact with your Smart Home, we hope we can help you offering a few of them!