In these years, the word "smart home" is getting more and more popular. What does it mean exactly?
01. What does smart home mean?
In short, smart home means "allowing you to be lazier."
For example, after you return home in winter, open the door, you grope in the darkness to turn on the light in the hallway, take off your coat, turn off the light, open the TV, go to the window to draw the curtains, boil a kettle of water in the kitchen... Finally, you sit on the sofa and take a deep breath.
What if smart home products do all these things for you?
Let's imagine. After you push the door, there is warm light in the hallway; the electric kettle starts working and preparing water at just the right temperature; after you take off the coat and enter the living room, the light in the hallway turns off. Meanwhile, the light in the living room turns on, and curtains are drawn gently, the TV turns on, and here is your favorite channel; then, when you sit down, the ceiling light turns dimmer, and the atmosphere light emits the relaxing blue color, soothing your mind after a whole day's work...
Oh, this is what life should be like.
"You don't need to do anything, your home knows what you want to do next and helps you do it in advance!"
This is the core of a smart home.
Let's take Xiaomi as an example. In its portfolio are numerous smart products. The most interesting thing is that you can use these products in many different ways to meet your needs in daily life.
02. How to make the best use of smart home
Scenario 1: Turn off lights without leaving your bed
Problem: I forgot to turn off the table lamp before I went to bed. It was torturing to leave the warmth of the bed and put myself amid the icy coldness in winter. Too cold!
Solution: Smart Socket + Phone/Wireless Switch
▲ Between the plug and the panel is the smart socket.
Smart sockets are often used together with non-smart home appliances to turn them semi-smart.
They allow you to monitor power usage, use schedule/countdown timers, and so on. These functions are so useful for those who are careless in life, like me. (Smiley face).
However, this gadget is not small at all. If you use the socket behind a piece of furniture, it is impossible to place the furniture against the wall anymore due to the considerable thickness of the smart socket and an ordinary plug.
There are three versions of the smart sockets on the Xiaomi official website, the basic version (WiFi version), enhanced version (WiFi+USB interface version), and the Zigbee version (it uses a power-saving near field communication technology like Bluetooth, or rather "an important means of communication within secret groups" featuring better security).
However, the Zigbee version can only be used together with Xiaomi's smart gateway, whereas, the basic version and the enhanced version work well with the WiFi network with any problem. You should pair the intelligent socket and the mobile phone in the same WiFi network for the first time, and hereafter, you can use your phone to control the socket from anywhere.
To turn on/off the lights, you can use a wireless switch to replace the phone. Similarly, the wireless switch must pair with the gateway (Because of confidentiality terms, wireless communication only functions between Xiaomi's smart devices).
▲From left to right, you can find a gateway, smart socket, lamp, wireless switch
Dotted lines stand for the wireless network connection, and solid lines mean the old-fashioned wired connection.
If you forgot to install a light switch for a lamp by the bed, a wireless switch would serve as an excellent remedy. The wireless switch can also work as a switch for all appliances, including all Xiaomi smart home devices and all ordinary appliances plugged in smart sockets in your home.
Through Mijia App, you can configure three ways to control: long press, short press, and double-click. Therefore, a wireless switch can control multiple electrical appliances. For example, by double-clicking, you can cut off the power of all home appliances.
▲ Wireless switch
By the way, this function is fascinating! The wireless switch can be adhered to the outside of a security door and used as a doorbell, while the gateway is placed inside. In this way, when you ring the doorbell, the gateway will ring like a bell; if the light in the hallway is a smart light bulb, it will automatically turn on when someone rings the doorbell at night.
Scenario 2: Never grope in the dark after waking up at night
Problem: After getting up at midnight, I stumbled over the corner of the bed in the darkness. Ouch! It hurt!
Solution: PIR Sensor + Gateway
Here's how to use the gateway to work with the PIR sensor to create a night light. Put the sensor on the floor near the bed (the small cylinder in the picture below), plug the gateway in the socket close to the floor and the light will turn on automatically upon your arrival.
The PIR sensor is tiny, and it can be placed horizontally, vertically or in any position as you like, on a surface whose diameter is over 0.8 inch. Prepare several ones for whenever necessary in your home.
However, if you keep a dog, you shouldn't put the sensor in a low position. You shouldn't overlook the destructive behavior of your dog, neither should you ignore that PIR sensor can detect dogs.
