Smart Home Automation Guide for Non-Techies in 2020

I think you’ll agree with me when I say there are so many advertisements for smart home devices out there and you don’t really know if you should get some for yourself or not. I mean what difference will it actually make in your life.

Probably you’ve just been thinking if smart home devices can work for you or they are a waste of money

But the truth is Smart Home devices are one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

In this post, I’ll be explaining in details what smart home automation really is and some of the benefits of having smart home devices. I’ll also be highlighting the few ones that you can start with to start your journey of comfort.

Smart Home Automation

What is a Smart Home?

Simply put, a smart home is a home filled with a number of devices that automate events and responsibilities normally handled by humans. It is actually a home that provides comfort, security, energy efficiency and all-time convenience to whoever stays in the house.

This captures the internet of things where you can lower your lights, close your curtains, lock and open the doors, and adjust the sound of your music all with the sound of your voice, a touch of your remote or with your smartphone from anywhere in the world.

Smart home automation is about two things: Automation and Remote Control.

Giving a brief summary, Automation happens when the devices are scheduled to come on and off themselves while Remote control as the name implies is actually when you control the device from another device that serves as a remote.

A lot of devices already have some of all these features but when it becomes really awesome is when so many devices are connected to one network.

Just pause and imagine

Just as you about leaving the house you tap the Away button and as you leave, the home automatically turns off specific lights, closes shades in some places, turns off the air conditioners and activates your security system. How cool that would be.

Or Just imagine

You just finished having a wonderful outing with your family and you’re about a kilometre away from home, your home knows you are coming. Your thermostat sets itself to 69, your security disarms, your doors unlock and light in the entryway turns itself on.

This kind of comfort makes me feel on top of the world and I’m sure you feel the same way too. All this happens because all these systems are connected to one network which your smartphone is also connected to and it’s able to tell when your smartphone is coming closer to the house.

Now let’s look at these two concepts in details


Automation is the ability to schedule events for later either on the devices themselves or on the network. You could include time affected commands such as your timer getting different regulations at different times of the day or you could include not scheduled events such as turning on all the lights in the house when the security alarm goes on.

At first, it could be difficult master but after a while of continual practice, you can get into so many wonderful possibilities to increase your convenience in your house.

For example, if you have someone that comes at a specific time each day to take your children on private lessons you can program your Home automation system to unlock the front door for them and also lock it up again when they are done. Cool!!! Right

Remote control

The other outstanding feature of the smart home automation system is the remote controlling system. With the right home automation systems, you can use your smartphone to view and control the system itself and any other connected devices.

Monitoring apps can also provide a lot of information about your home from the state of things at that moment to a history of things that happened in your absence. You can check out people that came to your house in your absence, you can check whether your lights were on, the doors were locked, the temperature of your home and much more.

But the bottom line is…

Transforming your home into a smart home can be as simple as buying a connected speaker. For some others, it can involve linking several different products like cameras, speakers, computers, televisions, security systems, appliances, vacuums and lots more.

Why should you have a Smart Home

1. Better Security and Safety

Smart home security

Smart homes offer much more security than normal alarm systems. Connecting your lights, camera and doorbells on one network can make your home to be a very safe hub. Having this kind of devices can actually scare someone that is checking out your house to see if they can break in or not. Nest Hello doorbell has a camera that allows you to see anybody that is approaching your house at a particular distance and trigger an alarm if it’s a criminal.

2. Saves Money and Energy

The major reason why people actually make their homes smart is the potential to save energy through the automated heating and air conditioning systems. Automating your thermostat to regulate and reduce systems in the house reduces the owner’s electric bill.

Also, things like connected lights and other appliances can use less energy by going off when not in use. This kind of product should actually be one of the first smart home devices anyone should get because the electric bills can be really really on the high side.

3. Handling Regular Household Tasks

Devices like the smart vacuum cleaner can actually do a tremendous work in this area he just programmed it and it changes your house completely.

4. Making the House more Lively and Entertaining

I guess this is the reason why we say smart because technology can keep you entertained and informed in various ways. The connected speakers can play music, read the news, live score updates, give weather updates, and even help you to control all other connected devices as well.

Few Appliances to start with…

I’ll be listing a few home automation gadgets you can get to have the Smart feeling in your home but for a more comprehensive list of the best Smart home automation devices.Opens in a new tab. Affordable devices you can get include:

Amazon Echo ( Best Smart Speaker )

The Bluetooth speaker works with Alexa, Amazon’s voice Assistant.

Apart from the good sound, it gives as a speaker, it also does a lot of other things like controls other smart home gadgets, reads audiobooks, checks the weather and helps you purchase things online just with the sound of your voice though it may take a while for it to adjust to your voice it’s worth the try.

You can also change the skin to match your home interior decoration. This smart speaker beats its competitors.

Ecobee4 ( Best Smart ThermostatOpens in a new tab. )

The predecessor, Ecobee3 had a lot of wonderful features which we all admired like a sleek design, a wonderful touch screen interface and a remote sensor to regulate the temperature in any room of your house but an added feature in this Ecobee 4 is the built-in Amazon Alexa speaker.

This is a very wonderful development because it can do all Alexa can doOpens in a new tab. like to control other smart devices, play music, shop online, check the weather and lots more.

We don’t need the echo again to do things like that if we have the Ecobee 4.

Philips Hue Family ( Best Smart Light Bulb )

The Philips Hue family comes with different kinds of bulb: the white ones and the colour ambiance bulbs. The white bulbs have the power to increase the intensity to be much brighter as well as reduce it while the colour ambiance bulbs give you control over the looks of your house.

You can set it to you can schedule it to look like the sunset when the sun is setting and like sunrise when the sun is rising. This feature really catches my attention.

The whole ecosystem is compatible with so many voice assistants out there from Alexa to Siri to IFTTT.

Nest Hello( Best Video Doorbell )

Nest Hello has the best speaker, microphone and video amongst its competitors. It has an optional facial recognition feature as well as also announces them when they come to your door.

Unfortunately, it has a hardwired connection that you have to do manually. You can also set up regions in which people’s movements announce their presence within the region. It has no free video clips storage.

One of its advantages is that it is integrated with the Nest Cam IQ indoor and Google Home speakers so you’ll really get to enjoy this device if you have a big a bigger Google / Nest smart home.

Samsung SmartThings ( Best Smart Home Hub )

The best smart home hubOpens in a new tab. that we’ve discovered so far is the Samsung SmartThings. Making your home smart needs the presence of a central system to integrate and control the rest of the other devices.

Fortunately, the SmartThings plays the part flawlessly. It works with a lot of devices and has built-in Wifi which eliminates the need for plugging in a router.

Netgear Arlo Pro ( Best Outdoor Security Camera )

The Arlo Pro’s 720p camera provides both indoor and outdoor security monitoring in just one single camera. That’s if you want to kill two birds with one stone. 

I just admire the wonderful features of this little smart home beauty. It has wonderful motion and sound detection.  Though it is costly and then the night vision is not so clear.

It’s also important to know that it also has a rechargeable battery can last up to six months and you get one week of cloud video storage free.

Now it’s over to you I would like to know if you will make a resolution of buying some smart home automation devices in 2019 and which one of them will you buy first. Please let me know by dropping a comment in the box below… Cheers and Happy New Year.


I am a tech enthusiast. Since the Smart Home tech came out I fell in love with it and have been following it ever since. I decided to use this platform to pour out my knowledge and experience I've had overtime to guide your decisions. Hope the experience is worth your while.

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