Beginners Guide to Creating a Smart Home

Wake up, wash up, dress up. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafts into the room. But no one else is out of bed yet. You head for the kitchen. There it is — pot of hot coffee waiting for you. The coffee machine ground beans, boiled water, and brewed the grinds the moment you woke up. Your virtual assistant chimes in; traffic heavy today. It’ll take 13 minutes longer to get to work. Leave a little earlier; about 8:27am. Plenty of time to enjoy the coffee. And toast. Where’s the butter? The fridge reminds you that you’re almost out of butter and, horror, coffee beans. It adds that to your to-do list on your phone. Your coffee and toast done, wish your sleepy family goodbye, and leave for the office. You forget to lock the door but that's okay. It locks up for you. But not before your phone informs you that you’ve left your laptop on the dining table. 

That’s just a teaser of what a smart home could do on a normal day — a home automation system designed to improve your way of life. Sounds expensive but these days, it’s more affordable than you think. If you’ve never dipped into Here’s what you need to know before you create your very own smart home.


What is a Smart Home?

Before we start, here’s the deets on what makes a smart home, well, smart. Essentially, it’s a home communication network that lets all sorts of electronic devices and appliances “talk” to each other. What’s smart about that? It means they can collaborate to suit your routines and habits. The above scenario is but one example of how everything works together seamlessly from one thing to the next. Effectively used, a smart home can reduce your carbon footprint and improve your quality of life.


Features of a Smart Home

In most cases, smart homes are pretty easy to install — just bring home the smart devices and appliances. No hacking required. For many, it’s just plug and play — turn them on and they’re ready to go. Some will require a little fiddling but with helpful prompts from the devices themselves. And then there are the specialised ones that handle all the small details — these might require a little professional help e.g. security systems.


The great news is there’s practically a device or appliance for every need. The bad news: it’s impossible to list all of them. So, instead, they’ll be covered very broadly by categories:


Central Hub

In order to be smart, there’s got to be the brains of the whole operation (other than yours, of course). It’s the control centre to which all devices and appliances are connected to and from which you control everything. The best part of this is you already have one right now: your smartphone.



Thanks to Google, Amazon, and Apple, every home can potentially have their own virtual assistant. They take form of wireless speakers, each with their own brand of AI (namely, Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri, respectively) that can also serve as a central hub. And all you have to do is tell them when you want them to do, just as you would with a living and breathing, slave assistant.


They aren’t the only ones about either. Brands like Sonos, Bose, and many more also offer their own variety of AI that are more music oriented: some music to follow you wherever you are in your home*, some help to turn down the volume at night, or and some even optimize your home movie experience.


*provided you have a multi-speaker set up in your home.



Smart TVs are one of the more straightforward pieces of smart tech. As long as you are connected to the internet, you’ll have years of content to help you kill time. Take your pick. Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Apple TV… you get the idea. Paired with a virtual assistant, if you lose the TV remote, no sweat: just say what you want to watch and it will be done.



The lightbulb: the single most important tech where homes are concerned. Lights influence everything. Our behaviour, mood, productivity. With smart lighting, you can do so much more. And you don’t even need physical switches to turn them on or off. Or even change colour. Just control it from your phone. Forgot the living room lights before hitting the bed? Just do it from your phone. On holiday in London and need to turn the lights on? Your phone. Need to set the mood for a wild party? Phone.



Imagine this. Your doorbell rings. It’s Mom. Thought to surprise you with your favourite snack — onde-onde. Gosh, thanks, mom. You can leave it on the dining table. Thanks, love you, bye. And you weren’t even home the whole time. Video surveillance to confirm she’s who she says she is. Smart locks that you can control from anywhere. And more video footage of mom tidying your room before she leaves.  



Give regular appliances a university degree with smart plugs. Turn on the lamp without having to reach for the back of some dark and scary corner of your home. Or hook it up to your virtual assistant. Then it could turn on that lavender scented diffuser just before you arrive home from a hard day’s work.


Designing a Smart Home

The thing about designing a smart home is not to feel pressured to include EVERYTHING at once. Not everything needs to be built in, if at all. Smart devices can be added gradually, one at a time. 


Posted on 21st Jan 2022


Kenny Tan,

SiXiDES Writer


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