Gone are the days (almost) when you actually have to use your fingers to turn on the lights in your home, come home to a cold and dark house or have to drive to the supermarket to restock your fridge. With the ever-listening ‘Alexa’ (amongst others) all you have to do is ask and your home will come alive…
We’re taking a look at how smart technology can make our lives easier and better connected.
Smart security cameras
Being able to keep an eye on the comings and goings in your home whilst you are away or in another part of your property can not only alert you instantly of untoward activity but it can also give you peace of mind throughout the day that all is safe and well back at home. Smart security cameras can send push notifications to your phone, keep a video record in the cloud, enable facial recognition and night vision!
How many times have you been in the shower, heard the doorbell ring, done the splodgy footstep dash downstairs only to find you have missed the caller anyway or it was only a sales person? With a smart doorbell, you can answer your door from your phone and let the visitor know you will be there shortly (remember to cover up if you are in the shower of course).
Increasingly popular around the home are smart speakers or listening devices that can control multiple connected devices around your home, answer any burning questions you have, keep you abreast of news and weather whilst you get ready for work and play a never-ending playlist of your favourite music. Voice activated listening devices come equipped with a ‘personal assistant’ who you talk to, beware, soon real friends may not be needed!
Smart keys/ locks
With crime on the increase in some areas and ever more inventive criminals, adding a smart layer of security to lockable access points around your home will provide added security and control. If you are forever losing your keys, keyless entry systems reduce the need to carry keys and the risk of someone else finding them and gaining access to your home. With remote key fobs, similar to the type used with cars, you can unlock your home from up to 10m away – handy when you have your hands full of shopping.
Connected scales not only measure your body weight but also your BMI and body fat. Used in conjunction with an app, they provide your vital stats plus personalised insights to keep you healthy and motivated even when away from the home.
Mood lighting to motion lights and lights that welcome you home from a hard day at the office. Managing your home lighting from your smartphone lets you remotely control when and where in your home the lights will come on (and in what colour in some cases), handy if you are away on holiday but want the rest of the world to think your home is occupied.
Coupled with a Wi-Fi enabled hub, smart heating has revolutionised the simple central heating and hot water schedule. With the tap of a button on your smartphone you can turn your heating on and off, give it a boost or completely customise your schedule based on your activities for the week (or turn it off remotely if someone has a habit of dialling up the heating). This means you can actively control your heating expenditure much more easily than before and stay abreast of your usage. Most suppliers also send an email once a month to let you know the average temperature of your home for that month and how your home compares to other connected homes in your street! Twin your heating hub and smart meter and you’ll soon have a really clear idea of how to save energy at home and start saving money.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you no longer had the hassle of checking what you’ve run out of in the fridge, making a shopping list and traipsing off to the supermarket three times a week to get food? Well that prospect is ever-closer with connected fridges. Cleverly monitoring stock levels and reordering depleted items for you, the smart fridge goes several steps beyond that by showing you photos on your smartphone of the inside of your fridge, displaying and linking the whole family’s calendar, notes and photos as well as playing music and videos to entertain!
Stay smart and secure when away from your home by travelling with a smart suitcase. Eliminate the panic of not remembering your padlock code or losing those fiddly little keys by locking and unlocking your suitcase from an app on your phone. As the smart suitcase is a connected device you will always know where it is so can track it via your phone, it will also charge your other devices on the go and tell you how much your luggage weighs, super-smart.
Smart smoke detector
Nothing is more important than protecting your family. The smart smoke detector enables you to do that in exactly the same way as a traditional smoke detector but with additional smarts such as sending you a push notification to your phone when the alarm is triggered, allowing you to silence the alarm from your phone, monitoring carbon monoxide as well (and the weather in some cases) and alerting you via an app when the battery is running low. Newer models also monitor air quality in and around you home too.
Whilst all of these devices may give us that Tom Cruise feeling in Minority Report, do take the time to read through any cons to implementing a fully smart home such as adequate Wi-Fi connection, battery life, unsolved software bugs etc. before selecting the right devices for you and your family.