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Technology boom: Turning your Maine home into a “smart house”


Flyte New Media's Rich Brooks shares new technology upgrades, from automatic lighting to text alerts when the wash is finished.

Portland, Maine As technology advances, so too does the way we use it.

There are now many devices and apps that can turn your home into a smart home. There are plenty of devices on the market for everything from controlling your thermostat to programming your lights and even receiving a text message when your laundry is done.

Flyte New Media's Rich Brooks shares just a few of the options.

What is a smart home? Why do I need a smart home?

“A smart home allows you to control devices around your home with voice commands, apps, sensors, and other methods.Smart homes not only make your life easier, they also offer energy savings, convenience, security, and even accessibility. '' Brooks said.

What kinds of devices can be “smart”?

“Almost anything you can plug into your wall can be controlled, and there are a lot of devices out there that are designed to be smart,” Brooks explained. “Popular items include light switches, thermostats, doorbells, blinds and shades, ceiling fans, electronics, and even Roomba (robot vacuum cleaners) and door locks. In my research, I found that when someone put a dryer on I was adding an energy sensor to tell me when the laundry was done.”

And how can you control these various smart devices?

“There's usually more than one way depending on the device. You can talk to Alexa to tell it to turn on the lights, play a message, etc. Controlled via an app on your phone or tablet Some people set it up and use a dedicated tablet to control every device and every automation,” Brooks said. “You can also set up sensors to turn on lights when you enter a room or open blinds when the sun shines.”

“You can also set up automations, which will trigger a series of events based on the time of day or actions you take, such as opening the garage door in the evening after work. You can also install buttons to launch them immediately, change settings, or override scheduled automations,” Brooks added.

How do these devices communicate with each other and stay connected?

“You can use your existing Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but if you have a large home you need to make sure you have a very good Wi-Fi mesh. “We recommend investing in a smart home hub that can serve as a hub for all your smart devices,'' Brooks said. “These can range from less than $100 to hundreds of dollars or more.”

Do all these devices work seamlessly, or do you only need to buy from one vendor?

“Compatibility between devices is becoming more and more common, but it may make sense to start with one smart home system, such as from Apple, Google, or Amazon. Or if you're really interested in setting up automation. Many people use systems such as Home Assistant,” he explained.

When it comes to getting started, what would you recommend to someone who is doing all of this for the first time?

“Be sure to walk before you run,” he instructed. “Start by focusing on one room, or one task, that you want to automate to make your life easier. Once you have a smart plug, you can use your existing smart speaker (if you have one) to turn it on/off. You can turn it off. Change the light or replace the thermostat.”

“As we continue to add devices like motion sensors, video cameras, and smart home hubs, we can reduce energy costs, secure your home, and create powerful automations that turn off your iron when you leave the house,” Brooks said. he said with enthusiasm.

“Of course, these smart devices can be expensive, and the national average for home automation can range from 2,000 to 6,000, so many people are reluctant to get up and turn off the lights themselves. “Maybe,” he says.

What's the craziest smart home automation you've seen?

“A New York family connects their smart home hub to the New York subway schedule and installs colored strip lights to let them know when it’s time to get ready to leave their apartment so they can arrive at the platform just as the train arrives. '' Brooks recalled.

“One guy had a smart mousetrap that sent him a text alert when a mouse was caught. He didn't do it this way, but you should be able to do something similar with the Have a tool. “It’s a trap of the mind,” he added.

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