The Best Smart Home Security Systems for 2020

What’s the Best Home Security System?

The Internet of Things has made it easier than ever to set up a smart home in which you can remotely control your door locks, lights, thermostats, vacuums, lawn mowers, and even pet feeders, using your smartphone and an app. It’s also made it simple (and relatively affordable) to monitor your home from pretty much anywhere. Smart security systems are highly customizable and available as do-it-yourself kits or as full-blown setups that include professional installation and monitoring.

Five Tips for Making Your House an Energy-Saving Smart Home

The future we once envisioned is now becoming a reality.

Automation is a part of our daily lives and homes today, and we now have the power to control almost everything from our smartphones – from home security systems to entertainment like music and movies. Voice assistants, like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, are making these tasks even easier.

But did you know that the addition of smart home devices can make your home more energy-efficient and help you save loads of money over time?

Here are five simple tips on how you can make your house an energy-saving smart home:

1. Prevent energy vampires with smart power strips

Energy vampires can lurk in your home even when you aren’t aware of it. When electronic devices are plugged into your wall, even when powered off, they are still using tons of power.

Statistics vary, but the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory states that standby power consumption in an average home ranges from five to 10 percent of household energy consumption.

A smart power strip can manage these vampires by working hard to reduce power usage. They do this by shutting down power products that go into standby mode, saving some serious energy and cash.

2. Keep your home at a comfy temperature with a smart thermostat

When the summer heat rolls in, it’s tempting to blast your air conditioning unit in an attempt to stay cool. This method will seriously rack up your energy bill – but luckily there is a solution.

Smart thermostats are Wi-Fi-connected devices that automatically adjust heating and cooling temperature settings in your home.

Typical features include programming temperatures you prefer, developing an ideal automated schedule, providing energy usage data that you can easily manage and enabling control of your home’s temperature through your smartphone.

All in all, smart thermostats save the most energy by minimizing temperature swings by cutting on or off closer to the desired temperature than a manual thermostat.

3. Block the sun out with smart blinds

In the summer when the days are long, the sun shines into your home for a majority of the day. Smart blinds can make the most of the day’s natural light, while keeping out the rays at the hottest times.

Smart motorized window shades can help regulate the heat that a room typically experiences by opening and closing at regular pre-programmed times.

The blinds will know when to close during the hottest parts of the day to reduce the need for air conditioning. They are also programmed to open during a bright day in the winter to let the sun heat the room.

4. Control your lights with smart lighting

Remembering to turn the lights off when you leave a room can easily slip your mind when you are in a hurry. Luckily, with smart options, this won’t be a problem anymore.

A smart bulb is an internet-capable LED light bulb that allows lighting to be customized, scheduled and controlled remotely. For example, when you are vacationing this summer, you can program your lights so that you still come home to a lit house without wasting energy while you are gone.

While people may be turned off by the initial cost of bulbs compared to traditional light bulbs, they have a longer life expectancy and are proven to save you money over time. They are also very versatile and have many interesting customization options that you can play around with, like having them turn on automatically with your morning alarm.

5. Make daily tasks simple with smart appliances

Bidgely MobileWhat if your daily household chores didn’t have to be so time consuming? Smart appliances give homeowners the option to simplify their day-to-day life, while saving a bit of energy.

For example, smart dishwashers bring enhanced features to your standard dishwasher, including Wi-Fi connectivity and flexibility options such as voice controls. You also have the option to start wash cycles from your smartphone and monitor the performance. Alerts will be sent to your phone when a wash is finished or if there is a malfunction.

Smart microwaves can do more than reheat your leftovers. Just as with dishwashers, you can control the microwave from your smartphone and receive alerts when your food is ready. To save some time, you can scan the barcode on packaged food to download the proper cooking instructions for the particular product.

