Smart home adoption is soaring, driven by the popularity of smart speakers. The number of U.S. households that own a smart speaker grew from 8 percent in 2016 to 31 percent this year, a Consumer Technology Association study found. Ownership of smart appliances, light bulbs, thermostats, home security camera systems and vacuums is also on the rise. Providers such as Amazon are moving to capitalize on the trend by promoting pre-installation of smart speakers in apartments and new homes.
But existing home owners who don’t yet have smart home devices may feel like transitioning to the technology would be cost-prohibitive. While some items such as smart appliances can indeed get expensive, getting started with basic smart home technology can actually be affordable on an average income. Here are three simple ways to upgrade to a smart home on a budget.
1. Build Your Smart Home Hub Around a Smart TV or Speaker
If you’ve purchased a new TV lately, you may be closer to a smart home than you think. Most TV manufacturers are including internet connectivity in new television models, particularly 4K televisions, one of the hottest Christmas items in recent years. As a result, 32 percent of televisions in U.S. households are now internet-connected smart TVs, according to Leichtman Research. Smart appliance manufacturers are forming partnerships with TV manufacturers to make it easy for consumers to build a smart home network around their television sets. Universal remotes are now starting to double as smart device controllers.
Smart speakers are another easy way to start building a smart home network, and less expensive than smart TVs. Today’s leading smart speaker systems such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are increasingly compatible with products from major smart home device manufacturers.
2. Install Smart Security
Security camera systems rank high among the most demanded smart home devices because they’re practical, affordable and increasingly easy to install. Providers such as Lorex have designed their security camera systems so that you can do your own installation, saving hundreds or thousands of dollars on what you’d pay to have a traditional system professionally installed. Options range from wired to wireless, allowing you flexibility in choosing where to install your camera.
Today’s leading smart home security camera systems integrate with mobile apps so that you can monitor your surveillance footage from your smartphone or smart TV screen. You can receive automated notifications when motion sensors are tripped so you can decide whether additional steps such as remotely activating alarms are called for.
3. Add Smart Energy-Saving Devices
Another practical upgrade is adding smart energy-saving devices. Smart thermostats run from less than $100 to over $400, but they can save you an average of $131 to $145 a year, so they quickly pay for themselves. You may save even more if your home is currently using energy inefficiently.
You can save additional energy by installing smart lighting. Smart lights can be activated by motion sensors, the sound of your voice, your smartphone or a programmed app, only drawing energy when you need it. While smart bulbs cost more than traditional bulbs, they can save you an estimated $76 a year, so over time you will gradually recover your investment. They also afford you the convenience of automatically being able to adjust and optimize your lighting.
Start Making Your Smart Move Today
Smart TVs and speakers offer an easy way to start building the nucleus of a smart home system. Smart security and energy-saving devices represent easy ways to build on this foundation. There’s no need to delay, it’s easy to start building a smart home today.