If you’re a homebuyer in the current Indian real estate market, smart homes or home automation are buzz words you would be familiar with. If you have taken up a home renovation project recently, you would have heard of these concepts too. In fact, if you’re anyone living in the metro cities of India, home automation is an idea you would have come across in the past few years.
Unfortunately, most people come across the idea of a smart home with a few stereotypes attached to it. Smart homes are portrayed as expensive, and strictly luxury. The lack of proper awareness has also led homeowners to believe that smart homes are tricky to operate.
We can confidently say that none of that is true. With the amazing leaps in technology, smart homes are immensely user friendly for non-tech savvy individuals as well. Home automation is obviously not strictly luxury as it provides a lot of functional benefits that we will discuss further.
Moving on to the main stereotype associated with home automation, and the reason you’ve come to this blog, the expense. Traditional home automation is, no doubt, expensive. When you hire home automation experts to build your smart home from scratch it can cost you more than you might like. However, it is possible to build a smart home on a budget, and we’re going to guide you through it.
Also Read: 5 Gadgets to Keep Your Home Safe
What Is A Smart Home?
Any home with devices or appliances that can be controlled, automated, or scheduled remotely is called a smart home. Consider it as having a full hospitality team present in your house 24/7 and the butler is your smartphone that controls every single aspect of your smart home.
A smart home will generally consist of smart devices like smart lights, Television, thermostats, door locks and any other home appliance you can possibly think of. These appliances are then connected to a smartphone, tablet, or any other networked device. Anyone with access to the said networked device can then automate any actions and schedule any tasks on these smart appliances.
In today’s time, smart appliances consist of the biggest home appliances like the refrigerator to the most uncommon ones like an Airfryer. Many of these smart appliances also have machine learning capabilities and adjust to the owner’s schedule.
You can access your smart home with either manual inputs or voice inputs in case your device is compatible with the same.
Home automation devices come in both wired and wireless forms. While wireless forms are more expensive, they can be much easier to install. Don’t be disheartened though, wired home automation installation projects don’t require advanced skills either.
In 2020 the global home automation market was valued at 48.52 Billion USD and was expected to grow to 54.41 Billion USD in the year 2021. However, the industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11.9% and cross the 85 Billion USD mark by 2025.
Pros And Cons Of Having A Smart Home
Like anything in life, a smart home also isn’t simply all good or all bad. There are pros and cons to home automation and we need to take a close look at them before you decide how much of your home you want to automate and how much money you’d like to put into that project.
Advantages Of Having A Smart Home
1. Smart homes provide increased security and safety to the owners. With remote access to door locks and security cameras, a homeowner can check on their homes even when thousands of kilometres away. Some smart home security systems also trigger alarms and inform the homeowner as well as the authorities of a security breach.
2.With installations like pet cameras and treat dispensers, homeowners can keep a check on their fur babies.
3. The convenience of being able to switch appliances on or off also comes in handy. Maybe you forgot to turn off an appliance that can turn into a fire hazard, your home automation installation would help you avoid a mishap.
4. Smart homes also help in energy savings. Since the access to every outlet in the home is at your fingertips, you can easily dim the lights, turn appliances off after use even from a different room. Many smart lights can also be scheduled to work in accordance with the sunlight coming into the house and thus turn on or off automatically on sundown or sunrise.
Disadvantages Of Having A Smart Home
1. Initially, getting the hang of all the technology used in a smart home might not come easy to non-tech-savvy users. This problem can be solved easily with proper support. In addition, the time spent to learn the technology is minuscule in comparison to the long-term convenience it can provide.
2. Since smart homes are reliant on the internet, connectivity could become an issue. If you have a low internet bandwidth or are facing issues with connectivity, your appliances might not function for as long as the issue persists.
3. The biggest disadvantage of a smart home is the cost of installation. As we have discussed before, home automation systems can be expensive but there is a way out if you keep reading.
How To Make Your Home Smart On A Budget In India?
1. Do-It-Yourself (DIY)
Indians are used to the convenience of having someone take care of any skilled work in and around the house. Since labour costs are high in countries like the United States of America, people have embraced the idea of DIY projects even around home renovation.
Similarly, installing home automation systems by yourself might seem like a daunting task but it isn’t as difficult as it seems. Home automation companies charge homeowners for the skill of the installation engineer and the products. If you remove the cost for a skilled engineer and alternate high-end smart appliances with budget options, you’ll be able to make these renovations on a shoestring budget comparatively.
Use the power of YouTube to help guide you through the installation of smart devices.
2. One Smart Home Device At A Time
Don’t rush in and buy every smart device or appliance you see. Take your home automation slow and spread it over at least a year. This will help you fully automate your home without feeling like you’re blowing your budget for the same.
Start small and build a foundation of a smart hub and a good wi-fi connection. You can keep adding smart home appliances as your budget permits.
3. Wait For Sale Days
Flipkart, Reliance Digital, Croma, and Amazon have been known to have astonishing cuts in the prices of electronic items during their dedicated sale days. Have patience when building your smart home.
Of course, if budget isn’t a constraint, you could just hire a home automation service and have a smart home in a matter of days. However, for those of us who don’t want to spend a fortune on it, buying smart appliances during sales is the smart choice.
4. Try Amazon.com
This might seem like an odd point. After all, we did mention Amazon in the previous pointer as well. What we mean by Amazon.com is ordering from sellers available exclusively on Amazon’s USA site.
