What will it cost to make my home smart?

In truth, it can cost anywhere from $100 to many, many thousands of dollars to create your version of the Jetsons in your home.

Apologies to younger readers, but well before the iPhone (and even before man landed on the moon, which was 50 years ago this month), George Jetson, Jane his wife, and their children, Judy and Elroy, along with their cybernetic maid Rosie and talking dog Astro were the first family to introduce us to the idea of the smart home. The Jetson’s had it all, drones, smartwatches, smart shoes, and helpful robotic devices to provide the perfect life if leisure.

You’d need the wealth of Bill Gates to replicate even just some of the gadgetry used by the Jetson household created by cartoon house Hanna-Barbera back in the 1960s. But if you want to make a start on ‘smartening’ up your home you can start with as little as $150. For example, if you wish to tap an app on your smartphone to switch on some lamps, you can retrofit so-called “dumb devices” with smart switches for about $50 per switch, advises Choice. You can also add an entry-level smart speaker such as a Google Mini for about $80. A smart speaker allows you to search Google, listen to music and sport, and even talk to a property manager.

A budget of $1,000 will enable you to buy devices that can connect to your Wi-Fi. These devices allow you to do things such as dim lights, turn on speakers, or schedule a heating cycle.

For $5,000, you can use Google, Apple’s Siri, or Amazon’s Alexa to monitor devices from a smartphone or smartwatch. For example, you can see how long it will be until a cake is cooked, or you can check the washing. This strikes as kind of ironic when you consider that the astronauts who landed on the Moon on 24 July 2019 were operating from the space probe Apollo 11, which had roughly the same level of computing technology as is used in a modern-day washing machine.

 

Direct commands can become colloquial too using Siri or Alexa, recommends Choice. For example, you can say, “Alexa, it’s cold,” and she will know to set your heater to its optimum temperature, according to the consumer watchdog. Better still, you can configure entire rooms to respond to a single command. “OK Google, I’m going to bed” can turn off all the electronics in your lounge room, while activating lights in the bedroom.

To fully utilise smart devices, you’ll need a consistent Wi-Fi connection, a smartphone, tablet, a smart speaker such as a Google Mini or a smart television.