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Smart home basics: things you need to know to get started

This article is Sponsored by Cox Communications

Smartphone technology gave users new levels of freedom. Your phone became a mobile office, a computer, a camera, a social media hub, a gaming system and much more. The next level in the technology revolution is embracing smart home capabilities.

Smart homes can save money while being environmentally friendly and can even potentially save lives with all of the security features.

“Having a smart home is like conducting an orchestra: You can call on each connected object to play its own tune, but the true beauty is choreographing your smart things to work together and perform a symphony,” explains smartthings.com.

Of course, figuring out how to make all the devices and systems in a smart home work together can be a challenge.

“Ultimately, all smart devices connect to the Internet. However, the way in which they interact with other smart devices and connect to your local network may vary,” reports tomsguide.com.

One way to minimize problems is to have the best possible connection, like Cox Gigablast, which is 100 times faster than traditional DSL.

Here are a few of the diverse ways smart homes can provide an enhanced quality of life.

Save money on energy

A smart thermostat allows you to control your home’s climate from anywhere, using your smartphone. That can pay big dividends in Arizona, where you can turn down the air conditioning after you head to work each day and crank it up when you leave the job to go home. While the primary energy savings from a smart home comes from controlling temperature, you can also control the lights from wherever you are. So, if you’re on vacation and don’t want people to know your house is empty, simply turn on a couple lights without leaving them burning the entire time you’re away. Some systems like Cox Homelife combine many features in one.

Control security

Traditional security systems get expensive when you add the original equipment to the cost of monthly monitoring. In addition to controlling lights, a smart home allows you to lock and unlock doors remotely. You can also add motion sensors and a loud alarm that sounds if there are unauthorized movements in your home. If you want to see what is going on, you can connect to cameras that allow you to visually check your home on your smartphone, even if you are miles away.

Watch out for your pets

With a smart home system, you can watch your pets anytime from any location on your smartphone or computer. An article in safety.com lists 40 of the best available pet monitor systems. Depending on the model, features include high-quality, real-time video, night viewing, an intercom that allows you to speak to your pet, temperature and humidity monitoring (great if your pet is in an outdoor area), and pan-and-tilt controls so you can move the camera for a better view. Many allow recording, so you can watch what your pet did during the day. One model even allows you to dispense treats.

Protect your family

The days of listening for the garbled sound of a crying baby on an audio-only baby monitor are long gone. Everything described for pets is also available for monitoring children and other family members. Besides just webcam imaging and audio, today’s systems can warn you if an exterior door opens when someone is home alone. GPS sensing systems can alert you when children arrive home from school, when a car pulls into the driveway or if a child leaves a designated area.

With smart lights or an alarm, you can even flash the lights or sound an alarm when off-limit spaces are accessed, such as gun cases, cupboards where cleaning supplies are stored, medicine or liquor cabinets and so on. Of course, you’ll also receive a notification on your smartphone.

Health monitors connected to a smart home system can detect potential problems or allow doctors and family members to monitor elderly family members and possibly eliminate the need to send them to a nursing facility.

There are also smart smoke detectors, smart flood sensors and possibly hundreds of other applications yet to be discovered. It all starts by having the best possible internet connection, so you can take advantage of smart home benefits and features as they become available.

cox-download-21Cox has been in business for more than 100 years. Get peace of mind from a company you trust. Bundle your Homelife package with all your other Cox services—including Contour TV, High Speed InternetSM, and Digital Telephone—for time-saving convenience.