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Smart Home Integration — From DIY to CI Guy

Tips for getting all your devices working together.

What makes a smart home smart? It’s not just the integrated connectivity between devices; a lot of the brain power comes from human planning — determining how all the components will work together, and then implementing that plan in a seamless way. Some advanced options require the services of a professional custom integrator (the “CI Guy”). But you can certainly create the foundation of a smart home experience on your own before calling in the cavalry. Here are some tips to get started.

Begin with Audio

A great way to integrate your audio system with your smart home is by using MusicCast, a wireless technology developed by Yamaha that allows you to seamlessly connect multiple devices on the same Wi-Fi network. You can link MusicCast-enabled devices in order to play different music in individual rooms (or the same music in all rooms simultaneously) and even create a wireless 5.1-channel surround setup to maximize the sonic experience of your favorite content.

To begin, download and open the MusicCast Controller app, then click on the settings button in the top right corner:

Screenshot.

Choose “New Device,” then select the device you want to add and follow the steps to completion. MusicCast Controller will do the rest!

Add Voice Control

Voice control has become an integral part of every smart home. From coffee makers to thermostats to window shades, you can control it with your voice. Your experience with audio can be the same.

To set up voice commands within MusicCast, go to Settings and scroll to the bottom. Since all Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant devices are compatible with MusicCast, you’ll see both options:

Screenshot.

Choose the one you want and follow the setup instructions. (They’re slightly different for each.) For example, here are the instructions for Google Assistant:

Screenshot.

There are two types of skills that can be downloaded for Alexa: MusicCast Smart Home skills, which include basic commands like “Alexa, turn on the Living Room” and MusicCast Skills, which are more complex and require an additional invocation of “ask MusicCast to” (i.e. “Alexa, ask MusicCast to turn on the kitchen”).

Actions on Google commands on MusicCast require a similar invocation, such as “Ok, Google, ask MusicCast to set volume to 30 in the den.”

For a complete list of voice control commands for both devices, click here.

Lights, Cameras, Action

There are plenty of ways for the DIYer to round out their smart home experience — lights, for example. Instead of having to walk up to a lamp and physically switch it on, simply connect it to a smart plug and control it with your phone or with any Google Home or Alexa device using voice commands. There are also smart bulbs you can place directly into the lamps themselves.

For home safety (and to avoid having to pull your keys out of your pocket every time you come home!), there are a number of smart lock solutions on the market, not to mention video doorbells, thermostats and wireless cameras. Some manufacturers offer multiple devices that all work with one another and are easily voice-controlled by both Alexa and Google Home devices.

Every day, more and more convenience-based products are being introduced. Bear in mind, however, that the more devices you add to your smart home, the more work you might have to do to get them all installed and set up. Sometimes less is more, especially when it comes to technology.

Helping Hands

If you’re looking for a more advanced smart home options that fall outside your DIY wheelhouse, consider consulting with professional automation companies such as Josh.ai or Control4. Learn more about custom integrators and where to find them here.

 

For more information on voice control devices and how they work with MusicCast, check out these blog articles:

How to Use Actions on Google with MusicCast

How to Use Alexa with MusicCast

Click here for more information about Yamaha home audio products.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ted is a content marketing specialist for the Yamaha Audio Visual division who has dedicated his career to learning and writing about music and sound technology. His time as senior editor of Mobile Electronics magazine resulted in his being nominated twice for the Western Publishing Association MAGGIE Awards. Ted’s work at Mobile Electronics included small business best practices and exploring the emergence of new audio technology in blogs and feature articles. His music background includes over 20 years playing, teaching, and composing music for steel drums. He is also the editor and publisher of the popular online publication, PAN Magazine. Ted loves showing people the benefits of having quality audio in their home and helping them overcome common problems they experience while exploring various setup ...

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