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What Makes a Smart Home So Smart?

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A smartphone showing apps that can make a smart home

What Makes a Smart Home So Smart?

From Smartphones to Smart Televisions to now Smart Homes all of our devices seem to be getting “smarter.”  But at the same time most of us are left behind scratching our heads about what all that actually means.

When someone says that they have a “smart home” they are basically saying that they have some sort of device or devices that perform some level of home automation. Home automation itself has been around for decades. Items that we are all familiar with: washing machines, refrigerators, even sewing machines are all examples of this. All of these are devices that perform a specific task which saves the consumer labour and/or time. Smart homes and smart technology are just the next generation of this concept.

The main difference between the home automation of the past and the smart homes of today is the ability for these devices to connect to the internet. By connecting to the internet (usually through our home Wi-Fi networks) the smart device is able to not only access information found on the internet, but even play media such as music or even video clips depending on the device.

Not all smart devices work the same way however. What “smart” features a device can perform depends on what type of device it is. Smart speakers like the Amazon Echo, allow you to play music from the internet without the need for CDs and are able to read aloud news clips and weather reports. Where as Smart Thermostats like the Nest Thermostat allow you to see and change the temperature of your home from anywhere in the world with only your smartphone and the internet.

Smart technology really shines in its ability for devices to interact and control one another. By being connected to your homes Wi-Fi network you are able to pair devices to each other opening a whole world of possibilities. A quick example of this would be saying “Alexa, turn off the lights.” This phrase would activate your Echo Speaker telling it to power off all smart lightbulbs in your home. All of which is accomplished without even having to leave the comfort of your bed.

Smart technology may seem a bit overwhelming to think about but just keep in mind how we felt when the first microwaves were introduced into our homes. As smart home technology becomes more and more common the less foreign it will all feel and soon you may even find yourself with smart devices in your home!

For more information on smart technology visit your local branch of the Citrus County Library System and ask when and where our next Smart Home class is available. Our technology classes are held throughout the county and feature a wide range of topics and subjects including Online Safety & Privacy and Streaming TV.

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