Smart homes were the things of science fiction or filthy rich, just a decade ago. Today, almost all homes have some devices that are smart and they don’t need an extensive set up to make their homes ‘Smart’. In this post, I will cover how you can convert your existing home set up without any major modifications into a smart home. And that too on an unbelievable budget.
A smart home refers to a convenient residential setup where appliances and devices can be automatically controlled remotely from anywhere with an internet connection using a mobile or other networked device.
For some homeowners, transforming a house into a smart home can be as simple as buying a connected smart speaker like Amazon Echo or Google Home. For others, it can mean connecting several different products, including speakers, cameras, computers, smartphones, tablets, televisions, security systems, appliances, and more.
I’ll show you how you can make your home smart on a budget. This in turn will help you control most devices in your home without even touching them. Additionally, it is scalable, which means you can keep improving and adding smart home capabilities as per your need. But for most the setup will be more than sufficient.
Devices that you will need to start building your smart home
Most people use smartphones these days, whether Android or iOS, both work equally good and you are all set to go.
Wi-Fi – Connectivity
You must have a working internet connection along with a Wi-Fi router to access it wirelessly. Yet you can also use 4G Wi-Fi routers but mobile hotspots are not recommended.
You may need to purchase a smart speaker to convert your sweet home to a smart sweet home. Keeping the budget and overall functionality in mind, you have two clear options here.
See the item here
It is undoubtedly one of the most comprehensive smart home ecosystems available today by virtue of its early-mover advantage. While you have likely heard of using Alexa in Eco-speaker form (“Alexa, what’s the weather today?”), you may not know that Alexa has the capability to control a lot of smart products, including thermostats (i.e. Ecobee4) and TVs (i.e. Fire TV).
Alexa makes every aspect of your smart home easy to access and control. You can use Alexa to speak to apps like Spotify just as easily as you can ask her to turn off the lights. Since Amazon’s ecosystem is one of the most prevalent in the industry, most smart products integrate seamlessly with Alexa, including products made by Philips, Samsung, Nest, and Schlage — meaning, Alexa can now close your garage, lock your doors, and adjust your home’s temperature. To know if Alexa will work with a certain device, just look for the ‘Works with Amazon Alexa’ tag.
Ultimately, Alexa’s ability to integrate and speak to most other smart devices and apps (Alexa has the most third-party integrations of any smart system) makes her one of the best choices for your smart home. Please note that many budget smart home devices and gadgets have compatibility with both Alexa and our nest smart speaker choice — Google Home.
If there’s any true runner-up to Alexa, it’s Google Assistant. Even though Google Assistant has fewer third-party integrations at the moment, it can often answer questions and complete commands Alexa can’t, thanks to Google’s major ownership of the search engine space.
In the Indian context too, Google Home is slightly better at recognizing voices, however, Alexa’s Hindi recognition is better. Based on analysis by PCmag Google Assistant is much better at handling free-form, web-based queries than Alexa is. Alexa tends to be a stickler for wording, and for particular sequences of words.
Ultimately the choice of home speaker is yours. Both are equally good and you can’t go wrong with any of these.
Making your bedroom smart
The first step towards setting up your smart home will be to make all the devices in your bedroom smart. This means you should be able to control your Air Conditioner, TV, Light, Fan, and home theater system. While it used to be very expensive in past, you’ll be surprised how cost-efficient and function-rich these smart gadgets and devices have become.
See it here
A smart bulb with all the colors you can think of and the ability to set the different brightness levels. That’s not all, you can schedule when to turn on and off these bulbs. You can turn them on before you reach home to witness your room full of brightness and happiness.
Halonix smart bulb is the best deal you can get at the moment as far as smart bulbs are current. At 12 watt and the ability to show 16 million shades of color, it simply conquers the rest.
See it here
Simply put, a smart plug can help you turn any device smart that can be plugged into it. Not only can you turn it off and on by your voice command, but you can also do many other actions. For example, you can set the duration for which it will remain on or you can set a time when it will automatically turn off.
Additionally, you can perform these functions anywhere outside your home too, as long as you have a working internet connection. Oakter 16 Amp WiFi Smart Plug is among the most cost-effective, yet a fully-featured option.
See it here
This smart WiFi-enabled 5 Port Smart Switch Board is a replacement for ordinary modular switch plates. It provides 3 Switches for Lighting, 1 switch for the socket, and 1 Smart Fan Speed Regulator. Each Switch and Fan can be individually controlled from Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and its own app. Alexa and Google assistant recognizes each switch and Fan independently.
Smarteefi, Smart Switch-board is one of the best options available. As your lightings can be controlled independently, you may or may not opt for it, unless you have an elaborate lighting setup, and controlling the fan is necessary.
Smart remote control with IR blaster
See it here
A smart All In One Universal Remote (IR Blaster) for TV, Air Conditioner, Speakers, Home Theater, and DTH Set-Up Box. It helps you to control all your appliances in one room using a single controller by mobile and voice commands.
You can control every device that work through infra-red remote, and it is actually all the devices apart from the above for which you already have the set-up.
It is also the perfect companion for Amazon Alexa. It empowers you to #AskAlexa to switch on/off Home Theater, change channels on Set-Top Box, change temperature of AC & much more. Also works with Google Assistant.
You can directly access your favorite channels without having to remember channel numbers, switch your device ON and OFF, change volume, mute and much more.
Oakremote WIFI All-in-One Smart Universal Remote (IR Blaster) is the best budget yet fully capable option at this time.
Making other rooms and the rest of your home smart
With the recent drop in prices, you have the option of replacing most of your led bulbs on a budget, which along with smart tube lights will take care of your lighting needs. The other very important smart home device you will need is a smart camera to take care of your home security.
Tp-link offers one of the best budget options for security cameras and is fully compatible with Alexa and Google Home.
See it here
There is a reason that I started with options to make your bedroom smart because it works everywhere else. The best thing is you can make groups of smart speakers. In Amazon’s version of multi-room audio, you can create groups with two or more Echo devices. You can name that group – for instance, “upstairs” – and then once you’ve created the group, you can simply say, “Alexa, play Kishore Kumar songs upstairs.”
To create a smart home device groups in the Alexa app:
- Go to the menu, and select the Devices icon.
- Select the + icon, and then Add group.
- Use pre-set group names, or create your own, and then select Next.
- Select the devices you want to include and then Save.