Technology has entered into every corner of our professional and personal lives. A smart thermostat that keeps your home warm and saves you money. A fridge that tells you’re about to run out of milk and butter. A doorbell that is connected to your phone lets you check who’s ringing without opening your door. For the most part, the Internet of Things (IoT) has made things much simpler for us.
IoT is developing at a fast pace, so it is likely that one day most (if not all) of our electronic devices will be talking to one another. By connecting your smart gadgets to one central hub, you will be able to control everything from lighting to temperature, using only your voice.
Here’s how to get started with your smart home.
Choosing the Right Electronic Ecosystem
First of all, you may want to decide which ecosystem to get. While you only really have three choices for your smartphone ecosystem, iOS, Android, and Windows, there are a number of smart home ecosystems from tech giants, including Samsung, Amazon, or Google.
Though many people use gadgets from different ecosystems, sticking to one brand also makes perfect sense. For example, if you already have an Android smartphone, you may want to get Google Home, while iPhone users will find an Apple-based home system a better option. By using a single ecosystem, you will find it easier to sync and share your files, do backups and find apps that work on all your devices.
On the other hand, if you like shopping on Amazon, or you already have the Echo in your home, Amazon’s ecosystem can also be an option, even if you are a loyal Apple or Android user. Don’t be afraid to mix and match!
Time for a Smart Speaker
From playing your favorite music to controlling all connected devices with your voice – a good smart speaker lets you do more hands-free than any device can. The ability to control all Internet-connected devices with your voice comes especially handy when cooking or doing some cleaning. Without touching a screen, you can easily change a song, get the news or weather reports. All you need to do is simply ask your smart device, and it will make your wish come true.
However, while there are many apps that you can download and use to control your smart home, a tinny smartphone speaker may be not enough if you live in a larger house. To put it simply, you won’t be able to hear your home assistant from another room. In this case, getting a smart speaker sounds like a good idea.
Now, whichever ecosystem of apps you are using, you have a lot of options – Apple, Google, Amazon – all offer high-quality speakers for smart homes.
Protecting your smart home
Unfortunately, most IoT devices – from vacuum cleaners to home assistants – aren’t manufactured with security in mind. Therefore, they are at high risk of being attacked by malicious actors. So if you are ready to make your home smart, don’t forget to keep it safe too.
Start by changing default passwords of all your devices. Make them long, unique and complex, and never use the same password for different gadgets. Also, don’t forget security updates as they usually contain fixes to critical security vulnerabilities. And most importantly – get a reliable VPN for your router.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) hides your IP address and encrypts your Internet traffic, this way keeping all your data safe from snoopers and hackers. That means even if a nefarious user does somehow manage to intercept your connection, they won’t be able to decipher and read any of your data. Additionally, you can be sure that your internet browsing data will be totally inaccessible to anyone since high quality VPNs do not monitor or store such data. Increasingly, many new routers support the robust encryption that advanced VPNs use to protect their users. But just to make sure, read your router’s manual to see if you can use your router as a VPN client.
Adding just a few smart devices to your home can make you feel like you are living in the future. Just don’t forget that this future poses many security risks. So every time you get a new Internet-connected device, don’t forget to take some steps to protect it from possible threats.