You are seeing all the commercials and advertisements for Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple Siri (later this will be known as Apple HomePod) and Microsoft Cortana, you want one and all the cool technology and improved living it offers. But you have one question “What is the best home system for me?” I will help you answer this question,
Just remember the choice you make sets you on a path and that path limits future possibilities. How many of you picked a Sony Beta Max VCR instead of a VHS machine? How many of you reading this even remember what a VCR is? Let me make this more current. iPhone versus Android. Which one you pick chooses what devices and apps work with it. Choosing your home automation system is the same thing. So how do you choose the best smart home system for me? Let’s go through it and help you make the right decision.
Step 1 – What will the best smart home system do for me?
This is a very personal question and includes everyone in your family not just the person reading this. So you need to take some time to think this thru. Ask yourself “What do I want the smart home system to do in my home”? To do this you need to know what is possible. You can automate many things in your home and some will be easy to do and some will be harder to do. But let’s start with the basics.
What do you want to automate in your home?
- Home Security System
- Door Locks
- Garage Door Openers
- Window Shades
- Answering the front door
- Music throughout the house
- TV sound
- Lights (inside and outside)
- Appliances (yes you can control your stove or your refrigerator or washer/dryer)
- Help me shop
Every day there are more things these systems can do.
So to design the best smart home system for yourself, start with the answer to the question, “What do I want it to do for me?” The better you define this and understand it the better the system will be for you today and in the future.
So take a piece of paper and write down the answer to the following two questions:
- What do I want my smart home system to do for me this year?
- What do I want my smart home system to do for me in two years?
Pick the things that matter to you, do not pick everything because that is easy to make a list and harder to make it the best smart home system for you.
Step 2 – To create the best smart home system for me should I do it myself (DIY) or hire a professional?
Once you know what you want to do, the second step is to decide do I do it myself (DIY) or do I hire a professional installer or a professional service provider. Of course if technology scares you than hire a professional. I will touch on this in another article because the focus of this is to create the best smart home system for myself and I believe that you can do it better than a professional because it is your system, it has to work the way that makes sense to you and your family. Having an outside technician develop that system means you get the best smart home system he or she wants to sell you not the best smart home system for you.
So I strongly suggest doing it yourself. Smart Home System DIY will make you the talk of the neighborhood and a hero with your family and friends. Go for it. I’ll be here to help.
Step 2 – What are the best smart home system choices for me?
So now that you decided what you want the system to do and to DIY, where do you start? You need to pick the brain of the system. The brain of the system is either a control system where you control things from a remote device like a phone, tablet, touch pad, computer, remote, etc. This is old school and is being replaced by voice recognition systems or AI Systems. These systems are now known as Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Microsoft Cortana. Again there are others being developed by other brands and some use one of these four technologies.
Since we are designing the best smart home system for you, I suggest using a AI system not a remote device based system. Would you rather say “Alexa, set a timer for 10 minutes” and it happens or “get your phone, pick the alarm app, choose 10 minutes and than the alarm type and than press set it”? I would rather say Alexa.
So which is the best for you?
- Amazon Alexa
- Google Home (Google Assistant)
- Apple HomePod (Siri)
- Microsoft Cortana
Apple has not really launched HomePod but they have done a lot with home automation and Siri. However, I believe that they are not as well-connected as Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Microsoft Cortana is behind Apple when it comes to home automation connectivity so I believe that the choice for the smart home system DIY’er is Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
Amazon is quickly becoming the “Everything Store” and they are getting a lot of 3rd party devices to develop connectivity into their system. At the moment, Amazon Alexa is leading this race, but Google Home is coming on fast, they are partnering with Walmart to offer more direct buying choices. Both are very good choices for the brain of your best smart home system.
I would recommend Amazon Alexa but would be very comfortable with you choosing Google Home. I think that the decider is how important is shopping in your list of things you want the system to do for you. If shopping is key than Amazon is the right choice. If using the system to interface with the internet is the most important thing, Google Home is the best choice.
Step 3 – What is a typical layout of your best smart home system?
You have done a lot so far. Congratulations. We are almost done with designing the best smart home system for you. In this next step you take the list of what you want the system to do and apply it to your home. I have taken some work out of it for you. Choose the diagram below that is closest to your home. Do not worry if the diagram doesn’t have the rooms in the right location or the right floor, if a room does not apply put a big X through it. If you need to add a room draw a box on the diagram and add its name. This diagram is to help you not to be shown to anyone else.
For each room think about what you will do in that room. Some rooms will have many things to control and some will not have any. On the diagram, write out the functions for each room. This gives you a good visual way of planning out your system. It will also make it easier to put together a list of items to buy when it comes time to purchase what you need. One note on doing this, please note on these diagrams if you believe you will want to control the system in that room or area.
Step 4 – What are the key components I need to make the best smart home system for me?
So the key is the brain… but the question is how many do you need and what type do you need…
How many rooms do you want control in that are separated by walls and are not in the same space? So a large room with an attached kitchen and dinning room without any walls is considered one area. If you have walls between them than this is three areas. So how many total areas do you need to control your system in?
If you chose Alexa as your main system brain, then you need to ask yourself if you need to see a video or just have voice control. For Google Home you don’t have a video option yet. I suggest an Alexa Show (larger video screen) in the kitchen and an Amazon Echo Spot (smaller video screen) for any other room. If you only have one main unit pick the Alexa Show. For each other area you want control, ask yourself if you want to listen to music in this area or not. If you do you have three choices, an Alexa Dot with a separate external powered speaker, an Alexa Echo with a built in powered speaker or an Alexa Echo Plus with built in powered speaker and smart home hub.
For Google Home you have the choice of Google Home Mini, Google Home or Google Home Max. Google Home Mini has a small speaker built in and is comparable to the Amazon Echo. The Google Home is similar to the Amazon Echo and has a larger speaker in it. The Google Max has the best audio performance of any smart home speaker/brain.
For each of the other functions you need to research the options for each device. There will be more on this site soon for each of these functions and devices but once you have detailed out the list of equipment you need to buy and then you are on your way to have the best smart home system for you.
If you have any questions on what you should choose please feel free to ask below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Your choice of the best smart home system for me is clear
To me if you want to see the internet and view it on your smart home brain than pick the Amazon Alexa products. If you love google assistant and google searching on the internet than go with that. Siri and Cortana may become better choices in the future but for now stick with Amazon or Google and you will have the best smart home system you can have.