If you’re a newcomer to home automation, what do you need to think about first?
Once you have a device or two installed, control will be your uppermost concern.
Assuming you have even a passing interest in smart home technology, you can’t have escaped the focus these days on voice control.
Is it any good, though?
Is voice control your only option and if not, is there a superior alternative?
We’ll break that down for you today in a bite-sized glimpse at how to control your smart home in the most effective way for your needs.
Voice Control of Your Smart Home
For some consumers, taking charge of smart devices with voice commands is indispensable.
Others take a more cynical view. Let’s face it, Amazon, Google, and Apple are all trying to sell us smart speakers not because we necessarily need a new speaker or we’re unable to use a light switch or an app. They’re selling these devices by the millions in order to lock consumers into their ecosystem for the long haul.
Which of those views you share will dictate whether you have even the faintest interest in using your voice to turn the lights off or the heater up.
If you are interested in pursuing the voice control route, is it difficult?
More importantly, is it really worth it?
How to Control Your Smart Home With Voice Control
If you’ve never experimented with home automation before, there’s not too much of a learning curve with voice control, so you’ll be up and running in no time.
Taking the helm with your voice is as easy as 1, 2, 3…
- Get a smart speaker
- Invest in a home hub
- Start speaking!
Get a Smart Speaker
The most complicated part of controlling your home hands-free is choosing a smart speaker or a smart display.
These devices come with a digital assistant on board, allowing you to get your devices popping with a series of simple commands.
You have three main options here:
Think about your other smart devices and do plenty of research to find which virtual butler will best do your bidding. There’s no right or wrong answer here. All we can do is repeat our advice to personalize every step of your connected home. Rather than seek boilerplate solutions, focus on your needs and find the solution that addresses them.
With your smart speaker or smart display in place, what’s next?
Invest in a Home Hub
Depending on how ambitious your plans are for your connected home, there’s little way around a home hub. Check out our study of the best hubs and why you need one.
The hub will act as a gateway and enable your voice, smart speaker and smart devices to all come together in perfect harmony.
With your device connected to your hub and smart speaker, you’re all set.
All you need to do is experiment with some simple commands and get more complex as you go.
Benefits of Voice Control
- Hands-free convenience is hard to beat
- You’ll be able to streamline your morning routine and save precious time when you’re stressed and rushing around
- No remote control required, no physical controller and no need for your smartphone by your side either
Drawbacks Of Voice Control
- You’ll need to invest in a smart speaker or smart display
- A hub is essential in most circumstances
- You won’t be able to control devices remotely
- Sometimes, the digital assistant struggles to hear you
App Control Of Your Smart Home
Maybe you look at that summary and feel voice control has little to offer you.
We get that.
So many manufacturers have an obvious vested interest, it’s hard to take what they say about voice control seriously.
We fully understand that for many consumers, physical control is still the preferred option. Luckily, that’s just as easy to get started with.
How to Control Your Smart Home In-App
- Download The App
- Consider If a Hub Is Necessary
- Control and Automate!
Download The App
All smart devices will come with an app for both Android and iPhone.
Simply download this and you’ll get some simple instructions to follow on-screen.
Each of your smart devices will come with its own discrete app and this will become your remote control for that particular smart device.
Our advice is to always download an app before you buy the device. That way, if you find any app doesn’t serve your needs or is not intuitive enough, you’ll find out before it’s too late.
What next, then?
Consider If a Hub Is Necessary
If you’re just looking to control one or two smart devices and you don’t need a remote control, you might get away without a home hub.
If you’re considering any kind of ambitious connected home and you want to stay in charge at a distance, invest the $100 or less in a solid hub and you’ll get far greater functionality from your tech.
Control and Automate!
With that groundwork laid, just grab your phone and start getting all your devices working together in perfect harmony with a tap and a swipe.
Benefits of App Control
- Enjoy full remote control of your smart devices
- More reliable than voice control
- Easier to schedule and automate in-app
- Can get by without a home hub
Drawbacks of App Control
- You don’t get the convenience of voice control when your hands are full or it’s dark and you’re approaching the front door
- Can be confusing for anyone not tech-savvy
Well, we hope this beginner-friendly snapshot of the differences between voice control and app-control has given you the basics to work from.
When you’re just starting out with home automation, it’s all too easy to be sold down the river and bullied into voice control. It might very well be that this type of control is not the best fit in your household. All you should focus on is whether or not it works for you.
We have some more beginner-oriented guides coming up over the rest of the month. Be sure to bookmark our blog for all the latest smart home news. If today has tempted you to get started with a smart device and perhaps an Echo or Google Home device, sign up for our email newsletter first. You’ll get 20% off your first order here at Smarthome, so what are you waiting for?