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. 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
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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