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Smart home is the next step in home automation, often referred to as connected home or "The Internet of Things", so dubbed because smart home technology can communicate via a network, giving you a new level of control over how devices function and interact.
From dimmers to doorbells, alarms to appliances, there are numerous smart alternatives to familiar household devices.
Replacement switches or dimmers can give you control over your lights from anywhere via your WiFi connected mobile device. With smart light kits, you can even get bulbs that produce millions of colours and react to events like social media updates, weather changes, and sports scores.
Surveillance cameras with wireless capabilities can stream video to your compatible smartphone or tablet, send you notifications when activity is detected, and record to a cloud-based storage. Smart locks can detect a mobile device or a connected fob in your pocket to allow you convenient keyless entry.
Smart home monitoring via smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can alert you to potential dangers even when you're away from home. Water sensors can detect a leak and warn you early enough to avoid costly flood damage.
Smart thermostats offer not only the convenience of wireless remote control from your smartphone; some can even learn your habits and make automatic adjustments that improve efficiency and save you money.
For smart home products to work together they need to speak the same language, but different brands may use different standards. Luckily there are smart home platforms that support multiple protocols, and enable various products, even from different brands, to work together in a smart home ecosystem.
Works with Nest and Works with HomeKit are two popular and increasingly ubiquitous programs to consider when building an ecosystem. When you select products certified to work with the same platform, they can work together in harmony. You can create scenes that trigger multiple products to do their part. A "morning" command could open your blinds, raise the temperature, and start your coffee brewing. "Movie" time might dim the lights, shut the blinds, and set your phone to do not disturb.
With cloud-based software solutions like IFTTT, you can create "If This, Then That" recipes. You could get text alert when it starts to rain, or have your lights flash when BestBuy.ca announces a big sale on smart home solutions.
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