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What is a smart home and what is home automation?

What is a smart home? Smart homes are more than just fancy gadgets and a virtual assistant that can deliver a joke on command. They’ve transcended basic home features, such as locks, lights and appliances, and morphed into a virtual network you can control at the touch of a button or through voice command. Find out how you can create your smart home to make everyday life more convenient.

What is home automation?

Home automation allows you to connect  your compatible smart devices with a remotely controllable network or hub, so you can communicate with them on one common app versus individually. A home automation hub also allows you to coordinate actions, such as locking the doors and turning your security camera on as soon as you leave the house.

With home automation you can manage your smart appliances, lights, thermostats and security devices from virtually anywhere in the world as long as you have a wifi connection.


  • Monitor: Check on your devices when you’re away from home or in another room via an app. For example, you can watch a live feed from your smart security camera while on vacation.
  • Control: Turn your devices on or off remotely via your smartphone or virtual assistant. For example, if you’ve gone to bed and realize you left the lights on in the kitchen, you can use voice command or your phone to turn them off without getting up.
  • Automate: Connect your devices to “talk” to one another. For example, you can have an alert go off or the lights turn on if your smart sensors are triggered by an uninvited guest.

Automate your home with schedules and routines

Smart home routines

Imagine a home where the lights turn on whenever you enter the room, a fresh pot of coffee is brewing every morning and the doors lock safely behind you as you leave the house. That’s the beauty of programming smart routines for your devices. Setting up a smart home routine may require you to work with a virtual assistant, such as Alexa or Google Home.  Alternatively, some companies provide a voice remote with their video services which also allows you to control your smart home with voice commands like a virtual assistant. Here’s how you can begin telling your chosen company’s automation system what to do and when to do it:


  • You can create a wake-up routine by saying something like, “When I say good morning, turn the lights on and start playing music.”
  • Or, you can select a scheduled time for a specific action by saying, “At 9 a.m. lock the doors and turn on the security camera.”

A well-prepped automation system can play music, give you the latest news headlines, adjust the thermostat and turn the lights on or off as you move throughout your day. To get the most out of your automation system, set smart home rules for:


  • The morning
  • Leaving your home
  • Driving home*
  • Arriving at home* 
  • Bedtime


*Requires geo fencing.

Smart home basics

If you’re wondering how to create a smart home, the answer is it is up to you. You can go simple and just upgrade your lighting or you can install several smart devices, such as:


  • Lights
  • Speakers
  • Outlets or plugs
  • Indoor or outdoor security cameras
  • Appliances
  • Locks 
  • Home automation hub

Smart home convenience and benefits

  • Savings: Forgetting to turn the lights off when you leave for work and leaving energy vampires on can quickly lead to bigger bills. Home automation hubs offer a solution, by allowing you to control and shut connected devices down whenever you’re not using them. You can also program your connected devices to turn off when you leave the house, reducing your carbon footprint and helping to save you money on your utility bill.
  • Security: Smart devices like motion sensors, locks and security cameras can help offer peace of mind while you’re away or when you’re home alone. They’re designed to warn off intruders and notify you of any suspicious behavior in or around your property. You can also choose to have a professional security system integrated with your smart devices for around the clock monitoring.
  • Efficiency: Smart routines allow your devices to work seamlessly alongside your schedule, taking a few tedious tasks off your plate.
  • Entertainment: Use voice commands or your phone to turn on your smart TV and find the program you want to watch. You can also control your smart speakers with a virtual assistant to play your favorite song as you cook, clean or host a party.
Added security is one key benefit of smart homes

Smart homes and home automation can save you time and money while making life more convenient. Maximize efficiencies, cost savings and peace of mind by going smart.  



Learn how to make your home a smart home with devices made to work together

Get a smarter, more convenient home with Cox Homelife

Smart home technology is making it easier for you to save time and money.

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