How to start a SMART HOME in 2022

It's 2022. And a lot is changing in the 
world of smart homes, From new devices,   to new smart home standards. There is a lot of 
information out there and I'm going to walk you   through everything you need to know in order 
to start or expand your smart home in 2022. So first, what do you actually need in order to 
start a smart home? All you really need is a smart   phone or computer and some disposable income to 
buy smart devices. Okay, so that makes sense. Now,   you can just start buying devices for 
your home, right? Well, actually no. Before you buy anything, you need to decide 
on a smart home platform. The main 4 platforms   out there are from Amazon, Google, Apple and 
Samsung.

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These platforms help you setup, control,   and automate your smart home devices, 
and are often linked a smart assistant. If you’re more technical or want to have 
expanded capabilities beyond what these   main platforms allow, you can go with other 3rd 
party platforms like Homey, HomeBridge, etc. I still think the advice to pick your smart home 
platform first makes sense in 2022, though that   strategy does come with some downsides. Now, the 
main downside is lock-in. For example, if you buy   smart plugs from TP Link that are compatible with 
Google and Amazon’s smart home platform but later   want to switch to using Apple’s HomeKit, those 
smart plugs won’t work with Apple’s platform.

Now thankfully, these downsides 
are finally getting addressed   thanks to something called Matter. Matter 
is a new smart home standard designed by   all of the big smart home platform and device 
companies and is being released later this year.   So how is matter going to benefit 
you as a home user? Three things. First, it's going to make smart home devices 
easier to set up. Second, it's going to make   managing those smart devices easier, and third 
and most importantly, it's going to make the   Matter supported devices you buy interoperable 
with different smart home platforms. So,   in theory, when you buy a Nest thermostat from 
Google that supports Matter, you'll be able to   control that thermostat using Siri and HomeKit, 
which is currently something you can't do.

Another benefit you get with Matter is local 
control. So when you talk to a smart assistant   to control your lights or go into your 
smart home app to adjust the thermostat,   the commands to your lights and thermostat 
will run over your local network,   bypassing the cloud, which ends up making your 
smart home a bit faster and more reliable. So what exactly does this all mean 
for buying smart home devices in 2022?   Well, for some device categories, I 
think it's going to be worth it to wait   until the Matter-supported versions of those 
devices are released later this year and   you'll know you're buying a matter compatible 
device when you see this logo on the packaging.

To start with, Matter will support lightbulbs, 
plugs, outlets, door locks, thermostats, blinds   and shades, garage door openers, home security 
sensors, wireless access points and bridges,   and TVs and streaming devices. Just note at 
the time of this recording, that smart home   security systems as well as cameras are 
not included in the matter 1.0 standard. Now, if you're expanding your smart home or you're 
just curious to see if any existing devices that   you own will be able to be upgraded to the Matter 
standard. The answer to that question is yes.   Typically these are devices that 
have either thread or Wifi radios   built into them, since those are the 
communication technologies Matter uses. Some popular devices that will be upgraded to 
Matter at some point this year are Echo devices,   Eero Wifi routers, all Nest displays and speakers, 
the latest Nest Thermostat, Apple’s HomePod Mini,   Apple TV 4k, all Samsung SmartThings Hubs, 
Samsung smart appliances, and smart TVs.

Android,   iOS and iPadOS devices will get Matter control 
support. We’ve done reviews of most the devices   I’ve just mentioned, so if you want to learn 
more, check the links in the description below. Now do note the higher cost Nest Learning 
Thermostat will not be updated to Matter,   and Amazon’s Ring has not announced support 
for Matter at the time of recording. As a general rule of thumb, if you're buying 
any smart devices before the Matter standard   rolls out later this year, I think it's 
worth it to do just a quick Google search,   just to see if the device that you're going to 
buy will be able to upgrade to Matter later on.

