Smart home: clever technologies for the home

Good when you don't have to think of everything yourself! Smart technologies have been making everyday life easier for years by taking over household tasks – leaving time and space for the really important things in life. Just as the first fully automatic washing machine revolutionized homes in 1950, programmable shutters, daylight alarm clocks and robotic vacuum cleaners are doing the same today.

You benefit from the full scope of a smart home when a higher-level operating system allows the individual devices to communicate with each other. You can create so-called scenarios, such as one for cooking: bright lights in the kitchen, your favorite playlist running, an extractor fan switched on and a preheated oven. Everything on announcement on your part – the voice assistant makes it possible.

However, not everything that is technically possible is useful or necessarily so. And especially on the subject of data protection, you should inform yourself as a smart user before you cleverly upgrade your home. Once you've got the hang of it, you'll quickly realize that smart technologies are the future, and rightly so. To get this through, we have a few tips for them.

The garage door opens as soon as the doorstep is stepped on, the lights can also be switched off while on the move, and at night the outdoor camera ensures security within your own four walls: Smart Home – this means the use of technical systems, automated processes as well as networked, remote-controlled devices in living spaces and houses.

The goal here is to increase the quality of life, living comfort and the safety of the residents. At the same time, smart home applications often ensure greater efficiency in energy use.

The technology behind the technology: How does smart technology work??

When you use your smartphone, you realize that it is no longer just a cell phone. Since the introduction of the first iPhone in Germany in 2007, at the latest, most cell phone users know that they carry small portable computers around with them. You can even use it for cashless payments! And you can also manage your easyCredit with your smartphone – easily and conveniently from anywhere.

The secret behind this multi-functionality is, of course, the Internet. In the case of smart home, more precisely, "The Internet of Things": the collective term for technologies of a global infrastructure that makes it possible to network physical and virtual objects and make them work together through information and communication technologies

This digital data network is also the basis of a smart home. And in order for the technical components and networked devices to communicate with each other, they need a common interface through which all the information comes together: the server or smart home hub.

Control commands via touchscreen or as a voice command or sound stimulus, such as clapping hands, are received and forwarded via WLAN, cellular, Bluetooth or data cable. Using various controls such as smart switches, touchscreen PCs on the wall or an app on your tablet or smartphone, you can then program, remotely control and, for example, automate the home automation system as needed via a timer.

Better safe than sorry: Data protection must also apply to the smart home!

Similar to computers and smartphones, the following also applies to the smart home: Protect the network and your personal data! The most important prerequisite for this are individual settings during setup, such as passwords and rights assignments. For complete turnkey solutions, many providers have developed special sets of rules that ensure the greatest possible protection.

  1. Not protecting the home WLAN with a password in the first place.
  2. Do not change preset default passwords.
  3. Not to protect all devices consistently with passwords.
  4. Not updating the firmware.

Just a few steps can significantly increase security in the smart home:

  • Do not access personal information or social media accounts on unsecured wireless networks.
  • Keep your security software up to date at all times.
  • Use the strong encryption method WPA2 for your WLAN.
  • You should disable additional features such as a camera or microphone on equipment if you don't absolutely need them.
  • Use strong passwords, ideally consisting of at least ten upper- and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers.
  • Never open unchecked attachments in messages from unknown senders.
  • Change the default login data and default passwords stored in the factory settings of the devices.

Smart, but please also practical: What are the advantages of the smart home?

The main purpose of the smart home is to ensure that home technology such as lighting or heating work more efficiently and economically at home. Various services and applications in your everyday life can provide more comfort, safety and energy savings.

If, for example, you can dim the lights in your living room from your couch using an app, this increases the comfort of your home. Automated door locks, window contacts and wireless smoke detectors can alert you to dangerous situations on your smartphone. Meanwhile, smart thermostats and temperature controllers help save energy at home.

These things are really smart

Where you personally draw the line between luxury item and practical device is of course up to you. For some, the choreographed light-music-room-temperature scene is like a warm welcome when they come home after a long day at work, and it immediately relaxes them. For others, it's already help enough when the washing machine in the basement can be scheduled via app.

Kick-off of smart technologies at your home

Read our article "Smart things that simplify our lives" for an overview of how smart technologies can make their way into your everyday life. We also show what already works well today and what we can look forward to in the future. You'll also find tips on which smart devices actually simplify our lives and which make them unnecessarily complicated.

Voice assistants: Siri, Alexa and Co.

Control the household with your own voice? Thanks to voice assistants, this is already possible. Read about how Isabel approached the subject, eliminated doubts and in the end even found the light switch to be yesterday's news.

Robots in the home

Household robots are becoming all-rounders: vacuuming, mopping, – these annoying chores can already be a thing of the past thanks to smart home technology. In our article on robots in the home, we also answer the question: Can machines really replace humans adequately?? We also provide an overview of current models and what they can do.

Smart floor

If you invest in the renovation of your home, you are thinking about the future. A smart floor can play an important role in this: By laying sensors under carpeting, tiles or parquet flooring, not only can security precautions be taken in the sense of burglar alarms or energy efficiency increased by motion detectors. It also helps to be alerted in time to residents who have fallen – in old age or illness, this can be life-changing.

Smart security technology

Smart alarm systems resemble an intelligent control center that is connected to a variety of devices via wireless technologies. Cables are only needed in exceptional cases for the power supply of the individual devices. Many models can also be remotely controlled and managed via smartphone. If a sensor triggers an alarm, you will also be informed via your smartphone, regardless of your location.

Smart energy management

Modern ovens and refrigerators rightly advertise their extremely efficient energy class first and foremost – even ahead of exciting features such as countless baking programs or innovative anti-freeze technology. Because low consumption saves you money and protects the environment.

Intelligent radiator thermostats, for example, ensure that incorrect heating or forgotten heating when leaving the apartment are a thing of the past. Modern thermostats can be controlled and evaluated via a smartphone or your computer's browser. At the same time, some devices have detectors that even notice open windows and regulate the heating accordingly.

And smart sockets also allow you to read energy consumption directly from the device or from your smartphone in many cases. In this way, you can always keep an eye on consumption and identify power guzzlers in your home.

The future of smart technologies

Due to rapid technological advances, many new types of smart home elements will be in use within a few years. In 2016, Ikea presented a smart table under the motto "Concept Kitchen 2025" that uses a camera to recognize food and make recipe suggestions based on the ingredients. Food waste is to be reduced in this way and better use made of existing foodstuffs.

Mirrors are also set to become smart by analyzing the user's skin and recommending care products on this basis. And the toilet of the future will provide the user with information about his or her health and can even perform pregnancy tests.

In their development, smart technologies therefore follow the principle of facilitating everyday life and increasing comfort. Used correctly, smart products already offer great added value in life.

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