For many of us, moving is a way of life. Whether your job has you relocating regularly, or your wanderlust brings you to a new destination every year, you want to keep your home simple to manage and easy to uproot. Today’s smart home technology makes it easy to have the benefits of a high-tech home with the portability you need. Frequent movers no longer have to stay away from smart tech solutions, and I should know—I am one.
Start with security.
When you move around a lot, you learn pretty quickly that it’s best to keep only what means the most to you. And you want to keep those items protected. In the past, protecting valuables meant a hardwired home security system—an investment that doesn’t make sense for frequent movers (and may not be an option for renters).
Thankfully, today’s wireless security cameras require no hardwiring and can be packed up and carried with you to your new home. With the simple installation of Wi-Fi cameras inside and outside your home, you can get livestream video right to your smartphone and receive alerts of unusual activity. Certain systems also provide professional monitoring, offered by the local cable or internet service provider, so even if you miss a notification about movement, a third party can contact the authorities for you. When you set up your utilities and internet ask your local provider if they offer home security system so you can get everything professionally installed all at once.
Go smart with lighting.
One of the easiest smart home upgrades is smart LED lighting. Many smart lighting companies make easy plug-and-play technology that you can have up and running in minutes. All smart lighting brands require Wi-Fi, but some bulbs have built-in Wi-Fi chips and others require a bridge that connects all of the lights. The main difference is that one requires an Ethernet port connected directly into the router, and in a shared living situation, there may not be any to spare.
The lights work regardless of where you are. The only change you need to make when you move is changing the room assignations in the smartphone app. After that, you can just activate the lights from your smartphone.
3. Set up a smart speaker.
Smart speakers can be a big help to the frequent mover (ask it for addresses to local restaurants, a list of doctors in the area or the local weather patterns). Like smart lights, they require little in the way of setup. Just plug them in, use the phone app to connect to your Wi-Fi network, and you’re good to go. The only modifications you might have to make is the room you’re in and your address.
4. Opt for a smart TV.
You wouldn’t want to move without your TV, right? So, consider one that can do the most for you. Affordable, high-quality smart televisions are more readily available than ever, and give you access to many popular apps. (If you are happy with the television you have but would like smarter capabilities, consider a streaming stick.)
Even if you don’t have the latest TV, you may be able to get a set top box from your local cable provider that incorporates a home security system. It can enable you to use a voice-operated remote to control your entertainment options, as well as to display footage from your security system on the TV screen.
Use a smart outlet plug to crank up the intelligence of everyday devices.
When you have gotten your smart apartment or house set up the way you like, there is a final step you can take to customize it a bit more: smart plugs. When you plug electronics into smart outlet plug it becomes easy for you to manage and control these devices remotely—usually from an app on your smartphone. This is a great way to not only reduce power consumption by eliminating phantom drain, but also to control appliances that otherwise have no remote capabilities.
A smart plug simply enables power flow to and from a device. This means you can turn your coffee pot on in the morning from your phone before you even get out of bed. It also means you never have to ask if you remembered to turn off an appliance; you can just check from your phone. If you need more utility than a single plug, you can invest in smart power strips.
Moving around a lot and trying to keep things simple doesn’t mean you have to forfeit all the conveniences of the modern world. Simply reserve one of your moving boxes for wireless security cameras, lights and smart plugs and bring them wherever your adventures take you.
Patrick Hearn is an Atlanta-based writer for XFINITY Home. He lives in a one-bedroom high-rise apartment with smart home tech devices that he takes with him when he moves from place to place.