Finally, smart washers and dryers make laundry day simple by you more control over your laundry cycles. Like the other appliances, you can get alerts on your smartphone about the progress of the cycle, and these machines can also monitor your energy use and run cycles during off-peak hours to save on utility bills.

It’s not quite The Jetsons, but smart home technology has improved rapidly in the past few years. Use these five tips to simplify your day-to-day life, save on energy and perhaps save a bit of money too.

What is a smart home, and why should you want one?

What is a smart home? That seemingly simple question has many different answers, depending on who you ask. In short, a “smart home” is a residence equipped with a number of devices that automate tasks normally handled by humans. Some are built into the structure itself and some added later, and homeowners operate them with voice commands or by artificial intelligence.

For some homeowners, turning a house into a smart home can be as simple as buying a connected speaker. For others, it can involve linking several different products, including speakers, cameras, computers, smartphones, televisions, security systems, appliances, and more.

Why should I have a smart home?

Now that we’ve explained what a smart home is, why should you set up your house with smart or connected home products?
Saving energy (and money)

For many people, the driving force behind creating a smart home is the potential to save energy and money with automated heating and air conditioning systems. Smart thermostats, such as those made by Alphabet’s subsidiary Nest, quickly and precisely automate the heating and cooling of a home. This usually reduces the owners’ electric bill. Other products such as connected lights and appliances can use less energy by powering down when not in use. These kinds of products should be high up on anyone’s smart home checklist.

Better security and safety

While you can buy alarm systems to protect your home, smart homes can offer added security. Connected lights, cameras, and even doorbells can help make a home that much safer. If you’re home alone and someone is checking out your house to see if they can break in, having these kinds of devices might scare them off.

Handling regular household tasks

If you want to take some of the tedious tasks of home care out of your hands, connected and automated devices have you covered there too. The most obvious device is the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner from iRobot, along with similar products. However, appliances can also come with smart home functions. Picture a laundry machine that automatically starts a wash cycle, or fridge that orders milk online when it senses that you’re low.

Making the home more entertaining

What is a smart home if not also a place to hang out and relax? This technology can also keep you entertained and informed in new and exciting ways. Connected speakers, combined with AI-based digital assistants, can play music, offer news and sports scores, and can even help you control other connected devices as well. Connected devices can also find a good film to watch, either at home or in a real movie theater.

Your first smart home products

There are tons of products out there that can help make your home smarter. To help you get started, we’ve created a list of just five products we feel would be perfect for starting your journey into the world of smart homes:

Amazon Echo: Amazon just launched the second generation version of their main Echo connected speaker. Using the company’s Alexa digital assistant, it uses voice commands and automation to help you manage your home. Alternatively, if you are more locked into Google’s ecosystem, you might want to consider a Google Home.

Nest Thermostat: The leader in connected heating, Alphabet’s subsidiary has created a smart thermostat that keeps your house automatically dialed to temperatures you like. It can also respond to voice commands for both Google Home and Amazon Echo speakers.

Phillips Hue connected lights: The Hue lights, when connected to the Hue Bridge router, can not only customize the lighting in your house but can also be programmed and ordered to turn on and off when you need them to, thus saving you some money.

Ring Video Doorbell: This connected doorbell comes with a camera that allows owners with a smartphone or tablet to see whoever is outside their house. It also comes with a speaker that lets you chat with people outside the door if you’re not home. You can also check out the recently released Nest Hello video doorbell as well.

Nest Smart Camera: The Nest team, which recently merged into Google’s hardware division, sells a suite of smart home security cameras, some made for indoor use and some for outside the house. You can see and/or record any activity in your house with these cameras. Other smart home cameras are made by Amazon, with its Cloud Cam, and Logitech with its Circle 2 camera.
Read More about Smart Cameras

Samsung SmartThings Hub: If you want to have one central router that connects all of your smart devices together, you can’t go wrong with the third generation of the Samsung SmartThings Hub. It supports nearly all wireless protocols, along with Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands and more, for easy home automation.