Furniture Choice

You’ve probably heard the term ‘smart home’ floating around a lot lately. Developing quickly, it’s an area that can be pretty hard for non-tech enthusiasts to keep up with, especially with so many new apps and devices popping up left, right and centre.

But first, before we get into the exciting stuff, let’s go back to basics. You might be sitting here staring blankly, thinking what on earth is a smart home, and why should I be interested? Believe us, you’re not alone – just over half of Brits still don’t own a single smart device for their home.

Keeping things simple, a smart home is basically a home where particular features, such as lighting, heating and various electronic devices can be controlled remotely. Ever wanted to boil the kettle while you’re in bed or turn on the heating thirty minutes before you get home? Thanks to smart home technology you now can, you just need a computer or smart phone do it.


Most popular smart devices

Smart home technology is advancing quickly, but there are certain devices that are proving to be increasingly popular with homeowners. Making life just that little bit easier, it seems that controlling thermostats, lighting and improving security are on top of everybody’s lists. Ordering food shopping hands free is a perk we all seem to love too!

Hive Thermostat

Introducing Hive Active Heating, a smart thermostat that can help you take full control of your heating and hot water no matter where you are. You can use your phone to switch on the heating, ensuring it’s nice and toasty for when you come home!

Amazon Echo

A device that acts as a hub to control all your other devices, the voice-activated Amazon Echo uses a virtual assistant, Alexa, to help you with a whole range of tasks. You can sync it with other smart devices too and give the device commands. Ask Alexa to play your favourite music, create a shopping list, find out the football score or even check flight prices for your next holiday – your options are endless!

Google Home

An alternative to the Amazon Echo, Google Home is proving to be one of Britain’s most popular smart home devices. Think of it as a control centre for your home – you can turn on lights, control the thermostat and much more just by speaking to it. It’s also compatible with popular services such as Spotify and YouTube.


Clever ways to make your home even smarter

There are so many other, clever things you can do with smart home technology. Here’s some of the coolest we’ve found so far!

• Carbon monoxide detected in the home? Link up your smart smoke detector with your lights and you can set them to change colour if the dangerous gas is in the air. Alternatively, have the smoke detector call you or a neighbour!

• Almost home from a long drive? Sync your garage door with your phone and watch as it opens as soon as you reach the driveway.

• A home that’s ready when you are – link up multiple devices and have your heating turn on, lights activate, kettle boil and music start to play when you’re metres from your door!

There are so many ways to get more from your smart home. One highly popular method to bring multiple devices together involves using a free web-based service called the IFTTT (If Not This Then That). You can create ‘applets’, which are basically recipes that use many smart devices to create a desired outcome like the three above.

You can read all about the IFTTT on their website and find many more examples of applets online.


Smart brands to look out for

Want to make sure you keep up with smart home technology? There are a few brands you should definitely keep an eye on, and if you’re keen to learn more, researching the following brands is a great place to start:

Hue: Hue, created by Philips, is the brand you need to get on board with if you want to take advantage of the clever lighting features we’ve mentioned above. You can do so many things with Hue’s wireless lighting technology – if you programme it correctly you can even make the lights turn blue when it rains!

Nest: Offering a smart thermostat, smoke and carbon monoxide alarm and both indoor and outdoor cameras, Nest produce some pretty clever smart home tech. One cool and very handy feature involves the Nest smoke detector switching on all of your lights in the case of an emergency!

Wemo: Wemo develop smart plugs, switches and cameras to help you control your existing devices wirelessly. Schedule lamps to switch on automatically at a certain time, start fans whenever you please or use the Wemo plug to provide peace of mind and check whether you’ve left the iron on – if you have, it’s not a problem! You can switch it off remotely. Amazon Alexa, Nest’s thermostat, Google Home all work seamlessly with Wemo products too.

We think smart homes are really going to revolutionise the everyday household, with 2017 being the year everyone embraces the technology. It’s a digital trend many still seem cautious of, but we hope our basic introduction has helped you understand how smart devices can really make daily tasks so much easier and simpler than before!

For more ideas check out our Smart Home Pinterest board: