Over the last few years, modern technology has come on in leaps and bounds. It has revolutionised our lives and made everything more convenient – from ordering our weekly shop to paying our bills.
Perhaps one of the most impressive innovations we can now enjoy is the opportunity to have a ‘smart home’ that can be controlled using the Internet. These homes give us the opportunity to modify and control everything from lights and fans to the heating, the entertainment system, and even the fridge.
If you are considering taking the plunge and making your very own smart home, here are some top tips to help you get started.
Pick The Perfect Smart Home Assistant
The very first step you need to take when it comes to setting up a smart home is to choose your preferred assistant. There are a few options to choose from, and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s a good idea to do your homework and select the one that’s right for you. You should also take into account that the assistant you choose will have a bearing on the smart products you can buy, as you will need to purchase products that are compatible with your assistant.
Here is a quick overview of the smart home assistants you should be considering for your property.
- If you have an Amazon account, you can use your Alexa assistant to do your online shopping using your voice.
- Alexa is easy to use.
- Alexa can provide you with helpful reminders and can also be used to set timers and alarms to help you with household chores such as baking.
- With Alexa, playing your favourite music has never been so simple.
- Alexa is subject to connection outages, which have disgruntled a number of users.
- Alexa can mishear your commands.
- Alexa may sometimes have slow response times – or fail to respond at all.
- An attractive, minimalist design that comes in different colours.
- Voice recognition and hands-free calling.
- Available in several languages.
- Can link to Google Play and YouTube.
- The sound quality is not as sharp as other assistants.
- Speakers must be plugged in, in order to function.
- Google Assistant speakers have minimal controls.
- It’s a good option for families who already have iPhones and iPads, as integration is very straightforward.
- HomePod minis provide lots of cool features.
Offers helpful home security options.
- There aren’t as many compatible products as possible currently on the market.
- HomeKit can be more expensive than other options.
Choose The Right Products
Once you have selected the assistant you prefer, it’s time to shop around for products that are compatible with that assistant – from smart lights and thermostats to smart kitchen appliances, home entertainment systems, and security alarms.
Every product will have labelling that displays which smart home ecosystem it is compatible with; while some may be capable of linking to more than one assistant, most will probably be specific to one ecosystem.
As you peruse the products available, you will probably be surprised by the increasingly large selection of smart items you can buy – from TVs and baby monitors to hoovers and even coffee makers.
Setting Up Your Heating
As we face rising energy costs, it’s important to be able to monitor our heating and adjust it as needed. Smart home ecosystems allow us to control our heating systems with the press of a button. All you need to do is install a smart thermostat, and you’ll start reaping the benefits.
These thermostats can be linked to an app on your phone, which you can then use to turn the heating on or off or adjust the temperature, even when you’re not at home. Some of these apps include a handy GPS tracker, which reveals when you are leaving or coming back home, so the heating can be controlled accordingly.
Several smart thermostat models also supposedly memorise your habitual household heating patterns so they can maintain your routine and keep the home at your preferred temperatures. Meanwhile, others can monitor the cost of your heating, so you can decide whether or not to turn it on if you need to stick to a particular budget.
Controlling Your Lighting
One of the main benefits of having a smart home is that it allows you to control essential features such as lighting with ease. This means that if you want to create a particular mood or if you want to easily switch lights on or off in a particular room, all you need to do is use your voice or the dedicated app on your phone to control them.
The method you use to operate your smart lighting will depend on the type of bulbs you purchase, but whichever ones you go for, you are sure to be impressed by the ease and convenience of being able to turn lights on and off without having to move from your chair.
Keep Tabs On Your Car
Did you know that it’s not just your household appliances that can become ‘smart’ but your car as well?
For example, if you have bought or leased an electric vehicle using the help of a company such as LV ElectriX, you can use an app on your phone to monitor your car’s progress while it’s charging and even adjust its climate control so you can heat the car up or cool it down before you get in.
Some regular automatic vehicles even come with apps that allow you to turn on the car’s engine remotely, using your phone, although there are restrictions in place to make sure this is done safely.
Smart Home Security – Sorted
Our homes are our sanctuaries, where we need to feel safe and protected. That’s why so many of us are keen to invest in cutting-edge home security systems, to provide more robust levels of protection against the possibility of break-ins, theft, and damage.
Fortunately, if you are setting up a smart home, there are a number of high-tech security solutions you can choose from to put your mind at rest, even when you’re away from the house on holiday.
For instance, you may want to install a smart doorbell, which is not only useful for security purposes but also allows you to check if you have a delivery arriving while you’re not at home to receive it. Using your doorbell, you can speak to the delivery driver and arrange for them to leave your items in a safe place or with a neighbour.
For a holistic security system, you can buy a combination of a wireless security camera, motion sensors, and a burglar alarm. These home security systems make it easy to detect if anyone or anything has strayed onto your property and will send you notifications to your phone if the system finds anything suspicious.
When you receive these notifications, all you need to do is review the security camera footage on your phone, and then you can decide what to do based on what the footage reveals. In most cases, it will probably be a fox or a stray cat, or perhaps next door’s child coming onto your property to retrieve a lost football. However, the levels of security provided by these systems offer a convenient and effective way to keep your home protected. This is arguably one of the most significant advantages of a smart home and makes your investment undeniably worthwhile.