How Home Automation Works

Person pressing on a tablet in their home

If you take a walk through a recently built home, you'll likely see a number of built-in appliances and devices that feature intelligent home technology. Smart home solutions have soared in popularity as consumers discover the benefits of having thermostats, washing machines, garage doors, light switches, and even window blinds connected to, and controlled through, Bluetooth and WiFi connections to your smartphone.

If you're currently building a custom home, you have an opportunity to outfit your residence with all the latest smart home technology—and to save on installation costs by adding these features during the construction phase. Curious about the benefits of integrating automation products into your home? Here's a quick guide to

What Does a Modern Smart Home Look Like?

As you customize your home with smart home devices, the smart home design you choose will be the product of your own preferences and sensibilities when it comes to smart technology. You might value certain automation devices more than others, which can affect where and how smart technology is integrated into your home.

In some cases, you might also have reservations about implementing certain types of smart technology out of a fear that this technology might create privacy issues. While the decision is ultimately on the shoulders of each homeowner, common smart devices found in modern homes include:

  • Smart thermostats.
  • Smart locks.
  • Video doorbells.
  • Smart lights.
  • Virtual assistants.
  • Window blinds.
  • Garage door openers.
  • Security systems.
  • Smart appliances.

Whether you choose some of these smart devices, all of the above, or additional devices not featured on this list, the most important thing is that you invest in smart solutions that will improve the quality of your in-home living.

Smart Home Essentials: Where to Start

Rather than outfitting your home with the full range of smart devices just for the sake of embracing modern upgrades, it's sometimes helpful to identify the most attractive automation solutions based on the perceived value they offer to your living experience.

For example, smart garage door openers may be particularly valued by homeowners with a habit of leaving their garage door open, which can serve as an open invitation for burglars. With a mobile-connected garage door, you can check your phone to see if you closed the door when leaving—and even close it with the push of a button.

Similarly, smart key locks—including pin-pad locks and/or door locks that you can turn on and off remotely—can be particularly valuable for homes with a lot of people coming and going. You can provide custom PIN codes to different individuals to track who is coming and going from your house, or even unlock your doors remotely if someone beats you home.

If you simply aren't familiar with the different smart home devices and the benefits they bring, it might help to visit a local retailer selling smart technology—or you can consult a home designer to learn more about these features.

How to Find the Best Home Automation Solutions

Since many smart home devices are relative newcomers to the retail space, some homeowners may be wary of investing in smart products they aren't familiar with—especially when accounting for security, performance features, and/or integrations with other technology. Here are some tips to help you choose home automation solutions that will deliver on their promised value:

  • Give preference to brands with a history in the smart home space. Established brands with a number of different smart home products have a longer track record of service, which can offer quality assurance when choosing the specific devices for your home.
  • Be mindful of tech integrations. Certain types of software may not integrate as easily with the software and devices from competing brands. Consumers who own and enjoy products from Amazon or Google, for example, may prefer to stick with these brands when possible, rather than buying across a number of brands and having to juggle multiple apps.
  • Consider the long-term costs of each device. In addition to buying the hardware, many automation devices will charge monthly or annual subscription fees for services such as live-streamed video, data storage, and other features that enhance the value of these devices. You will want to budget for these costs so you aren't surprised when the bills start to come.

Combining Home Automation and Security Solutions

One of the most significant types of smart home technology is the advent of WiFi-connected security solutions. These security systems offer a number of benefits to homeowners, such as the ability to fully customize security systems to a home's needs, and the ease of checking security cameras and sensor activity through your mobile device.

At the same time, WiFi-connected security systems could potentially be used to infiltrate your home and compromise your privacy. While these instances are rare, you should pay close attention to the security safeguards in place with any security system you choose. Encrypted data connections, two-factor authentication, and other security layers can significantly reduce the risk of a security breach, and giving you peace of mind as you take advantage of modern security systems equipped with smart technology.

While smart home living may be an adjustment for some, the ease of these automation tools can make it even easier to manage your home, improving your comfort and quality of living across many different aspects of day-to-day life.