You Can Set Up Your Smart Home Now, But It’ll Take Time

A fully automated home is still years away, but the building blocks are already here: the phone that turns on the coffee maker from the bedroom, the thermostat that controls the lights when you're away, the window shades that lift when you say "good morning."

Although these still aren't items most people seek out, they're catching on. Research firm Strategy Analytics estimates that the number of U.S. households with some form of smart-home system grew 30 percent in 2015 to 27 million, or about 1 in 5.

With the backing of big names such as Samsung, Apple and Nest, a sister company of Google's, smart-home functionality is slowly creeping into everyday homes. Even Amazon is getting involved with its Echo speaker that can respond to voice commands. At the CES gadget show in Las Vegas, the topic of a Samsung keynote was the smart home of today -- not tomorrow or five years from now.

Here's how you might start building your own smart home:

Gadgets First, Connectivity Later

Drop the notion that you have to rewire your entire home and replace all your lights and appliances.

Nest, a maker of smart-home products, says it doesn't market its camera, smoke alarm and thermostat as smart-home products, but as products that happen to tap the Internet for increased functionality. From there, gadgets can start talking to each other, whether they're made by the same manufacturer or by third parties.

Andrew Brooks, co-founder of Samsung's smart-home business, SmartThings [pictured above], says households often start with security-related products, such as locks and garage doors, and evolve from there. Samsung's new smart TVs will have built-in smart-home capabilities, negating the need to buy a hub to get started.

What about your existing lights, TVs and coffee makers? You can buy smart plugs; with a voice command or tap of an app, you...

Comments are closed.