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6 WebsiteCompass A smart home is one in which the controls for things like lighting, air conditioning, and garage doors can be operated remotely using a mobile device or smart speaker. Rather than being a once-and-done process, building a smart home is something you can do gradually over time. QUICK TIP: If you have multiple smart speakers in your home, you can broadcast music to all of them at one time. Speakers Can Make Your Home Smart, Too Choose an Assistant The first step to building a smart home is choosing an assistant. Just as a human assistant needs to be a good personality fit, you should pick the voice assistant you’re most comfortable with. For example, if you love starting conversa- tions with your smartphone by saying, “OK Google,” you can choose a device that features Google Assistant. Select Hub Hardware The device you use as your hub will be limited by the assistant you want. If you want to use Google Assistant, for example, you’ll need to buy a device that supports it, such as Google Home, Sonos One, JBL Link Portable, or Har- man Kardon Citation 100. Buy Smart Devices Look for devices that pair with your spe- cific smart speaker. Start with something simple like a smart plug. Smart light bulbs enable you to distantly adjust the lighting in any room. A smart thermo- stat gives you remote control over the temperature in your home. Make Smart Connections Next, connect each device to your hub using instructions that come with the device. Keep in mind you may need to make some adjustments to your speaker settings before you begin. For example, with Alexa-based devices, you use the Alexa app to enable the skills you need for each device. Speak Up! Now it’s just a matter of issuing com- mands to learn just how smart your house has become. Tips for Smart Home Security Network security is always impor- tant but even more so with every connected device you add to your home. notes that the most vulnerable components of your smart home are “outdoor devices with em- bedded computers that support little or no security protocols.” In-home devices such as smart bulbs, security cameras, and baby monitors are also subject to attack because they rely on weak security features. You can counteract these vulnerabili- ties by choosing well-known device brands and making sure your Wi-Fi network is secure. Purchase a high- quality router and create a non-iden- tifying network name and a strong password. Consider creating a second network specifically for your smart home devices and a third for guest use. Also consider using a firewall in addition to your router. Finally, register each device with the manufacturer to be sure you get software updates. If all of this sounds a bit beyond your capabilities, consider hiring a profes- sional installer. Source: protect-smart-home-from-hackers/