Building a complete smart home system in Singapore might sound expensive. In reality, it is possible to build an entire smart home in Singapore for cheap! Depending on the size of your house, it might be as cheap as under $1,000 using the Aqara Ecosystem!
To a certain extent, most of us are already using some form of Smart Home technology. Have you ever used a mobile app to view your baby monitor? Or use an app to control any appliance in your house? Some people might even have used more advanced technology, such as Google Chromecast or Apple TV to stream stuff from your phone to your TV.
These are all examples of us using Smart Home technology in our everyday lives. The TV originally comes in a “dumb” form, since it does not communicate with other devices, with the exception of the TV remote that comes with the TV.
By adding a Chromecast or Apple TV, the Chromecast/Apple TV acts as an adapter, transmitting information from our smartphone to our TV. Then it translates the information to something the TV understands, and is able to execute. Think of the adapter like a translator, or communication device, that lets different electronics talk to each other.
This is how a smart home works, by allowing multiple devices to talk to each other, making your life that much easier and cooler!
With the correct devices, the possibilities are endless and it all depends on how you set up your devices and automations.
Imagine being able to control everything in your house, even when you are away from home. Turning on the air conditioning when you are coming home from work, to be greeted by the breeze of cool air when you step into your house. Sensing your motion as you walk through the door, your lights automatically turn on and you can finally unwind after a tiring day.
After dinner, you decide to play your favourite drama series. With a simple voice command, your 55” television turns on and starts streaming your Netflix queue, while the lights dim themselves automatically.
When it is time to sleep, your curtain automatically draws itself, the air-con switches on to your preferred temperature, the lights turn off, all with a simple command.
Does this sound super futuristic? Well, the future is here.
Current smart home ecosystems are somewhat using a messy mix of different protocols, some unique to their own brand, while others are using universal protocols. This means that not every smart home device is able to work seamlessly together.
As there are different protocols being used, there’s a chance you may encounter some smart home devices that cannot be controlled via your current setup, forcing you to add its own hub, or even a separate network altogether to operate the errant devices.
For this reason, it is important to choose smart devices that offer a wide range of compatibility (able to work with as many platforms as possible) to maintain a seamless and painless smart home experience.
With the rise in demand of smart home setups, this has driven the prices of smart home products down, as more players enter the market to produce smart home accessories. You’re probably already aware that big guns such as Amazon, Google, Samsung, Apple, and Xiaomi already have their own smart devices. Most of these companies are using different protocols to communicate with their devices, making it difficult for a seamless connection.
That is why we recommend the Aqara range of products, which is able to link to Google Home, Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa and even the Mijia app (for supported devices only).
Now, time for the part everyone is here for. Exactly how do I build my dream smart home for less than a $1,000? Is it really possible? Let us break down the cost for you:
|Aqara||Aqara M2 Hub||94.4|
|Aqara||Aqara G2H Camera Hub||88|
|Aqara||2x Aqara D1 Wall Switch (Single Rocker, No Neutral)||92.8|
|Aqara||7x Aqara D1 Wall Switch (Double Rocker, No Neutral)||347.2|
|Aqara||2x Aqara D1 Wall Switch (Triple Rocker, No Neutral)||108.8|
|Aqara||5x Aqara Motion Sensor||128|
|Aqara||3x Aqara Window and Door Sensor||83.2|
|Aqara||1x Wireless Switch Mini||22.4|
|Aqara||1x Aqara Temperature & Humidity & Pressure Sensor||22.4|
(Please note that we are calculating based on a typical 5 Room HDB flat, prices may differ based on your needs and house size)
Aqara is a brand of smart home solution, that is affordable, yet packed with functionality. As you can see, with Aqara, upgrading your current home, or installing the Aqara ecosystem into your new house can be very affordable, and very easy to install. Aqara is able to connect to Apple Homekit, Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Mijia(certain products).
With its low price and seamless connection to many of the well known apps, the Aqara line of products have slowly been picking up in popularity, not only in Singapore, but worldwide as well. Let’s take a closer look into some of the Aqara products selected to build our smart home.
The Aqara M2 Hub is the brain of the entire Aqara smart home system, just like how we are not able to function without our brain, the Aqara child devices are not able to function without a hub.
The M2 Hub is Aqara’s most advanced and future-proof smart home hub so far, and it serves as a smart home control center for a wide range of Aqara sensors, controllers and other child devices. The M2 hub uses the upgraded Zigbee 3.0 technology, the newest Zigbee protocol out there, which is the faster, more stable and energy-efficient. It also features an Ethernet RJ45 port for wired internet connection, providing extra stability and lower response time for better user experiences.