▲ PIR sensor for human and animals
A gateway is equivalent to a human brain. The gateway accepts all intelligent commands, so don't underestimate it. It is not just a gateway, but also a night light, a doorbell, an alarm, a light sensor, an atmosphere light, a speaker, a radio, or else. As you can see, the gateway can work with other devices in an infinite number for ways.
▲ This device is the gateway whose translucent rim is a light
Another product, called the Aqara Air Conditioning Controller, has functions 90% similar to the gateway. Its price is a little higher than the gateway. Although it doesn't have a light, it can control air conditioners. It is blissful to shelter from the smothering heat wave of 100 degrees Fahrenheit outdoors, reveling in cool breezes in your sweet home.
▲Air conditioner controller
Scenario 3: Prevent a disaster in the kitchen
Problem: You are cooking soup in the kitchen, and your favorite soap opera is on the TV in the living room. What to choose, the pot or the plot? It is a question.
Solution: Smoke Detector+ Gas Leak Detector + Water Immersion Sensor + Gateway
Install a smoke detector and gas leak detector upside down on the ceiling by either sticking or nailing them. In case the density of smoke or natural gas in the air exceeds the threshold, the sensor will give an alarm louder and louder, which is impressive. After connected to the gateway or air conditioner controller, the sensors will send push notifications to your phone.
In my opinion, the system is responsive because it managed to stop my pot from burning, which is convenient for careless young people, parents, and the elderly to prevent further damage in time. It is possible that stir-frying may lead to a false alarm, but I haven't confronted the problem yet.
▲ Smoke detector
Like the smoke detector, the water immersion sensor can't function without a gateway. Although the water immersion sensor can't give an alarm, when the water level is higher than 05.mm, the gateway will alert you instead. Therefore, you can prevent further damage resulting from the forgetfulness to turn off a tap, burst pipes, and so on.
▲Water immersion sensor
Scenario 4: Prevent burglary
Problem: I felt restless when leaving nobody at home and worried that someone might sneak into my house when fast asleep at night.
Solution: Door & Window Sensor + Gateway + Smart IP Camera
A door & window sensor consists of two parts which you should put between the door and door frame, or between the window and window frame. Once the door/window is opened, the position of these two parts will change, and the gateway will warn you with a high-decibel wailing siren and a continuously flashing red light. Meanwhile, the IP camera will record what's happening, upload the video to the cloud, and inform you via the App.
▲ Door & window sensor
The alarm volume is high enough to wake up any sleeping man and scare away most thieves. However, please ensure an appropriate use if you've got the elderly and children at home. Plus, don't forget to set an alarm period, or you might be scared, too.
▲ The gateway emits the flashing red light
If the siren fails to scare away the thief, the smart camera will capture everything in sight as soon as it detects any movement. For example, as a figure flashes by, the camera will snap the incident, upload the footage (15 seconds before and after the event occurs), to the cloud and save it, which means that you'll get an HD close-up shot of the thief!
Other ways to use the door and window sensor include sticking it onto the front door, so when someone returns home, the smart light in the hallway will turn on; sticking it onto a window, so after you close the window, the smart air purifier will start working, or the other way around.
▲ Door & window sensor and air purifier
The door & window sensor and PIR sensor dwarf the function of the wireless switch. You touched the switch to turn on/off the light before; now, the light turns on/off on its own as you walk by. It is sensors that are smart rather than the entry-level wireless switch.
Scenario 5: Have a "house-elf" for cleanup
Problem: I was used to keeping the window open to get fresh air during the daytime, but I had to clear away the dust on the floor with a sour face after work.
Solution: PIR Sensor + Robot Vacuum Cleaner
If the PIR sensor notices that there's nobody at home for over half an hour, the robot vacuum will set about working, 100% charged. After operating for 2.5 hours, it will start self-charging and resume cleaning from where it stopped last time. It is like keeping a pet which can live on its own.
The newly designed robot vacuum cleaner can also mop with a small cleaning cloth underneath. However, you must take off the cloth and clean it from time to time.
Additionally, it is not recommended to buy a robot vacuum if you have pets who are unable to go potty in one spot. As for the reasons, let's leave them out.
Scenario 6: Turn on the air conditioner in advance and cool down in the breeze when you're back
Problem: Nowadays, even Siberia is ridiculously hot in summer! I feel as if I stayed in a sauna after entering the house.