Since home automation has been a trend in the USA for longer, a lot of indie companies are selling great smart devices at lower prices. These small businesses do not carry the capacity to ship worldwide and are thus unable to cater to the international market. Amazon on the other hand can help you connect to them with a meagre shipping fee. Search for budget smart home devices on Google and you will find a list of budget-friendly and efficient devices only available on Amazon.com. Grab these!
Steps To Complete Home Automation for beginners?
To ensure the proper functioning of your smart home, you need to ensure you have the right network of devices laid out. For someone starting out on their home automation journey, installing a smart home can seem tricky and confusing.
This is why we are here to help. Here are the steps you need to take to automate your home.
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Start With An Ecosystem
The Ecosystem of your smart home is a kit that creates a smooth link between the third-party smart devices you will be installing in your home. The three most popular ecosystems around the globe currently are Amazon Alexa, Google Nest, and Apple HomeKit.
Quite obviously, if yours is an Apple household with all thighs starting with “i”, you should opt for the Apple HomeKit to be your smart home ecosystem. However, of the three ecosystems mentioned above, the Apple HomeKit significantly raises the financial investment required in your home automation.
Apple’s tighter control practices over third-party certifications provide a smooth experience for all compatible devices. The downside is there aren’t too many compatible devices. Major smart-home brand names do produce Apple HomeKit compatible devices though. Thus, you end up paying more as you buy brand name smart devices.
However, an amazing upside is the security that Apple HomeKit provides compared to Amazon’s Alexa and Google Nest.
Select A Smart Hub
Yes, your smartphone can control your smart home remotely through an app. Does that mean a smart hub is just an unnecessary expense? Not at all.
Consider the people living in your home besides you, or your guests, or young kids who might not have smartphones.
Now imagine you walk to the kitchen, forget your phone on the living room couch, can’t see because it’s pitch dark and have your hands full. Want to guess what happens next? You scream at the top of your lungs, “SIRI TURN ON THE KITCHEN LIGHT” and wonder what your life has come to.
You shouldn’t have to scream alone in your kitchen in the dark. This can simply be solved by placing smart displays and speakers around your home. These are called smart hubs and they allow you to access your smart home without a smartphone. Some smart hubs even permit the creation of profiles to identify which member of the household is accessing the hub.
Find A Compatible Wi-Fi
This is comparatively a simpler step to execute while building your smart home. The first thing you need to do is figure out what existing Wi-Fi bandwidth you have. The most common Wi-Fi frequencies available in India are 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The 2.4 GHz frequency offers a longer range while the 5 GHz frequency offers better speed. The current mix of smart home devices functions mostly on the 2.4 GHz frequency.
Look into upgrading to a better router model in case you’re using an old one. Also, the placement of your router can have a huge impact on how your smart devices perform, so take that into consideration when upgrading your router.
Buy Devices Compatible With Your Smart Home Setup
Any smart home device available on the market will have an indicator of which ecosystem they’re compatible with. As discussed before, the individual with an Apple HomeKit might have to be cautious while choosing smart home devices and check them thoroughly for compatibility.
All you need to do is check the manufacturer’s labelling for compatibility and pick up smart devices that work with your Google Nest, Amazon Alexa, or Apple HomeKit set up.
Buy Smart Plugs For Non-Smart Devices
You might be able to control a traditional desk lamp to make it dimmer or brighter through your smart hub, but you can still control the power supply it gets.
If you’re planning to take your home automation slow and under a budget, we highly recommend investing in smart plugs. They can help turn any traditional wired electronic item in your home into a smart device. You can turn your traditional oven, microwave, tv, lamps, etc. on or off with a voice command or a simple click on your smartphone if they’re connected to a smart plug.
Setup Your Smart Devices Carefully
You can set up your smart devices with the detailed manuals they come along with. That’s easy! What’s complicated is the locations you place them in and the names you give them.
Every smart device needs to be accessible and placed in optimal locations to work with the other smart devices’ networks present in the room. You also want to name these devices in your app in a way that is recognizable to anyone accessing it.
But if you live by yourself, or the others in your house agree to it, we aren’t opposed to you name your smart lights Pam, Jim and Dwight either.
Affordable smart home Gadgets available in India
Here is a list of affordable and reliable smart home gadgets currently available in India to get you started on your home automation.
- Amazon Echo (3rd Gen)
- Google Nest Mini (2nd Gen)
- Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker
- Apple HomePod Mini
- Halonix Smart Bulb
- Smitch RGB Smart Bulb
- Realme LED Wi-Fi Smart Bulb
- Wipro Smart Bulb
- Xiaomi Mi Smart LED Bulb
- Oakter 16 Amp Wi-Fi Smart Plug
- Smarteefi Smart Switchboard
- TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug
- Oakremote Wi-Fi All-In-One Smart Universal Remote
- Xiaomi Mi TV Stick with Built-in Chromecast
- Fire TV Stick Lite (2020) with Alexa
Smart Security Cameras
- Xiaomi Mi Home Security Camera 360°
- Realme Smart Cam 360°
- Lenovo Smart Display 7 (with Google Assistant)
- Echo Show 8 Smart display with Alexa (2nd Gen)
- Echo Show 5 Smart display with Alexa
These tools and information are crucial for you to create a budget for your DIY smart home renovations. They will even help you stick to the budget you created. Taking inspiration from this blog, you can either go all out and make all suggested home automation renovations to your home today or spread it over a couple of years. This can help you avoid putting stress on your wallet.
Even if you decide to take up all the home automation projects mentioned above, you can still choose the budget-friendly smart home gadgets available in India to stay under budget.
Whatever you choose to do, we congratulate you for starting on your smart home journey today!