• Adelene Tie

Myth About Smart Living Dispelled Once and For All

Updated: Oct 15

This article is a written adaptation of a video interview Mr Shopper Studio’s founders Ken Lee and Kate Deng did with the guys of Koble X My Lighthouse. To watch the full video, click the link here and here!

Once known as the Internet of Things (IoT) and then adopting the more crowd-friendly name of smart home technology, home automation is no doubt the future of home living. Slowly and steadily integrating into parts of our daily lives, the purpose of these smart devices is to offer convenience and ease to the way we live. You may feel skeptical and think that there is no problem with the way that you live and thus cannot see the reason why you would need to change anything. But I can assure you that if there is one thing constant in life, it is change — and hopefully, the change in our lives results for the better, such as the adoption of technology for overall improvement and enhancement of our daily activities. What is smart living and what is it not? Read on to find the common myths of smart home living debunked!

The Difference Between Smart Light and Smart Switches

Our home renovation project at City View is just one of the home renovation projects we have integrated with Smart Home Technology

Smart lights have automation and connectivity functions — such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built into them and can be connected and programmed together to be controlled in your app or even with a smart speaker with voice command controls such as Google Home or Amazon Echo. Smart lights are the best place to start from transitioning your home to a smart one as you can opt for a couple of light bulbs to test the waters and adapt before fully switching to a smart home with the full experience it entails.

Smart switches, on the other hand, are a direct replacement for your traditional home switches. They can be an economical way of making your normal lights “smart”. But it goes beyond controlling your lights and other appliances — where its function is to switch them on and off and brings this to true remote control where you can access your switches from anywhere through your dedicated phone app, so long as your home is connected to Wi-Fi. So when it comes to smart home integrations, on top of wireless connectivity, the advantage of combining your smart light and appliances by switching your usual socket switches to a smart one is that even when Wi-Fi is down and your app functions aren’t working, the switches would still be connected to your paired devices with its configurations whereas if you only relied on smart lights and smart appliances, once the internet connection is out, you won’t be able to control them together because the network that links them together is down. On top of your home voice assistants which also rely heavily on Wi-Fi connection, smart switches can also be your alternative hub to keeping all of your smart devices connected.

Smart switches are a whole world in itself where other than the usual light and dimmer switches, there is also the smart socket which you can use to control your normal appliances, the infrared controller links up to the air conditioner, tv and media box, motion and contact sensor that can be helpful to detect elderly, children, and pet’s movement and many more including smoke and gas sensors. Therefore, it is always advisable when transitioning your home to a smart one to combine a mix of smart lights and smart switches plus the smart appliances that will get the most use out of your daily routine.

Why You Should Engage with a Smart Home Specialist Rather than Buying Off Online

Buying online off platforms such as Taobao, or even Amazon, will result in very little to none in customer support, and the thing you need to know is that not all smart appliances can work with each other. You will have to coordinate and make sure each of the products you buy is compatible at least with your main source of controller such as your smart switch or your voice assistants — with the current popular ones being Google Nest and Amazon Echo. Why bother with the hassle of cherry-picking when you have experts in the field to guide and support you all the way? All of this should offset the time spent on researching the compatibility and configuration settings. Perhaps if you have a preference for any specific products, leave it to the experts to advise the rest of the configuration and setting up. For example, My Lighthouse has a diverse range of both function and designer lighting, all in which I believe will satiate most consumer needs — plus with their experience of setting up lighting with the right ambiance for different activities, that is something you will not be able to buy off online nor receive the personalized customer service that you will need.

How Can Smart Home Living Improve Efficiency and Overall Comfort in Your Lives?

Smart lights can help you hack the biological clockwork by simulating a slow sunrise to help ease you out of bed in the morning. You could set the air conditioner to switch off and for the fan — and perhaps the radio or a podcast — to turn on as a signal that it is time for you to get up and start your morning routine.

Automated vacation mode lighting can help make it look like you’re at home but you’re not. You can also have peace of mind knowing you have switched off all appliances (hello, iron) before leaving the house. This last one feels a lot like a magic trick — turning off all the lights your kids left on with a single voice command before going to bed.

