More and more people are consciously or unconsciously starting to build a smart home. Read in this article what exactly it is, what you can do with it, what you should pay attention to and a number of tips.

Maikel Dijkhuizen

Not so long ago, only the computer was connected to the home network. Later the smartphone, tablet, game console and television were added. Nowadays all kinds of devices have a network connection. This includes robot vacuum cleaners, e-readers, security cameras, plugs, lamps, smoke detectors, doorbells, thermostats and speakers. Even contemporary white goods from the higher price segment often support WiFi, such as washing machines, refrigerators, dishwashers and heat pump dryers. We call devices with a wired and/or wireless network connection smart. They are connected to your home network. This brings with it a lot of useful possibilities.

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Residents can control all Philips Hue lighting in this living room from an app

Central remote control

Smart devices can be controlled centrally. This works via an app on a smartphone or tablet. Are you buying an E27 lamp with WiFi support? Then you can control it remotely. Once you have screwed the bulb into an existing fixture, connect it to your wireless network. Then turn the lamp on or off from the app. You can also change all kinds of things, such as the color (temperature) and the dimming level.

In addition to a smart lamp, all kinds of other devices with central app control are available. For example, request (live) video images from a surveillance camera on your smartphone and instruct a vacuum cleaner to start a cleaning round. You can also see which visitor is at the door, how warm it is in the house and to what extent the washed clothes are already dry. In short, smart devices offer numerous advantages.

Automate tasks

With an app you can manually control any smart device. In addition, there are often all kinds of automation functions available. Useful, because you no longer have to worry about it. Do you go to sleep at the same time every night? Then set a time schedule for your smart lights in the app. You choose the desired times each day, after which the lighting switches itself on and off. It is nice if the app takes the sunrise and sunset into account. For example, as soon as it gets dark in the evening, all light sources in the living room turn on automatically and the curtains are closed.

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When you return home, this Philips Hue outdoor lamp turns on automatically

There are even more ways to automate a smart home, such as smart home products with geofencing. These items take your current location into account. Do you leave for work in the morning? Then arrange for the alarm system to activate itself and for the thermostat to be lowered a few degrees. The opposite happens when you return home. When you park in front of the house, the outside lighting immediately switches on and the smart lock opens your front door. Geofencing makes everyday life easier!

When using the right equipment and a suitable smart platform (more about this later), devices can also work together. Numerous combinations are possible in this area. For example, does a security camera or motion sensor detect an uninvited guest in the garden? In that case, let a loud siren go off and the lights turn on brightly. Or perhaps the outdoor camera recognizes your face, after which the door lock opens. Particularly in the home security industry, many manufacturers bundle multiple devices into one package. A plus, because you can be sure that all items can work together optimally.


In addition to smart home platforms, there are also smart home standards. That is the underlying technology of how smart devices communicate with each other. The use of Bluetooth and/or WiFi is of course obvious, because most people already use them. Z-Wave and Zigbee are two other commonly used smart home standards. For example, many products from Philips Hue, KlikAanKlikUit, IKEA and Innr use the latter standard. Z-Wave and Zigbee require the use of a so-called bridge or connection hub. It creates its own wireless network that connects all devices.

Finally, the promising smart home standard Matter is knocking on the door. The advantage of this is that it allows different smart home protocols to work together. Knowing more? Then read the article ‘Standard smart home’ on page 70 of this issue.

Good network coverage

Does a smart house sound like something to you? Then first start by installing a comprehensive home network. You can easily check this by walking through the house with your smartphone. Do you have enough WiFi bars in every corner of every floor? Don’t forget the garden. You also need good coverage around the front door. After all, a video doorbell requires a considerable bandwidth to transmit the images in good resolution to your smartphone, tablet, computer and/or NAS.

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This mesh system from Linksys creates a comprehensive network throughout the home using multiple satellites.

Internet providers usually provide a modem-router combination with WiFi support to their subscribers. Unfortunately, the range of this device often proves insufficient in practice. For proper operation, you need a fast wireless connection in and around the home. You can order WiFi boosters from well-known internet providers such as KPN and Ziggo. Furthermore, it is worthwhile to set up a mesh network. A base station and multiple (wireless) satellites work together seamlessly. Together they ensure full wireless network coverage in the home. Manufacturers of affordable mesh systems include TP-Link, Netgear and Linksys.

There are also smart home systems that use a separate wireless network (partly) on a different radio frequency for communication, such as Zigbee and Z-Wave devices. Do you have no other WiFi equipment for your smart home? In that case, you don’t have to pay as much attention to WiFi coverage. For more information, read the ‘Smart home standards’ box.

