6 Ways To Make Your Home Smarter

A beginners guide to smart technology in the home

Smart home automation gives you the ability to control a wide range of gadgets, systems, and appliances in your home at the click of a button, offering added convenience for the whole family.

Automating your home involves connecting the tech in your household to your WI-FI network which can be controlled remotely through an application on your smartphone or tablet. If you are looking for some great tips on the best ways to connect and automate your household, check out our simple 6-step guide to a smarter home.

Smart TV

1. Smart TV's

If you find the idea of building a smart home daunting, then a great place to start is with your TV. Upgrading your TV to a smart TV will give you access to a wide range of features:

  • Stream movies and TV shows from apps like Netflix, Amazon, BBC IPlayer, and many more
  • Browse the internet
  • Most high-end TVs support voice control
  • Connect to other wireless devices around the home
  • Wide range of integrated apps
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Smart Speakers

2. Smart Speakers

Smart Speakers have become very popular and are a must when automating your home. They do much more than just play music. The voice activated speakers with integrated virtual assistant listens to a wide range of commands and can essentially serve as the command centre for your smart home. Not all speakers are built equally but many features include:

  • The ability to link your smart home devices to the speaker
  • Control smart devices in the home such as lighting, heating, and home appliances by using your voice
  • Act as a central information source and home assistant
  • Speakers with virtual assistants can answer an extensive range of questions, provide news, traffic, and weather information and also create reminders and to-do lists
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Smart Lighting

3. Smart Lighting

Smart light bulbs provide an efficient way of controlling the ambience in your home. Change the atmosphere by adjusting the colour temperature, dim or brighten the lights, and turn them on and off via your smartphone, tablet, or smart speaker. Smart lighting allows you to:

  • Use less energy than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs
  • Schedule when the lights turn on and off
  • Turn lights on and off when you are not at home
  • Change the colour and brightness of the light and set the ambience is different rooms
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Smart Plugs

4. Smart Plugs

Smart plugs allow home owners to fully automate their home and are perfect for items that aren't 'smart', such as lamps that aren't compatible with smart bulbs. It provides a cost efficient way to automate the 'dumb' appliances in your home. The smart plug connects to your WIFI and allows you to control the device from anywhere, via an app or smart speaker.

  • Power up and down numerous devices at the touch of a button or voice command (if connected with a smart speaker)
  • Many plugs offer energy usage monitoring and timers
  • Turn any appliance in your home into a 'smart' and connected appliance
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Smart Doorbells

5. Smart Doorbells

Smart doorbells enable home owners to view who is calling at the door when they're not in. The camera sends a live video to your smartphone or tablet when someone rings the doorbell and allows you to speak to them through the two-way intercom. Smart doorbells offer many benefits such as:

  • Communicating with delivery drivers when you are not home is much easier
  • Perfect for people who struggle to get to the door quickly
  • Many smart doorbells feature PIR motion sensors that will alert you when someone is at your door and allow you to replay and save the footage
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Smart Cameras

6. Smart Cameras

Smart cameras are perfect for observing your property when you are not home. Simply connect the camera to your smartphone, tablet, or computer to view the cameras live feed from anywhere in the world, via an internet connection. Smart cameras allow you to:

  • Receive alerts or notifications if the camera detects movement
  • Keep an eye on your home at all times of the day. Many cameras feature night vision which provide a clear picture in the poorest light conditions
  • Record, save, and backup the footage
  • Can be used for security purposes as some cameras feature motion sensors and sirens
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FAQ

A smart home is a home that has been fitted with a range of electronic devices, lighting, and heating that are linked together and can be controlled remotely through an app on a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Home automation provides many benefits:

  • Savings- Smart lighting and heating uses less energy and will help reduce your utility bills. Many smart appliances show how much energy is being used which can help you monitor your usage.
  • Convenience – Using your smartphone to remotely control your smart home appliances can allow you to set your lighting and heating for when you arrive home.
  • Accessibility – Smart homes are perfect for the elderly and disabled. Using voice commands, a smartphone, or a tablet to turn on appliances could greatly increase the quality of life for people who find it difficult to walk and move around their home.

The level of security will depend on the money you are willing to spend. Whilst some smart home devices come with high level encryption, cheaper models can lack the ability to change a default password. To ensure your smart home isn't at risk, research the products and purchase from manufacturers who use the latest security. In many cases, it's often the home network that is the weakest link. Ensure you use complex passwords, guest access networks, and firewalls, or even set up a dedicated network for you smart appliances and devices.

No. If you plan on retrofitting an older house to allow for smart devices, rewiring can be costly. If you decide to go down this route be sure to prioritise your upgrades. Opt for Category C (Cat C) Ethernet cables as they will be able to support all your devices. On the other hand, the wireless route will be more cost efficient. Smart plugs allow appliances that aren't 'smart' to be connected and be controlled remotely.