Are Costs of Electricity Consumption a Concern with Smart Home Technology?

This pie chart shows you what are the appliances that consume the most energy in your electronics mix. With this, you can determine just how much smart home technology will factor into your electricity bill.

The push that made people transition from incandescent light bulbs to LED ones are for its long-lasting properties and most importantly its energy and cost-saving properties. You will find the same with smart lighting as well.

Then, there is the ZigBee hub, which works as the local network for all your smart switches, smart lights, and other smart appliances, they too generally have low power consumption as they are meant for proximity and use low data rate for wireless data transfer.

Also, another thing to note is that the energy consumption of your regular appliances, such as TV on standby mode, is minuscule compared to the energy consumption of air conditioners and refrigerators — you barely think about them and therefore you should know that smart home systems are the same.

Smart Fan, Smart TV, and Other Smart Home Appliances

Here's an infographic for just some of the things you can consider adding into your smart home integration plans and read along to find out more!

Besides the aforementioned smart lights and smart switches. What are the other appliances that can help improve efficiency and overall comfort in your lives? Well, first of all for your home entrance you can install smart locks, smart security cameras, and a smart video doorbell which you can view on apps like Google Home on your phone. You probably don’t have to bother so much about dust and hair collecting on the floor anymore with the robot vacuum cleaner. Your smart TV can double as a piece of artwork while it’s on idle. Your smart fan’s lights should also function as well as your smart lights — i.e. work in conjunction with your other lights set in a routine. You don’t have to worry about your pet starving when you’re out of home for extended periods with the smart pet feeder. Your morning routine can be automated with smart curtain rails, smart roller blinds, or even smart Venetian blinds, slowly letting the sun in to signify that it’s time to get out of bed. In the kitchen, you could command your smart oven that recognizes your food and cooks accordingly and your smart fridge can help you monitor food expiry dates and look up recipes online and read it out!

Connecting all of your appliances to your smartphone is an obvious plus – it means that you can run your laundry while you’re at work, or save money on your energy bill and know that your home is safe by making sure all appliances are switched off when you are leaving home with the leave home setting.

What Are Some of the Concerns People Have for Smart Homes?

Drawbacks of smart home appliances are mainly security concerns. To counter this, you can also install a smart security system but these have its flaws susceptible to exploitation as well. Smart home security systems are generally only as strong as your Wi-Fi password so the general security tip applies — give everything its own, unique password.

Some people are also concerned that all this automation can make a person lazy but many who have started with this smart home integration journey agree that smart home living only makes one’s daily routine more efficient and brings our lifestyle into the 21st century. As people, we often have to adapt as technology grows to improve our lives. Just like how we adapted to using smartphones when the first iPhone came out in 2007, we will adapt to having parts of our homes getting automated too.

Budget for a Smart Home Integration

KobleHome Singapore lists $1900 for the basic configuration and installation which includes lights, and AC control for a 3+1 home with $550 as an add-on for motorized curtains and track but expect to set aside $6-7k for the conversion of your home to a smart one. Special smart lights and curtains will further add on not to mention the pairing of other smart appliances functions and configuration. Outfitting an entire house will no doubt cost significantly more with compounded costs when you add on smart appliances such as toasters, coffee makers, and refrigerators. Smart TV and smart fridge range from about $2-4k. But consider this, for the full experience you get from converting your home into a smart one and having the programming enhancing your daily routine, these costs can come up to be a very acceptable one. It depends on what daily routines you would like to automate at your home. Please speak to us about this so we may advise suitability for your smart home conversion plan.

Smart home living is projected to be a billion-dollar business by 2020 and with all this accelerated by the pandemic, adopting this way of life for your home may as well come sooner rather than later. Ready for a consultation? Follow the link to complete our Interior Personality Assessment (IPA) Analysis and we will arrange for a suitable Designer to attend to you. Our current waiting time is 2 weeks but with our detailed questionnaire, we will be able to guide you through the process and help you get a clearer picture of your renovation needs in mind. Alternatively, please contact our WhatsApp if you have any further questions regarding converting your home to a smart one. For convenience, you may also quote from reading this article so that we know that you found us from here! See you on the other side — the tech integration side!