Easy configuration via app

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With the affordable Woox R6118 Smart Plug
make a regular lamp (or other device) smart

Setting up a smart home sounds complicated, but it’s actually not that bad. Smart devices for the consumer market are very user-friendly these days. We illustrate the configuration using the Woox R6118 Smart Plug. This is a smart plug that allows you to switch a ‘dumb’ device on and off with an app, such as a traditional lamp or fan. A nice option is that you can also monitor energy consumption.
With a smart plug, pay attention to the maximum supported output power. In this case, that amounts to a maximum of 3680 watts. Installation is a piece of cake, because the R6118 Smart Plug looks like a normal power strip. So it fits into a free socket. For configuration, users download Woox Home from the App or Play Store. After creating an account, the app searches for nearby smart devices in your home. This usually works via Bluetooth or WiFi. Alternatively, devices sometimes have a QR code. In that case you can ‘scan’ it with the smartphone camera. Once the smart plug is connected to WiFi, the product will appear in the Woox Home app.

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The operation is very simple. Tap the virtual plug to turn the R6118 Smart Plug on or off. There are also additional options, such as setting a schedule via self-selected or astronomical times. Finally, the app shows power consumption statistics.

Choose one smart home platform

Planning to centrally control multiple devices? A pitfall is when you need multiple apps for operation. For a clear overview, it is of course more convenient to operate everything from one user environment. The easiest option is to buy all products from one specific brand. You can then be almost certain that the items work together flawlessly. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. Nowadays there are so many different types of smart devices that in practice you cannot collect all products from one manufacturer. For example, the well-known camera manufacturer Ring does not produce televisions, while Samsung does not manufacture video doorbells. However, you can limit the number of brands as much as possible. That already saves a lot of hassle.

For smooth cooperation between all devices, look at the smart home platform used. This is in fact a digital umbrella where underlying devices can communicate with each other. The advantage of this is that you control everything from one app. The better products often support multiple smart home platforms. In the coming paragraphs, get to know Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and Tuya.

Google home

According to Google, about fifty thousand devices are compatible with Google Home. The billion-dollar company also develops all kinds of smart home equipment, such as surveillance cameras, video doorbells, smart speakers, smoke detectors and thermostats. You can also often find this smart home platform on smart TVs, WiFi speakers, lamps, plugs, sensors and household appliances. A major advantage is that you can combine both entertainment and security products. Operation via the Google Home app is very clear, because all devices are neatly lined up in the home screen.

Google Home devices with a microphone often support Google Assistant, such as a suitable television or WiFi speaker. Handy, because in that case you can control all kinds of smart home devices with your voice. For example, say out loud that you want to dim the lighting or that the thermostat could be a few degrees higher.

Apple home kit

Those who like to use Apple devices may be able to set up a smart home around Apple HomeKit. Compared to Google Home, there are fewer smart devices available for this platform. These generally concern more luxurious (and more expensive) products from, among others, Philips, Netatmo, Nuki, Tado, Somfy and Nanoleaf. Use the Home app on an iPhone, iPad or Mac to operate. You control devices from one clear user environment and easily set up automation tasks. Thanks to the voice assistant Siri, you can also use voice commands.


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This smart Tuya lamp from LSC Smart Connect
costs a few euros at the local discounter

Besides Google Home and Apple HomeKit, there are many more smart home platforms. An important player is Tuya. This is in fact a universal budget smart home platform from which many manufacturers of cheap products license. This way, these brands do not have to develop the underlying technology themselves, such as the app and cloud environment. Tuya products, for example, are on the shelves of the well-known retail chain Action. Furthermore, the Samsung SmartThings, Ikea Home Smart, Amazon Alexa and Homey platforms are well-known smart home platforms.


Due to the proliferation of smart home platforms and standards, it is quite a challenge to ‘connect’ all smart devices together. Therefore, first determine what you want to achieve with a smart home. For example, do you want to increase the security of your home at a low cost? Or do you want more ease of use at home? In the first case, products with support for the Tuya platform are obvious, while in the second case you can consider Google Home or Ikea HomeKit. In the better online stores you can sort the range by smart home platform, so that you can make an informed choice.

Framework Nest Hub 2Nest Hub

Instead of an app on your smartphone, you can also control Google Home devices from a central screen in your home. Google is developing its Nest Hub (second generation) for this purpose. For example, if someone rings the doorbell, you can see who is at the door on the large touchscreen. You can also control other smart home devices via voice commands. The Nest Hub supports Google Assistant.