How to Start a Smart Home in 2020

If you've been curious about turningyour home into a smart home but if you don't know where to begin becauseeverything out there just seems kind of overwhelming with the amount of smarthome solutions out there, this is going to be the video for yo.

u My name is JoshTeder I'm from 6 Months Later and in this video I'm going to take you throughhow to start a smart home in 2020.

I'm going to take you through some of mypersonal experiences with smart home devices, as well as give you the latestinformation on what the smart home landscape looks like in 2020.

Let's divein.

When looking to turn your home into a smart home you can typically go toroutes, the first of which is a do-it-yourself route where you buy allof the different smart home devices you want, you set them up and then youconnect them all through a similar platform which is typically either theGoogle Assistant, Alexa, or Apple's Siri/ HomeKit.

The second route is touse an integrator.

These are companies that make home automation platforms andhave regional installers that will come out and install an integrated solutionfor you.

Some of the popular platforms that theseinstallers use include Control4, Savant, and Crestron, which all mainlytarget the luxury home market.

So which one do you go with? Well, it actuallydepends on a couple of factors.

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one, how many pieces of your home are youplanning to automate? Two, what's your budget, how much are you willing to spend?and then three, how comfortable would you be setting up all of this stuff yourself?The experiences with integrators in this space can vary widely depending on howtheir user interfaces are designed and the third party platforms they can workwith.

Thankfully things have been getting better in terms of what these systemscan actually integrate in to, but there's also been quite a bit of disruption forthe integrators coming from the larger tech companies.

For example, if you lookat the Google Nest page it's obvious that Google, with its Nest brand, ismaking a play to consumers who want the type of whole home solution that thetraditional smart home automation companies provide.

And now not just theluxury home players are offering in-home consultation services andinstallation services.

You've got some pretty big retailers in this space nowas well like Best Buy.

Best Buy will actually come out to your home and do aconsultation for free and they also offer paid installation services.

Theproducts that Best Buy will steer customers towards are products that aregoing to be more mainstream but perhaps not as fully integrated as the servicesfrom the high-end home automation companies.

Now for the rest of this video, I'm mainly going to focus on the mainstream consumer tech companiesbecause their products are the ones that I think most people are going toactually buy in 2020.

The first part in setting up one of these systems in 2020is choosing which core platform to go with that all of your smart devices willtalk to and will be the central point of control for your smart home.

The majormainstream platforms you can choose from out there are Amazon's Alexa devices, Google's Google Assistant devices, or apple's HomeKit-enabled devices.

Thereare others though like Samsung SmartThings, but I would consider Amazonand Google to be ahead in this space because of the dominance of their voiceassistant platforms.

Now luckily in 2020, most smart home devices now work withboth Amazon and Google's platforms and a lot of devices also work with Apple'sHomeKit.

Apple is actually the company that is going to gain the most out of anew alliance that was announced late last year between Amazon, Apple, Google, and ZigBee, called Connected Home Over IP.

This Alliance hopes to form a commonstandard for the smart home which should make the ecosystem as a whole lessfragmented, however, it will take years for this alliance and their new standardto be implemented, which is why my advice right now is to still go with Amazon orGoogle in 2020.

If you already have a lot of Apple devices though and want to stayin their ecosystem, that's certainly a reason to stick with HomeKit.

Ipersonally use the Google Assistant to run my smart home.

I do have Alexa andSiri / HomeKit as well so I could use any of the assistants, but Itypically find that the Google Assistant is more useful for my needs.

Once youdecide which core platform is right for you torun your smart home, now it's time to talk about the devices that actuallymake your home a smart home.

Typically you can divide the types of devices intoseveral main categories including: music, media, lighting, climate, security, andappliances / accessories.

First let's look at music with whole home audio.

Thisfunctionality allows you to play different music in different parts ofyour home.

Now typically through a voice assistant.

You have various options here.

Amazon, Google, and Apple, all make their own speakers that natively play musicfrom various music streaming services.

