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Smarthome 101 - how to get started

Unless you are going for the ultimate and most expensive smart home setup, you don't need to spend all your monthly income on buying lots of components, sensors, smart bulbs, security cameras, etc., since for most users, it would be overkill anyway.

If your needs are a bit simpler, there are a few relatively inexpensive products that will deliver the smartphone experience that you can improve later. 

Basic elements of your smart home

Smart lighting - for most people, lighting is the entry point for a future smart home, since many smart lighting systems work perfectly without a central hub while still capable of interacting with other smart home elements. Lightbulbs from Cree, LIFX, and TP-Link, for example, communicate over Wi-Fi, while some others, including the newest Philips Hue bulbs, communicate via the Bluetooth radio in your smartphone. If most of your home’s lighting is in the ceiling and controlled by a switch on the wall, you might be better served by replacing those dumb switches with smart switches and dimmers, instead. That’s because a smart bulb becomes dumb the instant you turn off the switch controlling it.

Smart thermostats - these devices are able to deliver both comfort and cost/energy savings and can detect when you’re home and when you’re away, so that your HVAC system operates only when it’s necessary. The latest trend on this front is to equip thermostats with sensors that you can put in the rooms you occupy most frequently, so that the thermostat operates on the basis of where you are in the house - as opposed to a triggering of heating and cooling cycles based on the thermostat's location. 

Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors - a smart smoke detector proves its worth over its dumb counterpart by sounding a local alarm and sending an alert to your smartphone as well; and, also, to anyone else you authorize as a contac if danger is detected. Some smart smoke alarms, for example the Nest Protect, incorporate emergency lights that can help you find your way out of a smoke-filled home while others offer even an in-built smart speaker. Furthermore, there are cheaper alternatives as well: Roost offers a smart battery that can make your existing smoke detector more intelligent.

Home security cameras - if you opt for a good-quality home security camera, it will enable you to monitor your home, especially while you’re away. Indoor models can assist you in monitoring  your children and pets, while outdoor models can catch wrongdoers in the act, or, better yet, discourage them from coming around in the first place. Additionally, cameras that are incorporated into doorbells can monitor the front of your house and let you interact with visitors without having to approach the door or be at home at the time.

Smart speakers and multi room audio systems - saying “dim the lights” and having a smart speaker linked to your smart lighting do it for you is probably one of the most convenient means of starting a movie night. The Amazon Echo series and Google Home series are the market leaders in this space. And, since these smart speakers have been so widely embraced by other smart home device manufacturers, they have become a "standard" of hubs in their own right. If you want to up your game, you can always improve your TV- and movie-watching experience (not to mention listening to music) by going for a soundbar from the likes of Sonos, Yamaha and Denon, among others. 

Top 3 most trusted smart home solutions in Singapore

More than just a trend or childhood dream, a fully automated home it’s now gradually becoming a necessity in Singapore for enhancing your home security and improving energy efficiency. There are a number of companies that specialize in such endeavours - let's see some examples from them.

Adler International 

Since 2003, Adler International has been working with niche European brands including Simon, Thinknx, Lingg and Janke, to provide comprehensive automation solutions for both residential and business units. From building reliable intercom and surveillance systems to installing biometric access, they will take care of your needs, whether for your home or business.

Automate Asia 

Automate Asia's portfolio includes both commercial and residential projects and boasts some of the big and known brands including Samsung, IBM, Changi Airport, National University of Singapore and more. While they offer custom solutions, their three general smart home packages are also popular, offering smart irrigation systems that are perfect for huge properties with spacious gardens.

Koble

Considered to be the most trusted smart home provider in Singapore, Koble claims that 8 out of 10 customers who visit their showroom proceed to doing business with them - their secret is their system where you can pack your entire home into their virtual platform and automate your controls, schedule daily routines and create shared access and admin rights for all your family members.