Meet Bob. Bob has read a few magazine articles about wireless gadgets, and occasionally browses the Smart Home section on the MakeUseOf website. Now, he’s smitten. He loves the idea of a smart home and dreams about living in a fully automated house.
But there’s a problem: Bob isn’t technologically savvy. He’s not sure how to go about putting the theory into practice inside his own abode. He doesn’t want to waste money, and he doesn’t want to accidentally follow bad advice.
Bob needs some help. He could start by reading our A-Z of smart home jargon, but he needs more. If you’re like Bob, keep reading. We’re going to introduce you to some of the best online resources for smart home inspiration.
As podcasts become increasingly popular, it’s becoming harder to find a topic that doesn’t have a slew of shows dedicated to it.
Unsurprisingly, smart homes and the Internet of Things are well covered. Here are four of the best smart home podcasts:
The Smart Home Show is hosted by Michael Wolf. The content is focused exclusively on smart homes — you won’t find any “filler” episodes that drift off topic.
A typical show revolves around one of four key themes: interviews with smart home leaders and influencers, analysis of smart home news, Q&A sessions with Michael himself, or product reviews.
You can expect a new show every month.
2. Smart Home HQ
Like The Smart Home Show, the shows themselves generally focus on the news, certain products, or analysis of the smart home sector.
The only downside is the erratic release schedule. Sometimes you’ll be able to enjoy two or three new shows in a month, but other times you’ll encounter radio silence for a few months at a time.
3. IoT Podcast
The IoT Podcast looks at the Internet of Things and home automation. Host Stacey Higginbotham is a tech journalist and is extremely knowledgeable in the field. Her knowledge results in an enthusiastic and fast-paced show that’s enjoyable for both beginners and experts.
She delves into the IoT sector to discuss issues, ethics, devices, and services relating to smart homes. Her goal? To establish whether the IoT is moving us towards safer and healthier lives or a dystopian society.
This show also boasts the most frequent release cycle: a new episode every week.
New smart homes aren’t just about intelligent lights and remote sensors. They can also be fun. The area in which this is most evident is home theater. As televisions and speakers improve, they are increasingly starting to integrate with other smart devices in our homes.
Nobody discusses this meshing in more detail than Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, the two hosts responsible for the HDTV and Home Theater Podcast.
YouTube Channels and Playlists
Podcasts are great at helping you understand “big picture” stuff, but for more practical hands-on advice, you often need a video to help you along.
Luckily, there are also several YouTube channels and playlists dedicated to smart homes and the Internet of Things. Here are four of our favorites.
With almost 20,000 subscribers at the time of writing, Smarter Home Life has become one of the leading YouTube channels for smart home lovers. It started life as a channel solely focused on smart lighting, but it’s since rebranded and expanded its horizons.
If you subscribe, you’ll find a vast collection of videos covering a broad range of smart home topics. Videos often fall into one of four core categories (product reviews, industry news, how-to content, and audience-based Q&As), but you’ll also find plenty of footage that’s not so easily categorized.
Host Joe Dugandzic regularly adds new content. You can expect two new videos per week on average.
For those of you who don’t know, Andru Edwards is the host of Gear Live, a YouTube channel that looks at the latest happenings in consumer electronics and boasts more than 135,000 subscribers.
Andru has made a playlist dedicated to smart home automation. All the videos come from his Gear Live channel. You’ll find how-to guides, unboxing videos, product reviews, and even the occasional giveaway.
Importantly, this isn’t a set-it-and-forget-about-it list. Andru updates the playlist regularly (at least once a month). At the time of writing, it includes more than 60 videos, but the number is steadily creeping up.
Like Andru Edwards, Kevin maintains his own tech-based YouTube channel, with more than 165,000 subscribers.
And like Andru, Kevin also regularly updates a smart home-themed playlist of his own videos. It’s mostly review-based, but if you’re looking for inspiration, be sure to check out Best Smart Home Tech Vol. 1 video, as well as The Ultimate Smart home: The Best New Smart Home Tech.
Kevin updates his playlist about once per month.
As you might expect, BRUH Automation follows a largely similar pattern to the content we’ve already discussed. The videos are normally how-tos, “best ofs,” and reviews, though the videos that look at the cheapest way perform a smart task are also valuable for beginners.
The channel is worth checking out for its slick presentation and its informative yet easy-to-follow approach to narration. The hosts are well-informed and — unlike some other YouTube channels — have clearly spent time using the products they are discussing.
Lastly, let’s look at a couple of websites. If you can’t find what you need to know in MakeUseOf’s extensive smart home section, perhaps these two blogs will give you the answers you’re looking for.
9. The Spoon
The room in the house where the smart revolution has made the biggest steps forward (and can perhaps have the most significant impact on our day-to-day lives in the future) is the kitchen.
Not all smart kitchen technology is useful. For every worthwhile gadget, there’s a litany of weird devices. Thankfully, The Spoon filters out all the useless junk and only talks about the cutting-edge kitchen gadgets you’re likely to care about.
The site also publishes a regular podcast.
10. Automated Home
The Automated Home blog has been live since 1996. Its bread and butter are wiring guides, equipment reviews, news, and tutorials.
Additionally, the site has an extensive forum section. If you’re not sure where to turn for help, one of the users will almost certainly have the answers you’re looking for.
Your Favorite Resources
These 10 resources should be more than enough to get your smart home journey started. Between the four YouTube channels, four podcasts, two blogs, and our own MakeUseOf smart home section, anyone can learn about the benefits a smart home offers and receive advice about getting their own home online.
Which smart home resources do you turn to for help and inspiration? You can let us know in the comments section below. Oh, and if you see Bob anywhere, tell him to read this article!