I’VE WANTED TO MAKE TECHNOLOGY work for me since I was a young child. The advanced technology of TV shows like The Jetsons and Star Trek inspired my interest in gadgets that make home life more entertaining and fulfilling. As a child, the first home automation I ever created was programming the cable box to change the channel to ESPN at 8:00 p.m. every day so I could watch SportsCenter. Not everyone in the house was happy with that programming, but I thought it was great!
My passion for technology remained a constant force in my life. I’ve spent most of my career in technology—working as an IT help desk technician, a software developer, a business systems analyst, and eventually an IT manager. Although I love that IT management allows me to strategically direct the work of others, I really miss the hands-on technical work that I used to do.
I’ve filled that hole by taking on various technical projects around my house. I first started building my smart home around 2006. I spent a lot of time trying to stream media throughout my house. I ended up learning a lot about home networking, cybersecurity, and streaming media devices. I learned the value of automation and remote access to my home as I branched out into installing timers for my outdoor lights, a W-iFi-enabled thermostat, and an Internet-connected home security system.
My smart home projects exploded when we moved into a new home eight years ago. I imagined all sorts of smart home functionality I could add to make our lives more convenient. Ours being a new home, I wanted to do everything right. So I took the time to learn about smart home hubs, smart home protocols, and all the various smart home devices out there, and put together a plan. Piece by piece, I added smart lights, smart plugs, smart switches, smart door locks—the list goes on.
My family was a little hesitant about my projects at first. What if something goes wrong and our lights stop working? What if you hurt yourself installing a smart switch? Overtime, these fears completely disappeared, and now my family has become reliant on our smart home technology and security. They love knowing that lights around the house will come on and turn off at the right times without any intervention. They love being able to turn on lights, TVs, the fireplace, and even the robot vacuum with a simple voice command. They feel safer knowing that we have a 24/7 surveillance system, doors that lock on their own in case we forget to lock them at night, and panic buttons placed around the house that silently send distress messages to loved ones.
I’m very proud that my family can use the features of our smart home without a manual. Everything just works, and I think they take a lot of it for granted now. I’m also proud that even when the Internet connection is down many things continue to work. The worst that happens is that some things operate as they would in a normal home.
I wrote this book because I want others to share in the joy, convenience, and security of a smart home. I want to help people get off to the best start possible in achieving their smart home goals. I hope this book provides you with education and inspiration, eliminating your frustration. Technology has advanced in ease of use to the point where anyone can build a smart home. Now is the time to start building the smart home of your dreams!