Top 5 smart home systems to improve your home office

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Smart home systems don’t just adjust the lights and temperature in your home. When set up correctly, a smart home system can boost productivity and be an essential upgrade for many creative businesses. In this article, we’ll share five ways that you can improve your home office using smart home systems.

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  1. Get up to speed with an enterprise-grade WiFi connection throughout the house

“I’m sorry, the call seems to be dropping. I didn’t quite catch that…” These words are not ones you’d associate with a professional and high-quality business. If you work from home, and especially if you pitch or make sales calls via Skype or Zoom, then you know how important it is to have a super-fast connection throughout your home.

There are a couple of ways to increase the speed of the internet in your home office. Begin by choosing the best possible internet provider for your area. These days, there are plenty of third-party websites that can tell you exactly which internet service provider gives you the best speed for your postcode. You can also check the number of complaints that the fastest providers get per month, which should give you an idea of how well they deal with outages.

When you’ve chosen your internet service provider, it’s almost never a good idea to use the standard router it provides. Again, do your research and pick up one of the latest models.

It’s also important to think about where your router is positioned. In most cases, you’ll want your router in an elevated, central position that’s free from any obstructions. This will allow you to get good connectivity in all the rooms in your house. Of course, you might decide that having a super fast connection in your home office is the priority and put your router there. It’s not a bad idea to mount your router on a wall, with the antennae perpendicular to the base.

If you’re living in a large home, you’ll want to use a WiFi extender (or several) to make sure that the WiFi reaches every room in your house. If you have teenagers in your house that are into online gaming (or even adults…), then a WiFi extender will ensure their connection never drops. Lastly, if you’re doing something that requires a lot of bandwidth, you can’t beat a wired ethernet connection to your main workstation.

  1. Don’t allow knocks at the door to interrupt your workflow

Your concentration is a valuable asset, especially if you work in a creative field. Losing ten minutes to get up and answer the door can be a nuisance for people who work at home — especially if you’re the kind of person that takes a while to get into the swing of things.

The smart home solution is a next-generation, two-way video intercom system, paired with smart locks on the front door. It allows you to see who’s at the door, talk to them and let them in — or send them away — without ever having to get up from your workstation. Another advantage of smart locks is that you can grant someone a virtual “key” on their phone, so that your front door will unlock automatically when they approach. This might be useful if you have guests or are expecting a delivery when you’re supposed to be working. Once you no longer need your guest to have access to your home, you can easily revoke your “key”.  

  1. Replace your personal assistant with a virtual assistant

Virtual assistants, paired with improved voice recognition technology, are a game changer for your administrative and organisational needs. For starters, you can manage your work schedule by setting reminders, timers and alarms. A simple voice command, such as “remind me to call my client at 12:00” can make the difference between keeping and losing business. Your virtual assistant can also be synced with your online calendars, making sure that you never miss an important call or meeting.

Another feature of smart home systems that home workers will want to take advantage of is routines. A routine can be activated by a single prompt, such as “good morning sunshine”. Once the routine is triggered, you can relax as your house automatically gets everything you need ready for the workday, such as your lights, heating and music — even your coffee can be ready and waiting for you when you step out of the shower. Having complete control over your morning can put you in the right frame of mind for a productive workday.

  1. Keep your home and work telephone lines separate for easy billing

It’s technically possible to work without a telephone these days — everything you could want from a telephone can be covered by your smartphone and desktop. However, old habits die hard and some of us still do our best work with a telephone in hand.

If you use a telephone for work, one simple way to upgrade your home office is to have separate work and home lines installed. Not only does this help home workers keep their personal and professional lives neatly divided, but it also lets you easily calculate your business expenses when it comes to your phone bill.

  1. Protect your home office, and your business, against intruders

These days, we have two kinds of intruders to worry about: the old-fashioned burglar and the cybercriminal who operates online.

The greater threat might actually be the cybercriminals. It’s never been more essential to protect your business, especially if you store sensitive client information on your computer.

Protect all of your accounts with secure passwords that are unique and use a combination of numbers, letters and symbols. It’s no longer safe or sensible to use the same password on multiple accounts. Use a password manager such as LastPass if you struggle to organise and remember your various passwords. To ensure security and vigilance doesn’t fall by the wayside, you can ask your virtual assistant to remind you to update your passwords every three months. Consider two-factor authentication for the most sensitive accounts and ensure your data is regularly backed up to a secure location.

For your online activities, practice safe browsing by using reputable websites and be wary of emails, especially ones you weren’t expecting or from people you don’t know. Teach everyone you work and live with how to recognise phishing attacks — these are emails that pretend to be from someone you know, such as your bank or a friend. It’s also well worth talking to an expert in home automation if you want to know about the potential vulnerabilities of smart home technologies. If you’re at all unsure how to use smart home technology, it’s worth checking with an expert to make sure you’re not unknowingly giving cybercriminals access to your home!

Finally, don’t forget about your physical security. If you have lots of expensive equipment or sensitive documents, or you simply value your peace of mind, this is doubly important. To deter burglars, equip your perimeter with detectors that activate lights when they detect movement. Smart security cameras can also be installed and set to record as soon as the motion detectors are triggered. For weak points, such as doorways and windows, you’ll want vibration detectors that trigger sirens. These precautions will be more than enough to see off most intruders and keep both your professional and personal life safe from harm.

Author: Marvin Dudziec

Marvin Dudziec helps run MDfx, a leading smart home company that designs and builds interesting smart homes. Check out their case studies to see some of the incredibly cool smart homes they’ve worked on in London.