If it won't be compatible, just remember it might 
not work with your smart home platform of choice.   If you want to learn even more about the Matter 
standard, The Verge put together this really   great guide and I've linked it below in the 
description. So now let's talk a little bit   about the different types of devices you can buy 
for your smart home, how I've used some of these   devices in my own smart home setup and then, if I 
think it's worth it to buy that type of device now   or wait for the Matter standard to roll out. 
First, let's look at lighting and shades. Smart lighting was my first smart home purchase 
years back and generally, you can go about it two   ways. You can either make the light bulb smart, 
or you can make the light socket or light switch   smart. Philips Hue continues to be the 
dominant smart lighting player here in the US   for smart light bulbs and that’s the brand 
I’ve used for the past several years now and   while they can be more expensive than competitors, 
their accessory ecosystem remains one of the best   out there.One of their accessories I love to use 
are the motion sensors, so when I open the door to   my apartment my hall lights automatically 
turn on, and they’re great for closets.  And you can automate your lights through your 
smart home platform, so you can set them to turn   on and off at specific times, you can also 
set what color temperature they should be   throughout the day and for some smart light 
brands, you can select specific scenes for   your rooms.

Like my bedroom, where I wake up to 
sunrise colors and go to bed with a sunset scene.   For light fixtures that can't take a smart bulb, 
that's where the smart light switches come in from   companies like Lutron and I've left links to some 
of these products and our reviews of the Philips   Hue lighting system in the description below. And 
if you're interested in buying smart lights today,   Philips has confirmed that their entire lineup 
of products will work with the Matter standard. Next up, Smart Shades. There are a few 
companies now like Lutron’s Serena brand   and IKEA that are making all different 
types of smart blinds and smart shades   for all different types of windows. Some of 
these blinds can automatically adjust their   tilt settings, according to the 
time of day and can automatically   close at sunset.

I've reviewed a set of the 
Serena wood blinds, which are a bit pricey,   but work really well. That review and other 
products are linked in the description below. Now, the next part of your home I'd 
look at automating is the thermostat.   Smart thermostats like the Nest and Ecobee 
and others from brands like Honeywell   allow you to control your thermostat 
through your smart home platforms   and automate your home settings, So, for 
example, if your thermostat knows no one   is home based on motion sensor data, 
it'll go into a away mode and not run. Next up lets talk smart locks, doorbells 
and home security systems. First Smart   Locks. I've had the August Wi-Fi lock 
which we've reviewed and in general,   the benefits smart locks give you are you 
can unlock your door with your smart phone,   be able to remotely check the status of your lock, 
easily give people temporary access to your home   and be able to automate your lock, so 
it will automatically lock at night etc. Now, smart locks are going through 
a bit of a transition with Matter   and newer technologies coming to 
them like Thread.

So in my book,   it may be worth it to wait to see what comes out 
later this year, for smart locks specifically. Also, if you’re an iOS user and want to 
take advantage of the new Home Key feature   in iOS 15 that allows you to tap your phone or 
Apple Watch to a lock and immediately open it,   only one lock at the time of this recording 
from Schlage seems to support it, so   if that’s of interest to you, I’d 
definitely wait to get a lock like that.

Next, Smart Doorbells. these are great additions 
to any home because they can detect when packages   are left on your doorstep, when someone is 
at the door they can send a notification on   all the smart speakers in your home and even 
show the live camera feed on smart displays   like with my Nest Doorbell, or on 
your TV like with the Apple TV 4K.   Some can even use facial recognition 
to let you know who's at the door. This is another category where I’d probably wait 
for doorbells that support the Matter's standard,   and in my case, it's unclear whether or not 
the Nest doorbell will be upgraded to Matter   later this year. Now, if you're looking 
at buying a smart home security system   and integrating that into your smart 
home,the hubs that many of these systems use   won’t actually work with the Matter Standard. 
So whether you’re going with one from players   like Ring, Simplify Safe, or the more traditional 
ones like ADT, Brinks and CPI here in the US,   you should be good to go and not need to 
worry about Matter compatibility at this time,   just make sure the one you pick will work 
with your smart home platform of choice.

Now, the next category of devices to talk about 
are those that make your existing devices in   your home smart. So think smart plugs and smart 
switches. For example, I use a smart plug from T-P   Link to automate when my humidifier on and off. 
They’re incredibly easy to setup and made by a lot   of brands including Amazon. IR blaster hubs are 
another type of device can help automate existing   devices in your home by mimicking the infrared 
signal output from devices controlled by remotes.   So you could automate turning on and 
off an audio receiver or bedroom fan. There are even little tiny robots that you can 
get, like, the one I have made by Switchbot,   which can automate any device that 
turns on and off with a button. I use   mine to turn on my espresso machine each 
morning. I'll leave a link below to the   video we did on the switchbot i you 
want to learn more about how it works. Now, another trend that's become quite popular 
in smart homes for the past couple of years   have been smart home appliances. So you can 
monitor whether or not your stove is turned off,   or get a notification once your load of 
laundry is done, or be able to automate   certain tasks have your Roomba vacuum the 
downstairs every other day starting at 10am.

