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Your Smart Home in 2024: Tips and Common Mistakes

Discover how to get started with home automation and create a smart home in 2024. I will provide you with useful tips and help you avoid the most common mistakes. Dive into the future of home living with me!

Hello! Do you want to make your home a smart home in 2024? Are you wondering what devices to buy, what things you should keep in mind, how Matter fits into all this? Let’s look at useful tips and the most common mistakes that usually occur when we start in this whole world. This article is for you if you are starting out, but also for you if you have been in home automation for a while. Get comfortable, let’s get started!

Design and Planning

The first step to creating a smart home is to design and plan. Before buying any device, it’s important that you think about your real needs. Do you need a smart thermostat or lock? Or maybe a voice assistant to control all your devices? Avoid the temptation to buy devices just because they are novel or trendy. Remember, home automation should make your life easier, not more complicated. Grab a pen and paper and think about everything you can automate in your daily life.

The Right Platform

The next step is to decide how you want to control your smart home. Are you going to use a hub, a specific system or a home automation platform? There are many options available, from open source systems to commercial solutions. Some platforms allow you to start with basic devices and add more features as you become familiar with the system. Also, it’s important that you check the compatibility between the devices you plan to use. Not all devices are compatible with each other, so make sure all your devices can communicate with each other.

Beware of Network Protocols

For example, if you decide to use Wi-Fi devices, you will likely need to improve your Wi-Fi network. Home automation devices can bring down your network. It is safest to change the Router that your company gives you to a better one.

Range of Wireless Devices

When choosing wireless devices, consider their range. Some devices, like those that use Zigbee or Thread, may have a limited range. However, you can use repeaters to increase the range of these devices. Remember that, in this case, only plug-in devices and neutral ones will act as repeaters. Check the specifications before buying them.

Device Compatibility

Even so, as I mentioned before, not all devices may be compatible with each other, make sure to choose a platform that meets what you need and is compatible with the things you need later.

If you buy a Zigbee Hub from one brand, it will not be compatible with devices from another brand, and you will end up with several Hubs at home. If you buy Wi-Fi, you will have to control each device with the mobile application of the brand, therefore, if you buy devices from several brands, you will have a lot of applications on the mobile that cannot connect some devices with others.

All this can be partly solved by a home automation platform like Google Home, Alexa, or Apple Home, but all communications will be through the manufacturer’s servers and therefore if for any reason the servers do not work, you will not be able to use the device.

Buy Known Brands

And this advice applies to the previous one, buy devices from known brands. Strange brands may come out cheaper, but you risk their servers and their applications failing, or stop working in a few months.

Matter, yes or no?

Matter is a new technology that promises to unify the world of home automation. However, it seems to be choking and not quite fine. If you decide to use Matter, you will need a Hub that acts as a server. Make sure to research well before taking this path.

Devices to Start

You can start by buying some smart speaker from the platform you have chosen, recommendation, try to choose the platform of the ecosystem you are already using. Example, if you have iPhone, Mac, Apple TV… Then it is most advisable to start with Apple Home.

You can also buy small devices that have many utilities in everyday life, like smart plugs, but keep in mind the load they support; for example, if you are going to connect a washing machine, or an electric radiator, check that the power does not exceed the maximum power that the smart plug supports.

Another cheap device with which you can start with home automation are the smart bulbs or led strips. I recommend them in those places in the house where we want to have different environments and we can play with colors or light intensity. Although they pose a problem. To be able to use it from the mobile, the bulb must always have power, that is, the room switch must always be on, if we turn off the switch, the bulb stops working altogether. The solution, cancel the switch and use only the mobile or a smart speaker to turn on the bulb, or complement the bulb with a smart relay, which complicates the installation.

If you don’t want to complicate yourself, you can install the bulb in a floor lamp or bedside table, always leave it on with the switch that these lamps usually have, and act on the bulb always with the mobile or with a smart speaker.

Don’t worry, we will see different solutions to this and other problems in other articles.

The Family and Visitors

The next tip, unless you live alone, take into account the rest of the family or people who live with you, and also the guests who may be in your house at any given time. Make sure everyone in the house can use and understand how the devices you have installed work, keep it simple. Also, it’s always a good idea to have manual control for the most important functions in case home automation fails. Make sure your system can work even when you’re not at home.

Many people like to see home automation as a complement, as an addition to the classic use that is given to the different functions of the house, for example, a switch continues to work as a switch, but it can also be controlled with the mobile or the voice, or even through some automation.

Documentation and Backups

In line with this, keep in mind that something might happen to you, or that tomorrow your house may be sold, don’t forget to document everything you do. This will help you remember how your system works and will facilitate troubleshooting in the future for you or others who have to maintain it.

Also, it’s important to make regular backups of your home automation system. This will allow you to restore your system in case something goes wrong.

Extra tip, always keep some spare device saved in case the one you have installed breaks, to be able to replace it quickly.

Conclusion

These have been some tips and mistakes that are usually made that I hope will help you start in home automation, and you? Do you have other tips and mistakes to share with the community? See you in the next article.