There are also third-party speakers andsystems you can buy from companies like Sonos and Bose that can work with allthree companies' platforms.

Some Bose and Sonos speakers will even allow you tohave Alexa and the Google Assistant directly on their speakers.

We've donereviews on quite a few smart speakers including the Google Nest Mini, Nest Hub, Nest Hub Max, Google Home, Google Home Max, and Amazon Echo.

The Nest Hub, NestHub Max, and Amazon Echo Show have the added benefit of having a screen on themas well, which makes controlling your media as well as your other smart homedevices even easier.

If you're interested in learning more about these devices, I'lllink our videos about them in the description below.

Next, let's take a lookat controlling your media rooms within your smart home.

Typically this involvescontrolling your TV and associated speakers as well as the lighting in yourmedia rooms.

we'll get to lighting though in just a second.

Right now, the bestintegration with your TV from the consumer companies would either comefrom Amazon or Google.

They sell devices that can control your TV, turn it on andoff with an assistant, as well as deliver content from all of the major streamingservices you'd expect and they're relatively affordable, only costingbetween 30 and 70 US dollars.

Google's chromecast in particular is prettypowerful thanks to its casting feature.

You can cast media from your Android, iPhone, or any Chrome browser over Wi-Fi to chromecast enabled devices whichmakes it easy to cast a media from phone to your TV and then pause and castit to your bedroom TV.

Google's newer versions of the chromecast devices canalso turn off and on your TV and receiver and other devices connected toit through a technology called HDMI CEC Amazons Fire stick also has this featureas well.

Amazon will even go a step further with integrations with receivers, sound bars, and TVs through its Fire Cube TV product which will switch HDMI inputsand other functions with your voice through Alexa.

Both companies allow youto use your voice to control your media hardware as well as tell either Alexa orthe Google Assistant what media you want to play on a specific screen.

Now theApple TV unfortunately can't be controlled to turn on and off your TVusing Siri.

Overall through, I quite like the Apple TV.

It has a dedicated remotewhich the Google Chromecast doesn't have, and it also has something similar tocasting called Airplay where you can stream media from pretty much any Appledevice with a screen to your TV.

Next up, let's talk smart lighting and thiscategory is pretty interesting because neither Amazon, Apple, or Google, producetheir own smart lights.

Unlike with the speaker and media device categories, there are generally two approaches to doing smart lighting in your home.

Youeither make the light bulb smart or you make the switch smart.

You can also use acombination of these two approaches because some light fixtures you findjust are not going to have a smart bulb equivalent to the ball that the lightfixture takes.

The main players in smart lights right now are Philips, GE, Lifx, IKEA, and Eufy.

These smart light manufacturers make LED bulbs that cantypically be categorized into three groups: plain white, bulbs that go fromdaylight to warm white, or multicolored bulbs.

These types of bulbs eitherconnect through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and some may require a hub that you willneed to connect to your Wi-Fi router.

Smart lights save you a lot of time andsteps throughout your house.

You can turn all of your lights off at night withjust your voice, you can make sure you turn them all off while you're away fromhome through the smartphone app.

typically you can createroutines with them so you wake up with your lights dimming up with sunrise colorsand you can usually set geofencing with your lights so they automatically turnon when you arrive home and turn off when you leave.

There are also otheraccessories you can get with your smart lights like wireless dimmer switchesthat you can assign to control a variety of lights in your residence.

Philips Hueprobably has the most accessories and different types of smart lightsavailable today and they're the brand that I have in my residence and we did areview of the Philips Hue lighting system, which if you're interested, I'llleave a link to that below.

For smart light switches some popular brands outthere are Wemo, Casa, Ecobee, and Lutron.

These switches connect to your home'sWi-Fi network and replace the switch you have in your existing wall, allowing youto either control the lights with the switch, a phone app, or with a smartassistant.

These are a great option if you're doing a home remodel or buildinga new home where you already need light switches anyways or if you just don'twant to or can't put smart bulbs into a fixture.

