What are the benefits of home automation?
A smart home lets you keep an eye on things when you’re out and about. You’ll be able to make sure your home’s warm and toasty before you get in, turn on the porch or hallway lights (if there’s someone lurking around), or simply check on your cheeky pets via your smart camera.
The better the tech gets and the more advanced home automation software becomes, the more opportunities for you to modify and control your home from afar.
Smart home speakers
The most popular home automation product is like a digital personal assistant that gets smarter the more you use it: make it play music, remind you to send birthday gifts, entertain the kids and answer niggling conundrums. And that’s just the start.
Smart home lighting
Program the lights to dim as evening approaches, change colour when the kids can get up in the morning and turn off to save vital energy when you’re not in the house. Good lighting is cool, smart lighting is better.
Home automation systems
With every smart device you add to your home comes another single app that you have to download and use. Before you know it you’ve got ten different mobile apps on your home screen and it becomes a chore to search for the one you need. That’s where home automation comes in. You can use one app to sync and control most of your devices in one place. