Smart homes for smart people

Everybody is talking about smart homes these days — but what exactly does that mean? If you have one or two Amazon Echo smart speakers in your apartment or a Google Nest router along with a speaker, do you have a smart home? Or is your home only smart if you’ve got a smart camera monitoring your smart doorbell, your smart lights automatically waking you while your smart blinds roll up, and your smart AC going on just in time to cool your office for the day’s work?

In our special Smart Home Week articles, we give you the down and dirty (or, if you have a robovac, the down and clean) on smart homes. We answer questions such as what exactly is a smart home, do you need one, and if so, which of the several ecosystems should you use? We also feature articles on each of those ecosystems — Amazon Alexa, Apple Home, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, and Home Assistant — written by people who actually use them and can tell you how well (or badly) each system worked for them.

We examine some of the privacy issues surrounding smart homes (and tell you which are myth and which are real). And finally, we take you to a community of ecologically smart homes, show you how these brand-new smart houses worked, and introduce you to one of the families who actually lives there.