I’ve been writing about smart homes for years and buying smart home appliances for even longer. And you know what I came up with all these years after that? Smart homes are very boring now. Seriously incredibly boring. But that’s a good thing for everyone.
Unless you factor in expensive, custom-made smart home setups, like the ones in the Contro4 or Savant, I’ve got a very sophisticated and sophisticated smart home. Almost every room has a smart speaker, smart lights, sockets, and more. I have smart blinds, smart locks, video doorbells, cameras, a smart garage door, and more.
The only thing I don’t have is smart water appliances – faucets, showers and shut-off systems. I also don’t think it’s necessary or very big (yet). This leaves me with a dilemma: I have nothing to look forward to because no one is doing anything new with smart homes at the moment.
Lights, lights, and more lights
If you look at the big tent smart home products announced over the past year, you can group most of them under one heading: smart lights. Wyze announced a file Smart switch and smart lights, Philips Hue always had another new light on the way, Nanoleaf released new panels and stripes, and Govee was on a tear in ambient light. But these are all smart lights.
And smart lights are great, but how many do you really need? Eventually, you’ll replace all the lights and switches in your home, and that leaves you with the optional stuff. Ambient lighting is great looking, but it’s usually expensive, and it tends to take up more space.
When I installed the new Nanoleaf lines, I had to look for a good blank wall space. Govee immersion lights are great, but you’ll need them at most for one or two TVs. And as beautiful as Philips Hue lighting is, let’s be honest, it’s way too expensive to buy in bulk. Sooner or later, when you build a smart home, you will get that lighting condition, and you won’t need it anymore. But that’s okay; Moving on to other great smart home options.
Sockets, locks and cameras
When it comes to the rest of the applicable smart home products, you can put them under sockets, locks, and cameras. Smart plugs are a great addition, both indoors and outdoors. It lets you automate your Christmas lights, your lamps, and—wait, that’s more lighting. Well, at least you can automate your power strips and some small appliances too.
Smart locks are perhaps the second best addition to any smart home. Everyone hates that dreaded feeling of wondering if they remember closing the door, right? You might be in bed or, worse yet, on the road when this feeling hits you. Then you have to drag yourself half-asleep to your door or back off on your road trip.
With the smart lock, you can check for convenience anywhere, lock the door if you forget, or even let friends, family or a plumber into your home remotely. Smart locks are great. But most people only need one or two at most. How many doors do you have anyway? Throw in the smart garage door opener, and you basically have the smart lock mode nailed.
The same goes for video doorbells, which are the best smart home product you can buy. Video doorbells let you know who’s visiting even when you’re not at home. Most doorbells offer useful notifications these days as well, such as people recognition or package detection. But just like smart locks, you will need one or two at most. If necessary, you can mount your home with other security cameras, but just like smart bulbs, you will soon run out of space for more cameras.
So what is left?
After your smart home is equipped with all the lights, sockets, locks, and cameras it needs, what else can you add? Smart monitors and speakers are the obvious way to go. After all, voice control comes in handy. But if you’re looking for an abundance of options, don’t hold your breath.
At this point, you have two types: Alexa flavor or Google flavor. Choose the system that best fits your ecosystem, then outfit your home as needed. If all you care about is voice commands, head over to Google. If you want the best automation procedures, You need Alexa.
What then? Well, you have a few options. But it has limited value and high price. Of these, smart blinds may be the most valuable and affordable, thanks to IKEA. But at $130 or more per window, that price is still high. This is the “affordable” finish. Given the purpose of the curtain is to let in more light (or block it away), you could roughly bundle this into another “smart light”.
Smart faucets, showers, and toilets are another area you can get into, but I wouldn’t. For a smart faucet only, you’re looking to spend $300 or more (often $700!), and right now, it’s not doing well. None of them have easy-to-use voice commands and instead ask awkward phrases like, “Help, tell (brand faucet) to pour one cup of water.”
In the $2,000-$4,000 range, smart showers are more expensive, and chances are you’ll need an electrician as well. And smart toilets? Well, surprisingly enough, they make a lot of sense. Later! But it’s also expensive. When was the last time you dropped $1,000 or more down the toilet? And again, you may need an electrician if your bathroom doesn’t have enough wires to handle the new load.
And if you look at smart homes on the horizon, nothing new or interesting in terms of new types of devices will come.
Look into the future, few companies are proposing new types of smart home devices that don’t fit in with today’s niche products. may be the closest Flic Twist, a smart home console that retails for about $130. But it is actually a smart home console that acts as an alternative to voice assistants.
Instead, the important thing on the horizon is the smart home protocol. It’s the biggest thing to happen to smart homes since the first Echo speaker introduced smart home controls. But on the front end, this won’t be “important” to you. Matter promises to tie all your smart home stuff together, so you’ll always know anything you buy will work with the things you have.
This is a big deal for smart homes. For years you had to choose what you bought carefully, lest it be incompatible with your smart home. It should launch next year, and manufacturers from all quarters of the smart home field are lining up to announce compatibility.
The question is exactly why the future of a boring smart home is good.
boring really good
As a tech-loving smart home enthusiast, I must be sad that there are no exciting gadgets coming our way. but I’m not. Good boring. It shows maturity in the smart home world. Think about smartphones for a moment. Until foldable devices came along, it became common for all smartphones to be basically the same and “boring now”. Much like what I’m saying about the smart home today.
But if you’ve invested in smart homes for a very long time, you know that they used to be sexy, wrong. Perhaps the company that made your center becomes an extension fire rubbish or be Stop. Your new lights may not work with your old lights. Maybe your thermostat will suddenly be stop talking for your other smart home gadgets.
For a decade, the smart home has been around as a kind of Wild West where anything goes, and nothing is guaranteed to work for long. Companies have tried news things, like smart egg counters, and then abandoned them. Maybe they offered compatibility with your favorite voice assistant, maybe they didn’t.
Slow but sure, manufacturers have figured out the hardware we really need and want. That is the focus now. Best of all, with Matter Protocol, you won’t have to worry about what works with what anymore. It’s just gonna work – at least that’s the point.
Hopefully, like smartphones, eventually, manufacturers will try to invent new concepts again. We will definitely get some awesome ideas, like a home assistant robot that can’t be very useful. But as long as the latest and greatest smart gadget works with your current smart home, you’ll be better off than it was before. This is a good thing.