Smart Home on a Budget

Having a smart home would be neat, but most of the tech available is just too expensive. Here’s some quick low-tech tips for making your home a little bit smarter without breaking your wallet.

  1. Light sensitive sensors
    These light sockets are attached to a sensor that switches the light on only when it’s dark. Useful for porch or garden lights that will turn on by itself even if you leave the house all day. A big problem is that during sunset or sunrise, the sensor is not sure what to do and flicker the lights rapidly. Some tweaking of the sensor position and direction might help.
  2. Analog socket timers
    No wireless connection? No problem! This handy contraption can be set on a half-hour basis when to pass through electricity. Very useful for water heaters, water dispensers, and standing/table lamps.
  3. NFC stickers
    A smartphone with a proper app is required for this. The sticker itself is only a trigger where the action is customizable. Personally, I use this on my bluetooth speaker so when my phone touches it, a connection is set and a Spotify playlist plays. You can also set a few up to silence your phone and order an Uber as you head to your office.
  4. Security Cam with SD Card
    Setting up a network of security cameras is a big investment, so having one of these instead can be adequate for small homes. It only requires power to record low quality footage on an SD card, which overwrites automatically when full. If your house only has one main entrance area, putting this up might deter would be thieves if you make it visible. But make sure to put it out of reach, because smarter burglars might just yank the SD card out. Another strategy is to hide it well in dark corners, so in case of a break in, you have a video record which can help identify the criminals.
  5. TeamViewer PC remote control
    Be a hacker.. of your own computer! Using this software you can control your home PC/laptop from work or even using a smartphone. Useful to help your wife/children with technical issues, or to fire up the webcam for scouting, or grabbing those files you forgot to email.

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