Solution: Temperature/Humidity Sensor or Bluetooth Thermometer/Hygrometer + PIR Sensor + Smart Rearview Mirror + Gateway / Air Conditioner Controller
In summer, when the Bluetooth Thermometer/Hygrometer detects that indoor temperature goes over 86 degrees Fahrenheit and the PIR sensor detects that someone's at home, the air conditioner will turn on. If you have installed a smart rearview mirror on your car, you can turn on the air conditioner controller when the car is less than 110 yards away from home, so the air conditioner will start working, and when you come back, you can enjoy the coolness right away.
▲The complete set of smart devices related to the air conditioner
Both the temperature/humidity sensor and the Bluetooth thermometer/hygrometer can monitor the temperature and humidity in your home, but it is recommended to use a Bluetooth thermometer/hygrometer with a display; otherwise, you need to open the App on your phone every time you want to check the temperature or humidity. At first, one might find such a device without a display is impressive out of curiosity, but gradually, he or she would get tired of it and stop using it.
Please don't put them in a position either too high or too low, or the temperature measurement will not be consistent with the temperature that you feel.
▲ Temperature/humidity sensor (left) and Bluetooth thermometer/hygrometer (right)
Because the smart car rearview mirror has built-in GPS, it allows you to turn on your smart appliances within 110 yards away from home. If you don't drive a car, enable the GPS on your phone to realize it in the same way. However, I don't think that the geo-fence works so well, no matter I use the GPS of the rearview mirror or my phone, for the air conditioner is still off even when I am back.
Except for WiFi connectivity, a smart air conditioner is not much different from an ordinary one. However, it is sensible to use a smart air conditioner in place of the ordinary one, for you can connect the smart appliance to Xiaomi Xiao Ai Speaker and enjoy more convenience. Instead of looking for the remote control, opening your mouth is easier, "Xiao Ai, lower the temperature."
It is said that the smart air conditioner can raise/lower the temperature by every 0.1 degree Celsius, which is so accurate that it is impossible for me to notice whether the temperature has been changed or not.
Finally, I want to talk about this AI speaker. It is a speaker who can reproduce satisfying sounds, though not so admirable. The AI speaker is something of a central processor connected to smart home devices.
With Internet access, it seems the whole world is in your hand because you only need to say,
"Xiao Ai, turn on the lights";
"Xiao Ai, clean the floor";
"Xiao Ai, draw the curtains."
Well, just like Jarvis in the Iron Man. So cool, right?
The use of one smart home product seems to be a remedy to the problem of careless decoration; however, with profuse use of such products, you will be fascinated at the power of technology. There are endless ways to play with smart home products, far more than the six ways above.
Of course, the current smart home technology is far from mature. Users are troubled by various problems, such as disconnection, no internet access, etc. For example, if you use an AI speaker, you should "tame" it by configuring the App settings. Otherwise, it can't learn well and speak like an idiot.
03. How to install smart home devices?
Like smart switches, only a few products require an electrician to install, because to use most smart home products, you only need to plug in.
The next thing you should do is to add the device to the App. It seems complicated, whereas, the process is simple, for you should understand only one universal law, namely, the cause and effect.
All settings of smart devices should be accord with the cause and effect. For example, a night light turns on automatically when you get up at night; it is because that the PIR sensor detects your movement.
Here is another example. In summer, the air conditioner turns on by itself to cool you off because the temperature/humidity sensor detects that the room temperature goes over 30 degrees Celsius and the PIR sensor senses that someone's moving nearby.
The thing you should do is to designate the "cause" and "effect."
04. How much does a smart home product cost?
If you're a beginner who hasn't tried smart home products yet, this list is right for you! You only need to spend around 60 dollars, which shouldn't burn a hole in your pocket. Hopefully, you'll be aware of their benefits!
Although there are just a few products in this list, all are essential, with which you can turn off lights without leaving your bed, get up at night with light automatically turning on, have the air conditioner turn on by itself, protect your home from burglary, and so forth.
If you have plenty of money to spend, you can consult an expert and ignore my recommendation for you can know more tricks and build a full-fledged smart home.
As a worker, I have dedicated myself to renovation for the past five years. I'll share some home decorating tips and ideas with you on Gearbest from time to time. If you find this article helpful, could you please click the "Like" button? I'd appreciate it.