How smart is your home?
Smart home systems and devices are more impressive and all-encompassing than ever. Adopting a smart system into your home can make life just that little bit more fun and convenient. It is no longer just about asking Alexa to play your favourite song or find out the weather forecast, you can now use smart devices to turn the lights on in the living room, run you a bath at a temperature just to your liking, and even vacuum your floors whilst you try to master your newest gadget.
The latest technology can also tackle the more serious tasks, such as your home security and surveillance systems, keeping an eye on your precious pet when they have to be left home alone and there are even devices that can help you save on heating and energy costs.
You don’t need to be an expert or spend a fortune on cutting-edge gear. The market is becoming a hub of creative solutions and enhancement systems and there is a vast choice when it comes to price too – there literally is something for everyone.
Before we delve into a few of the best options on the market, let’s define what we mean by smart systems versus smart devices. A smart system is the overarching command centre that controls your individual products like Alexa or Google Assistant. Essentially, a smart system is what you speak to when you want something to happen. A device, on the other hand, is an individual product that reports back to that system such as Amazon Echo or Philips Hue lightbulbs.
Here are just a few ideas and products for you to decide for yourself which will best enhance your life.
Smart Speaker – Amazon Echo 2nd Generation
Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, answer questions, make calls, send and receive messages, provide information, news, sports scores, weather and more. All you have to do is ask.
The 2nd-generation Amazon Echo has a 2.5 down-firing woofer and 0.6 tweeter, delivering crisp vocals and dynamic bass throughout the room.
Use Amazon Echo to switch on the lamp before getting out of bed, turn up the thermostat while reading in your favourite chair or dim the lights from the sofa to watch a film, all without lifting a finger.
Smart Screen – Google Home Hub
Sometimes it’s easier to see the answer. Google Home Hub has a 7″ touch screen display so you can see everything in one view, whether it’s your appointments, shopping list or reminders, and you can easily view video content. With Ambient EQ, it dims screen brightness to match the lighting in your room – and of course, like all Google Home products, you can still use your voice to get things done too.
Smart Lighting – Philips Hue
Philips Hue transforms your every day. Imagine being able to turn off all your lights with one click. Discover the magic of transforming an entire room from study to home cinema with one tap. Or maybe use your lights to make it seem like you are home when actually you’re not. When you are home, choose the right light setting to help you concentrate better or relax after a tough day.
Smart Sensory Lighting – Nanoleaf Aurora
A brand-new lighting experience. Nanoleaf Light Panels are a smart lighting product unlike anything you’ve seen before. Wake up to the sunrise, improve your mood with stunning colours, and automate your lighting throughout the day.
It’s even music for your eyes (bear with us!) The Rhythm add-on module transforms music into light for your Light Panels. Plug it in, turn it on, and embark on a sensory adventure just for you.
Indoor Security Camera – Netatmo
The only Smart Indoor Camera that can recognise faces and gives you access to all its features without charging any subscription fees. Instead of the usual motion alerts which require you to waste time watching the footage, Netatmo Indoor Camera sends an immediate alert if an intruder has been detected in your home, complete with a picture of their face and a video recording.
Outdoor Security Camera – Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
Nest Cam IQ is a powerhouse of brains and brawn. Weatherproof, tamper resistant and seriously sharp so it can help you find out about a break-in before it happens.
Smart Thermostat – tado°
The tado° Smart Thermostat uses your phone’s location to control your heating, ensuring no energy is wasted. The smartphone app gives you full control over your heating wherever you are. Experience more comfort while saving up to 31% of your heating costs.
Robot Vacuum Cleaner – iRobot Roomba 980
The Roomba 980 robot vacuum gives you cleaner floors, throughout your entire home, all at the push of a button. Roomba 980 seamlessly navigates an entire level of your home, keeping track of its location and recharging as needed until the job is done. The AeroForce Cleaning System with Power Boost automatically increases power on carpets where it’s needed most – and with the iRobot HOME App, you can clean and schedule on the go.
Smart Plugs & Switches – Belkin WeMo
The Wi-Fi enabled Wemo Insight Switch connects your home appliances and electronic devices to your Wi-Fi network, allowing you to turn devices on or off, programme customised notifications and change device status – from anywhere. Wemo Insight Switch can monitor your electronics and will send information about the device’s energy usage directly to your smartphone or tablet. Perfect to pair with space heaters, wall A/C units, TVs, washers, dryers, fans, lights and more.
Smart coffee machine – Philips Saeco Granbaristo Avanti
Saeco presents a new world of connected coffee with GranBaristo Avanti: each drink can be tailor made to your and your guests’ taste and brewed via your tablet. And the maintenance is super easy with the “step by step” guidance via the App. Fully customise your coffee directly from your tablet.
Smart lock – Nest Yale Lock
Yale knows secure locks. Nest knows the connected home. Together, they have made a tamper‑proof, key‑free deadbolt that connects to the Nest app.1 so now you can lock and unlock your door from anywhere. Give people you trust a passcode, instead of a key. Lock and check your door status with your voice using the Google Assistant. And always know who comes and goes.
Smart Smoke detector – Nest Protect
It’s time to expect more from your smoke alarm. Nest Protect has been redesigned from the inside out. It has a Split‑Spectrum Sensor, tests itself automatically and lasts for up to a decade. It’s also the first home alarm that you can silence from your phone without any extra hardware required. And it tells you what’s wrong and can even alert your phone.
Smart Doorbell – Ring Video Doorbell Pro
Answer the Door from anywhere. Get instant alerts when visitors press your doorbell or trigger the built-in motion sensors, and see, hear and speak to anyone at your door from your smartphone, tablet or PC. Including motion-activated alerts and video on demand with live view.
Smart Fridge – Samsung Family Hub™
Take a fresh look at what a fridge can do! The Family Hub™ is a revolutionary new refrigerator with a Wifi enabled touchscreen that lets you manage your groceries, connect with your family and entertain like never before. The Family Hub’s™ 3 built-in cameras will let you see what’s inside, so you can check what you have left from your phone whenever you’re out. So even when you’re shopping, you can take a quick look.