Smart security camera

Over the past couple of years, I’ve watched the Smart Home category evolve. What started with Smart Speakers and Smart Plugs now includes just about everything in the home. I’ve had a smart home from the very beginning. Over the years, I’ve upgraded my smart home tech to keep up with the new advancements. If you have a smart home, you’re probably wondering when to upgrade as well. Let’s look at all the things you need to consider. 

Mesh Wi-Fi Deco

Upgrading your wireless networking hardware

You can’t have a smart home without Wi-Fi. If you’re looking to upgrade, start with Wi-Fi and Networking. Most people use Wireless Routers that connect to their home modem. If your home has dead spots consider upgrading to a Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi. They use satellite units placed in different parts of the home. Connected together, they blanket a home with Wi-Fi and provide the best Wi-Fi possible. 

Being a smart home reviewer, I upgraded my home with a new Wi-Fi 6 mesh system. Wi-Fi 6 is the latest wireless standard. It uses new technology to handle more devices with less congestion. Thus, I recommend it for any home with over 30 Wi-Fi devices. 

Smart security camera

Smart security camera have gotten smarter

Security Cameras are the next smart home products worth upgrading. Newer cameras offer a host of new features and integration with other smart home devices. First, they offer improved video quality. Many high end wireless cameras now offer 4K Ultra HD resolution. These images make it easier for identification of individuals, objects, or events. What I like is the ability to pinch and zoom into a 4K video. In addition, it’s amazing how clear the image is compared to older 1080p and 720p wireless cameras. 

Another benefit of smart security cameras is enhanced night vision. Getting good footage at night is critical for any security camera. Many new cameras offer LED motion lights. If the camera detects motion, the light turns on and the camera starts to record. These security cameras act as a great deterrent to thieves and animals. Nobody likes to have a bright light shine on their face.  

Adding a new smart video doorbell for online deliveries

Many people are shopping online and having parcels delivered to their door. However, we often can’t control when those packages arrive. Early smart home adopters installed Smart Doorbells when they first came out. This allowed them to talk to the delivery driver. However, there was no way to see the parcel in front of the door. 

New smart doorbells have solved this by including a wide-angle camera. This allows the viewer to see the driver and the parcel. Now, you can keep an eye on the parcel when your not home. If a porch pirate tries to steal it, you’ll catch them red handed. My tip is to prevent that all together with an easy upgrade.

Install a smart lock on the exterior door and an indoor camera facing the door from the inside. Then, we the delivery driver arrives, you’ll get a notification on your doorbell camera. Remotely let the drive know you’ll open the front door so they can put the package inside. As a result, you can watch the driver enter, place the package inside, then exit. Finally, remotely lock the door after the driver leaves. Out of sight, out of mind for would-be porch pirates. 

Smart Lights

Retrofitting your entire home with smart lights

Many people have one or two Smart Lights that they routinely use at home. Usually, this is in the bedroom or gaming room. However, the price of smart lights have significantly decreased over the past couple of years. Now is a great time to retrofit your entire home with smart lights. This provides families with several benefits that can have an profound impact on your daily life.  

First, it allows you to group lights together. This lets you turn multiple lights on or off via voice. I set up a group called “House Lights”. Before bed, I ask Alexa to turn off the “House Lights” . Second, you can set light schedules based on your families routine. It’s a great way to keep kids on a regular bedtime routine. When the light goes out in their room, it’s time to sleep. Third, many new smart lights feature a circadian feature. Basically, it mimics the light of the sun. Sunrise and sunset times are synced to the smart lights. This is another great sleeping aid for the whole family. It helps sync our bodies internal clock to the light schedule. 

Switching to smart switches

Believe it or not, I switched all the house lights to smart lights back in 2017. I quickly learned something—not everyone wants to control the lights via voice. Some people like to turn light on or off from the traditional light switch. Other lights might have unique bulbs that don’t have a smart bulb replacement. 

In both cases, consider upgrading to Smart Switches. These switches add wireless connectivity to all your lights. The benefit is having multiple options to control the lights. Use your voice or use the switch. Plus you can control the lights remotely. This is good during travel to make it appear that your home. For example, If I’m away and I get a motion detection alert from the smart security camera, I remotely turn my lights on. This makes it seem that I’m home when I’m not. It’s a great security trick that anyone can do remotely from their smartphone. 

Smart lights

Upgrading your smart home tech

Technology changes so fast. Periodically, we all need to upgrade our tech and that includes our smart home. Thankfully, many of these devices are designed to work for a long time. Still, they require regular maintenance through firmware and app updates. With the new Matter standard, all future devices are designed to work together. This makes it possible to use products from multiple brands to create the smart home that works for you. 

Check out this smart home buying guide to stay on top of all the latest smart home advancements.  

Andy Baryer
Andy Baryer aka “Handy Andy” is a technology journalist, gadget reviewer, and DIY/how-to content creator. Known as the handyman of tech, Andy enjoys fixing poor wireless networks, building smart homes, and cooking with the latest kitchen gadgets. He’s a competitive whistler, a budding woodworker, and loves gardening in his home-built smart garden.