Oct 07, 2022|

Smart Home Systems: Which Systems Work Best for You?

You have to be at work in half an hour, but you need to check on a few things before heading out.

Are all of your door locks secure? Are all of the lights in your home turned off? Will your home stay at a safe temperature for your dog? You run around your home, checking each room to ensure everything is in order before leaving.

By the time you finish, you barely have enough time to get to work, and you might still spend the day worrying that you forgot to lock the front door. Managing your home can be a chore, especially if you live in a large house with various devices.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could automate the systems in your home so they work when you want them to and without you doing anything? With a smart home system, you can.

If you want the peace of mind that comes with knowing you can automate and manage all your devices from anywhere, this guide is for you. We explain what a home automation system is, how it works, and what factors to consider when choosing the best smart home system for your needs.

Vivint Smart Hub at the entrance to someone's home.
 

What is a smart home system?

A smart home system is a collection of programmable, internet-connected devices you can manage with a central control panel or remotely using your smartphone. Devices in a smart home can communicate with each other using a Wi-Fi, Zigbee or Z-Wave connection, Bluetooth, or cellular service.

A smart home setup makes operating your devices extremely convenient. For example, you can switch off all of your smart lights using your phone while lying in bed. Some smart systems even let you use voice controls to command your devices.

Making your home smart can also make it safer. Let’s say you go on vacation and accidentally leave your garage door open. Your system might send a notification alerting you that the door is open. You can then close it remotely using your smartphone.

Although a smart system requires an initial investment, it can save you money in energy fees over time. Smart technology lets you program when your devices work so they don’t drain energy. For instance, you might schedule your smart security lights to only turn on at night after your bedtime and turn off at 6 a.m. when you wake up.

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How do smart home systems work?

In a smart home, you can control all of your devices using a central smart home hub. Depending on your home control system, your hub could be a touch-screen panel, a smartphone, a laptop, or another internet-compatible device.

Some systems, like those offered by Vivint, have integrations that give them compatibility with voice control programs like Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

You can connect the devices in your smart home and control them remotely using a smart app. A reliable smart app should have an intuitive interface that makes it simple to program and manage your devices. A smart app lets you do things like lock your smart locks, turn off your lights, or view video clips from your security cameras with your smartphone.

There are a few ways to operate your smart home system.

  • Direct commands: You directly manipulate your system to perform an action now. You might use your Android or Apple smartphone as a remote control to immediately close your garage door while at the office.
  • If This, Then That (IFTTT) programs: IFTTT functionality means that if one device performs an action, another device (or multiple devices) performs another action (or several actions). For example, you could program your outdoor security lights to turn on whenever your doors lock at night.
  • Schedules: You program your devices to work at specific times. You might program your smart thermostat to start cooling your home around the time you typically get home from work or school.
  • Voice commands: If your system works with tools like Google Nest or Amazon Echo, you’ll be able to control it using your voice. For example, you might tell your Nest Hub to dim your smart light bulbs so you can watch a movie without putting down your popcorn to adjust the lights.
A smart thermostat and Vivint Indoor Camera in a home.
 

Things to consider when choosing your smart system

When it comes to home automation, everyone has their own needs and preferences. Your smart home system should be customized to fit your unique situation. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a smart home system.

  • The size of your home: Large houses usually require more equipment. For example, a smart home security system for a large residence may require several security cameras, sensors, and security lights. A security system for a smaller place might only have one security camera and a few sensors.
  • Your home layout: Your home layout can help you decide where to place certain smart gadgets for maximum effectiveness. For example, security sensors should be placed where intruders are most likely to cross by, like in the corner spaces of your home.
  • Your family: Do your kids tend to leave the garage door wide open when they get home from school? A smart garage door opener can let you know when the door is open.
  • Your lifestyle: What do you like or hate to do? If you often order items from Amazon, a video doorbell with an anti-theft alarm, like the Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro, could help you keep your packages safe. If you hate vacuuming, you might want to get a system that works with smart vacuum cleaners.
  • Your pets: If you want to keep tabs on and speak to your furry friends while you’re away, you’ll want a security camera with two-way talk functionality. A smart thermostat can also help you adjust the temperature in your home so it doesn’t get too hot or cold for your animals.
  • Your home automation goals: What do you hope to gain from making your home smart? For example, if your main motive is to save money, a smart lighting starter kit will greatly reduce your energy costs.
  • The smart devices you already own: Your system needs to have connectivity with your current smart devices. Most smart home products list which systems they’re compatible with on their box or company website. For example, Vivint smart products work well with Google Assistant.
  • Whether you want professional monitoring: With professional monitoring, your security company keeps tabs on your alarm system. If an emergency happens and you’re unavailable, the monitoring team will automatically call emergency services to your home.

The best smart home devices to consider

There are all sorts of smart devices that can make your life easier. Here are a few of the most common devices to consider adding to your smart home system.

  • Security cameras: Indoor, outdoor, and doorbell cameras are the cornerstone of an effective home security system. Smart cameras will even send you notifications if they pick up anything unusual.
  • Motion sensors: There are various motion detectors—from door sensors to glass break sensors—that can detect movement on your property. Some sensors can even tell the difference between animal and human movement.
  • Smart lighting: Smart lights can help you save time, conserve energy, and protect your home. Some smart lighting systems even let you adjust the brightness or change the color of your bulbs from your phone. Vivint systems have compatibility with ultra-efficient Philips Hue smart bulbs.
  • Smart thermostats: Smart thermostats let you manage the temperature in your house and command when your HVAC system works. That way, your home is always comfortable and doesn’t waste energy.
  • Smart speakers: Smart speakers with voice assistant software, like the Amazon Echo, make controlling all your smart home systems as easy as uttering a few commands.
  • Smart detectors: Some smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can be programmed to automatically summon emergency services when their alarms are triggered.
  • Other smart devices: There’s an endless number of smart gadgets on the market, like vacuums, TVs, dishwashers, mops, and coffee makers. Whichever smart tech you choose, ensure it works with your smart system.
A Vivint Window Sensor.
 

How much does a full smart home system cost?

The price of a smart home system can vary greatly. Factors like the number and type of devices that are part of a system and whether you DIY your installation can greatly affect how much you’ll pay for a smart home system.

When you contact Vivint to get a quote for your system, one of our professionals will help you create a custom smart home setup that stays within your budget.

Do smart home features increase the value of your home?

Appraisers know that smart homes are in high demand and value them accordingly. Smart home functionality can increase the value of your home, and smart features could even make your home sell faster on the open market.

Vivint smart home systems make home management simple

Giving your home smart capabilities makes it more comfortable, secure, and environmentally friendly. Your smart devices will also make you the envy of all the other homeowners on your block.

Consider reaching out to Vivint if you think smart home automation is for you. Our team of knowledgeable professionals can help you design and install the ideal smart home setup for your unique needs and preferences. Give us a call at 855.822.1220 for a free consultation today.

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