Moreover, the M2 Hub has a 360 degree IR transmitter built in, allowing users to control existing IR home appliances, such as turning on TVs, fans and even air-conditioners, from any part of the room, or even when you are out of the house, by voice commands and via local automations.
Furthermore, the M2 Hub also has a built in speaker, which can be used in various ways with configurable ringtones, such as security alerts, doorbell, and even act as an alarm clock.
Aqara’s G2H combines a solid HomeKit Secure Video camera experience with Zigbee 3.0 functionality that makes it so much more than its playful appearance and price suggest. Simply speaking, it acts as a basic security camera as well as a hub to control other Aqara devices.
The G2H is powered by a Micro-USB cable and is able to produce detailed images with accurate colors in both well-lit areas and through IR night vision. With the increasing popularity of installing cameras at home for security reasons, even for those residing in HDB flats, this is certainly one of our top recommended products.
Aqara doesn’t offer cloud storage, instead you can store footage locally by adding an SD card (up to 32GB), use HomeKit (if you have an iPhone), or view 15 second clips in the Aqara app thanks to a 256MB onboard video cache.
In the camera settings you can even set motion detection squares and adjust motion and sound detection. Adjust the sensitivity to low, medium, and high, plus you can program a “detection period” so only have your camera monitoring at night time or during certain hours.
At its extremely low price of $88, we highly recommend the Aqara G2H Camera Hub, not only to step up security in your home, but to also use it as a hub to control motion sensors, temperature sensors, light switches, buttons, and more.
The Aqara D1 Smart Wall Switch comes in 1, 2 and even 3 gang models that can be controlled by either manually pressing the buttons on the switch plate, or remotely via the Aqara Hub. The D1 Wall Switch is also able to be connected to Apple Homekit and Google Home, but still require a main Aqara M2 Hub/ G2H Camera Hub.
As with other smart switches, these are intended to provide smart control for “dumb” lights. These essentially work the same way as a normal switch, except that it can be controlled remotely, or be set up with automations, eg. turning on when there is motion detected (motion sensor has to be paired).
What we love about the D1 wall switch is that it can be easily installed, just like a normal switch. In fact, it is so easy to install, you can even do it yourself! But if you do not feel comfortable with this, you can always consult the help of an electrician. This opens up for easy upgrading options for your house, implementing a modern twist to your house. Installing a smart switch will also not require a smart light bulb, essentially saving you more money in the long run.
The D1 wall switches come in both Neutral and No-Neutral versions, if you are unsure which circuit your house is on, you can always ask your electrician!
The Aqara Motion Sensor is a low cost, reliable motion sensor that is able to connect to Apple Homekit. It has a small form factor, smaller than most of the other motion sensors on the market.
As mentioned above,the device is able to be seen in the HomeKit dashboard and this is thanks to the Aqara HomeKit certification. Other than alerting you that it has sensed motion, the motion sensor is unless you setup some automation. To set up the automations you can either use the Aqara app or use the HomeKit app.
The automations could range from being as simple as turning on the light when it senses motion, to being as complicated as to programming it to switch on all the lights and air conditioning, when it senses motion from the front door after 7pm (when you return home from work).
The Aqara Window And Door Sensor is a small, portable and discreet sensor that sticks to the surface of your door or window. It helps to detect when your door or window is open in real-time, and send a notification to your phone if you have it enabled.
With the Aqara Door And Window Sensor, you can also monitor the status of the door or window. Is it about to rain and you forgot if you have closed the windows? No fear! Go to your Aqara app and you will be able to see if the window is open or closed.
We also recommend the Aqara Door And Window Sensor to beef up your home security, since you receive a notification straight to your phone when the door opens.
The Aqara Wireless Switch (Mini) is able to act like a remote control switch with compact design and low energy consumption. You can place or stick it almost anywhere. Single press, double press or long press to control Aqara accessories!
The Temperature & Humidity & Pressure Sensor itself is pretty basic, offering the functions of being able to monitor the temperature, humidity and even pressure around the surroundings. But, when it is set up with automations, it becomes a totally different beast altogether.
For example, you could set the air-conditioner to be turned on when the temperature reaches 30 degrees, then shut down the air-conditioner when temperature reaches 23 degrees, and switch on the fan. These can all be done in conjunction with the Aqara M2 Hub, which has an inbuilt IR blaster.
As you might have noticed, building a smart home might be more intimidating than it actually is! With the new advancements in technology, it is simple, and very cheap to build your dream smart home in Singapore! All these automations can be set in the Aqara app or the Apple Homekit app. With a user-friendly interface, you are able to customize it to suit your very needs, without it being too complicated. With Aqara, the only limitation is your imagination!
To find our full list of Aqara products, you can click here.
Rack85 is the official authorized reseller of Aqara products.