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Smart homes for smart people

If you haven’t started your smart home yet, here’s how to start — or if you have, here’s how to make it better.

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.


Illustration by Samar Haddad for The Verge

Inside one couple’s state-of-the-art smart starter home

What is a smart home, and do you need one?

How to pick a smart home platform

To worry or not to worry: answering questions about smart home security

From brilliant to basic, here are our smart home setups

How to start a smart home using Google Home

Megan Wollerton

How to start a smart home using Samsung SmartThings

How to start a smart home using Amazon Alexa

How to start a smart home using Apple Home

How to start a smart home using Home Assistant