Smart home security systems new and old

You’re probably familiar with traditional home security systems, but do you really need a full system from one of the “usual” security companies? Today, the choices in home security for consumers have multiplied, with traditional security companies jumping into the smart home and the new smart home companies jumping into security. And, if you’re more “hands-on”, you can even piece together your own custom home security system and bypass the packaged systems altogether.

Smart Home Q&A - May 2018

On this month's Q&A, there's questions on less expensive smart light strips, the best non-Apple HomeKit app to use, and combining existing in-wall speakers with smart speakers. All of this and a little more on this month's smart home questions and answers session!

Quick Tips: Smart Ceiling Fans

Summer is quickly approaching in some parts of the world. And while ceiling (and other) fans help keep us cool instead of turning down the air conditioning, wouldn't it be great if they adjusted themselves automatically? It's easier to do than you think, and this edition of Smart Home Quick Tips will show you how!

Home Sweet Smart Home

Have I become too reliant on home automation? Am I spoiled by it? Even while on a quick weekend getaway up to the beautiful red rocks of Sedona, AZ, I felt strange not having convenient control of the environment of the hotel room where I stayed. Do I need to join a support group?

Quick Tips: Push Those Buttons!

These days, we're so used to the convenience of smart speakers and voice control, along with touch screens and apps, that we tend to forget that the original way to control the smart home was with physical controls. Multi-button control pads and wall controllers were commonplace years ago, but Apple, Google and Amazon want us to believe that everything will be voice controlled in the future. Well, I beg to differ.

Google Assistant: New voices, multiple actions, improvements debut @ Google I/O 2018

Google kicked off its annual developer conference, Google I/O, this morning with a two-hour keynote that ranged from Waymo self-driving cars to new Google Photos features to improvements in Google Assistant. And across all of it was a central theme: artificial intelligence, now being baked-in to nearly every Google product and service. While there were a number of improvements for the smart home, they felt a little lackluster. Also, there was absolutely zero information from Nest, a Google subsidiary.

Quick Tips: Easier Smart Home Voice Control with Alexa and Google Assistant

Does your smart home have a few too many smart "things" and scenes that get tedious to trigger by voice? Do you forget what they're called, or perhaps the extra "trigger" words to activate them? Obviously most of us don’t speak in special code or in strange syntax. If these assistants of ours could be spoken to in a more natural way, it would probably make the smart home a bit helpful.

Getting back on track, CES, 2018 smart home predictions, and more (UPDATED)

While I didn't post officially here on smarterhomelife.com regarding the content "pause", I definitely needed to post something new here in 2018. As I talked about in the Thank You video, I've had to take a break from, and re-structure Smarter Home Life. But that certainly doesn't mean it's over. Smarter Home Life's content will slowly return in the coming weeks and months, but for now, let's talk about CES.

The smart home is (still) pretty dumb

Connected lights, remote-controlled outlets, thermostats with round displays, battery-operated Bluetooth locks, and of course the ever-present “smart home hub”. These devices make up today’s “smart home”, but is it really smart?

I (finally) quit my Apple Watch

I had been so incredibly excited to get an Apple Watch back in 2014 when it was announced. I hoped that it would improve my life, unlock new home automation possibilities, and perhaps even keep me in shape. Ultimately, I was wrong.