Now, do note that not all smart appliances 
will be able to support the Matter standard,   when the standard rolls out later this year.   So those are all the category devices that I 
consider automating in my smart home. But there   is one more category that's really important that 
I've yet to talk about and that is the category   of entertainment. Think smart TV streaming 
devices, and smart speakers for multi-room audio.   Smart TVs and TV streaming devices allow you 
to stream content from your favorite apps   and watch live TV as well as turn on and 
off your TV system with a smart assistant.

We've reviewed two of the main 
devices here in the US, at least,   which are the Chromecast with Google TV and Apple 
TV 4K and if you're interested in those reviews,   check them out in the description below. Now smart speakers in the home have two important 
purposes. One is to play audio in multiple rooms   around your home and the other is to pick up 
voice commands for controlling your smart home,   like turning off the lights or turning up the 
thermostat. Often I find it's easier to just bark   commands to one of the assistants, then to dig 
out my phone out of my pocket or to go to another   advice to make adjustments. Though there are now 
smart displays like Amazon’s Echo Show which is   wall mountable l and Google’s Nest displays, which 
we’ve reviewed, that allow you to control your   smart home and make adjustments which is useful.
For playing audio unfortunately, the smart speaker   device category is one of the most fragmented 
device categories in these smart home   to date and it's unclear whether or not the 
Matter standard is going to do anything at all   to fix that.

In general, there are two different 
ways to cast media from your phone or other device   to your smart speakers. And that's by using 
either Google's Cast System or Apple's AirPlay 2. Amazon has their own cast mechanism but it’s not 
at a device OS level like Apple and Google’s,   so it’s not going to be as 
accessible as those two. You can buy smart speakers made by the smart 
home platform companies themselves, think the   Amazon Echo, Nest Mini from Google and HomePodMini 
from Apple, all of which we’ve reviewed. But if   you want a more premium sound experience you 
can get speakers made by third parties like   Bose and Sonos that will also allow you to run 
the Google Assistant and Amazon Assistant on   them.

You can get Siri for HomeKit only on 
Apple’s HomePod Mini, which we’ve reviewed. For multi-room audio, depending on the cast 
mechanism that you use, you can group third-party   speakers in with the speakers made by the big 
tech companies. For example, I group my Sonos   speakers with my HomePod Minis, and I group 
my Onkyo receiver with my Google speakers. However, you can't group Sonos speakers 
with Google speakers and you can't group   an Amazon Echo, Google Home Max and an Apple 
HomePod Mini together as a speaker group.

So,   you'll need to be careful with what 
speakers you choose for your home. So what about if you're building a new home? 
In general, my advice when building a new home   is to build for plug and play. Technology in 
the space is moving so quickly, I personally   wouldn’t bother with things like an embedded an 
intercom system, hole for your TV in the wall,   or screens in walls, because that tech will 
become outdated way quicker than your home will.   In general, I would not put in anything 
that's going to be a real pain to rip   out.

And whatever you do for the love of 
tech, do not mount the TV above the fireplace. Now if all of this smart home stuff sounds too 
complicated and you’d rather just have someone   come in and build one for you, there are smart 
home integrators out there that you can hire   and they’ll come in and set everything up for 
you and use smart home platforms like Sevant,   Crestron, and Control4 to control your smart 
home, you're just going to be reliant on those   companies to fix anything that goes 
wrong, and you're going to spend more,   which is why you typically see these 
systems in the luxury home market. If you’re in the US, you also work with companies 
like Best Buy for a smart home consultation as   well.

Now we've done a ton of reviews and videos 
on smart home tech, I've left a bunch of them   in the description below. Plus our smart home 
playlist, so make sure you check that out and   if you have any questions at all about starting 
a smart home or expanding one, leave them in the   comment below and I'll try to reply with the 
best advice possible. Hit that thumbs button   if you like this video, and subscribe to the 
channel to see more smart home related videos,   like this one and product reviews that we've 
done like our August Wi-Fi smart lock review,   and our Apple HomePod Mini Review. For 6 Months 
Later, I'm Josh Teder, thanks for watching..

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