Shopping for Smart Home Products: What You Should Know When Choosing the Products for You
There’s no denying it anymore, the smart home market is emerging as a hot and growing sector that doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Even better for the energy-savvy consumer, these smart products are able to help you manage your home energy use and increase overall energy efficiency in ways that were never before possible.
From smart lights to smart thermostats to voice assistants and more, the smart home market is a force with which to be reckoned. If you’ve held off on jumping about the smart home bandwagon until now, it may seem intimidating to get started and know what to consider as you make your first purchases.
To help you get started, here are some key aspects to keep in mind when choosing the right smart home products for your newly (congrats!) smart home:
The first important aspect of smart home products to consider is that not all products in a given category are not created alike. Significant variance exists in what features are offered, and so it’s important to consider what you are hoping to do with the smart home product and make sure the product you are buying fits into that.
For smart lights, for example, some products offer color-changing abilities which can be deemed a desired feature while others only offer white light. Similarly, some smart lights offer the ability to dim them (which is a great way to save energy) while others only function as on or off. If these differences are important to how you envision using your smart home, make sure to clearly read the description of features on your smart light.
More generally, the features and way you interact with your smart products can vary from product to product. Some smart products will have a dedicated app that lets you control them, while others require integration with a dedicated smart home panel, a web portal, or something else. Consider how you want to interact with the product and read up on what each product offers.
More advanced features are also only offered by the most state-of-the-art products. Some products have built-in geofencing, for example, that can see when your phone gets within a certain distance and completes an operation based on that (unlocking the door or turning on the foyer lights, for example). With how quickly the smart home field is advancing, it’s important to look at the latest and greatest and determine if those features are ones of which you want to take advantage.
Compatibility with Each Other
Beyond just knowing what neat or useful features you want in your smart home product, an absolutely essential area of consideration is the compatibility. There are various different smart product ecosystems and communication protocols that might be used, and they don’t always play nicely together.
For example, smart home products from Apple will only worth with other Apple products, as they’ve created a closed ecosystem. On the other hand, the SmartThings smart home protocol from Samsung is built on a more open ecosystem that allows anyone to put out products or programs that operate with compatible products.
When you’re first starting off with your smart home, it’s important to recognize the potential for two products to not be compatible with each other and plan around that. You may want to identify what the most important part of your smart home is (maybe lights? Or maybe the security system) and build the rest of it using the appropriate ecosystem for that product. Luckily, manufacturers of these products make it easy to understand what a given device is and isn’t compatible with, and the packing will often include a note that this product ‘Works With’ which given ecosystems.
To make it even easier, many smart home manufacturers have also started to create product bundles to get you started that all work seamlessly together. You can get a foot in the smart home with these starter packages, and then they also offer add-on packages and again can leave the customer confident they are getting products that work together well.
For example, customers who start with the Atlantic Energy Smart Home Bundle, a series of products (including smart lights, smart cameras, and smart plugs) that are offered to customers for free just for being loyal customers, all the products are designed to work together seamlessly in the same home and controlled with the same app.
Integration with Voice Assistants
Voice assistants in just a few short years became the most widely sold smart home product on the market, thanks to the likes of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Luckily, there are many useful ways to integrate the rest of your smart home in with these voice assistants, even in convenient and easy ways to save energy.
For customers who already have a voice assistant and want to start adding other products into the mix, it’s important for them to make sure that those products work with their preferred voice assistant since compatibility again isn’t universal. The makers of the smart home devices again try to make this easy on you by putting notes on the box or online advertising regarding which voice assistants are compatible with their products, so be on the lookout for that. The Atlantic Energy Smart Home Bundle, mentioned before, is easy to set up and control with Amazon Alexa, providing ease of function and smart home integration.
Price vs. Function
Lastly, all of the various functions and features possible with smart home products, of course, come with a range of prices. The most basic smart products will be cheaper, and the state-of-the-art products will cost you more for the added abilities. For this reason, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution and each home must weigh their budget and what they are looking for out of the products.
Going back to the Atlantic Energy Smart Home Bundle, what could be a better price point than free. Just for continuing to purchase your home’s energy from Atlantic Energy, you’ll continue to get smart home products to add to your home over the course of two years.