May 23, 2022 at 11:45am | Melanie Wood
Smart home technology allows you to do cool things like control your kitchen lights with your voice, schedule your robot vac to run at 9 a.m. every day and unlock the front door with your phone.
But setting up your smart home can feel a little intimidating, so here are a few tips from WIRED and The Ambient to help you get started:
1. Start by setting up your command center.
While you can control most smart devices (light bulbs, robot vacs, etc.) with your phone, it's often easier and more convenient to have a smart speaker or smart display that can hear your voice commands. You might want to invest in several speakers, so they can hear you throughout your home.
When deciding on which speaker or display to buy, consider which assistant (or ecosystem) you prefer: are you primarily a Google user or are you partial to Amazon's Alexa or Apple's Siri? Google, Amazon, and Apple all have their own speakers and displays you can buy. You can also opt for something like the Sonos One (Gen 2) speaker, which connects to Alexa and Google Assistant.
2. Make sure the smart devices you want are compatible with your ecosystem.
Most third-party smart home devices—like the Philips Hue smart bulbs—are designed to be compatible with multiple ecosystems. But if you have your eye on the Wyze Bulb, for instance, it won't work with Apple HomeKit—it's only compatible with Alexa and Google.
3. Check your Wi-Fi connection.
Your smart devices need a reliable Wi-Fi signal to work properly. WIRED offers several suggestions for improving your Internet connection, including moving your router to a better location or upgrading to a newer model of router.
4. Protect your privacy.
Always read the privacy policy for any device you install (especially those with microphones and cameras), and do a quick online search to see if the manufacturer has experienced any security issues recently.
If you have a smart display with a camera for video calls, consider using a webcam cover when it's not in use.
If your device offers two-step authentication (asking you to confirm your account with a text message or email), always opt-in. This will keep your account more secure from hackers.
If your device offers two-step authentication (asking you to confirm your account with a text message or email), always opt-in. This will keep your account more secure from hackers.
Don't use the same password for every device. Use a password generator to create complicated passcodes that are impossible to guess, and use a password manager like LastPass to keep track of them.
Finally, be aware that Google Assistant, Amazon's Alexa, and Apple's Siri store your voice and video recordings. The Ambient has guides on how to delete Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri recordings.
Ready to start making your home smarter? Check out this Tom's Guide article to discover the best smart home devices for 2022!
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