If you live in an apartment, you are probably tired of hearing about the smart home revolution. Modern smart home devices can be traced back to the Nest thermostat. A learning thermostat is a nice idea, assuming you own a house with a thermostat you can change out freely.
If you lived in an apartment at the time, you sat out the beginning of the smart home revolution. Landlords take a dim view of removing semi-permanent fixtures. Even if a renter obtained permission to do so, they would have to reverse the procedure when they left.
Door locks fall into the same category. They may be even harder to change out because the apartment management would insist on having keys to the home. They would not allow keying the apartment to be under the renter’s control.
But those aren’t the only smart home options available today. And while renters still cannot experience the full range of smart home living, they can enjoy a lot more than they could at the beginning. If you are a renter, here are a few of the smart home options available to you right now:
There was a time when a home security system meant professional installation, pulling electrical wiring and some minor wall reconstruction. Needless to say, if you were in an apartment, it wasn’t going to happen.
Today, sites like alarmrelay.com are changing the narrative. There are now systems that can hide in a closet and connect to your home router. Because they work with your smartphone, no keypad installation is required. When you get a wireless security system, you do not have to sacrifice monitoring. You can still get the same, inexpensive monitoring available to wired systems. You also get window sensors, along with a full range of wireless options.
Now, home security does not have to be limited to single family houses. It can also apply to apartments. Safety should be for everyone.
Lights are the easiest devices to which one can give home smarts. It is almost as easy as changing a lightbulb, but not quite. Smart devices tend to need some sort of smart hub. Smart lights connect via wifi. A wifi hub is usually a part of a starter kit.
All of the lights have to be able to communicate with the hub. And the hub is what communicates with your smartphone. So before you go out and start buying a bunch of smart lights at your local electronics store, make sure they are compatible with your hub and smart home ecosystem.
With this compatibility, your lights and your speakers can work together to create a home entertainment scene. Or your lights can work in conjunction with your security system. Otherwise, everything becomes its own little island.
It started with Phillips Hue lights. Now, there is a healthy competition for the best smart lights you can buy. Expect to pay $150 to $200 for a starter kit. Also, expect extra bulbs to cost around $50 or $60.
There are a few apartment essentials that no one should be without. But there are a few popular items that might become essentials if the state of the art continues to improve. One of those future essentials is the smart speaker. Amazon is currently leading the charge with the Echo. While Google has a response to the Echo that does not seem to be doing nearly as well. Sales figures, such as they are, suggest that neither has quite made it into mainstream consciousness.
Apple has just announced its intentions to enter the arena with the HomePod later this year. It is a smart speaker with heavy emphasis on the speaker. It is designed to sound great when playing music, as in Sonos competitor. Apple’s entry will cost $350.
A smarter home is within reach even if you don’t live in a house. Smarten up your apartment with home security, connected lights, and a smart speaker or two. Now, your apartment can have both beauty and brains.