Next up, let's talk climatecontrol and mainly we're talking smart thermostats here.

These are thermostatsthat are Wi-Fi connected and can be controlled by your smart assistants.

Somepopular ones include the Nest Learning Thermostat made by Google, the Ecobee 4which Amazon has a sizable stake in, and various smart Honeywell thermostats.

Someyou can program like more traditional thermostats with weekly schedules, whileothers like the Nest, learn your usage patterns and use AI to predict what thetemperature should be set to.

Most of them now allow you to stick sensors indifferent rooms around your house to aggregate the temperature data in yourhome to give you a true home temperature.

Most smart thermostats will also workwith the big three smart assistant platforms and their installation ispretty easy.

Next let's talk smart home security systems.

Home security has beenaround for a while with brands like here in the US like ADT, CPI, and Brinks, butthere are also new players in this space now as well , that give a different typeof experience to their customers, allowing them to place sensors, basestations, cameras, and other equipment anywhere in their home that they want.

The three new main players in this space are Nest, Ring, and of course, SimpliSafe.

Each of these players does come with amonitoring service, but they're optional.

Nest's monitoring service is throughBrinks home security where SimpliSafe and Ring have their own in-housesecurity systems that are cheaper than the Brinks service, which is a bit morepricey.

With all three services, the types of devices offered are somewhat similar.

There is usually a home base, sensors for the doors and windows, motion sensors, cameras, smart locks, smart doorbells, and a key fob to disarm thesystem.

Do note none of these services offers long term contracts.

Besides themonitoring service and consumer tech focus, the other benefit of theseservices is that they typically integrate with the main platformassistants, so you can ask Alexa to arm your alarm, or ask Google to see thedownstairs living room camera etc.

Some of these services also offer smokedetection and water leak detection devices etc, they're not just keepingyour home safe from burglars but also safe from other issues that can affecthomeowners.

The last and final category of smart home devices is appliances andaccessories.

The basic concept is that these are smart devices like yourtypical home appliances such as your stove, refrigerator, washing machine, butalso home accessories that can connect to your smart home platform like smartblinds, robotic vacuum cleaners, smart scales, smart plugs, etc.

Smart accessoriesare typically going to cost you less to buy so if you're just starting yoursmart home, my recommendation would be to get some smart accessories first thatmesh with your smart home platform and then get appliances as you need themover time.

My go-to smart home accessory over the past few years has been smartplugs.

They turn any appliance into one that can be simply turned on or off byany of the major smart home assistant platforms.

They're especially handy whenit comes to the holidays for decorating.

For example, during the holiday season Iuse five to eight smart plugs from various companies to help link myholiday lights to the Google Assistant.

I group all of them into aroom called Christmas lights and then when I ask Google to turn on theChristmas lights they all turn on.

Once you choose your smart home platform andstart buying devices and accessories for your smart home, you're just going to beamazed at how easy it is to start automating some of the most mundaneaspects of your life.

Like turning off the lights in every room of your housewith your voice, or do things you could only have dreamed of years ago like athermostat that you never have to adjust because it's learned how you like tokeep the temperature in your home, moving through your house with the same musicplaying on multiple speakers in multiple rooms, or asking your smart assistant foryour Roomba to clean the kitchen after you've finished making dinner.

Smart homedevices have the power to really change your life for the better and they're animportant part of what we do here at 6 Months Later.

So if you'd like to learnmore about smart home products, make sure you're subscribed to our channel and ifyou have any questions about the smart home landscape or you want to see usreview a specific smart home product, make sure to leave a comment below.

Well, that's it for our video on how to start a smart home in 2020, I hope you foundthe information in this video informative and useful , and if you did, make sure to hit that thumbs up button below and of course subscribe to thechannel to see other videos like this one, and hit that Bell icon so you nevermiss out on another one of our videos.

Well that's it for me, I'm Josh Teder for 6 Months Later, thanks for watching.

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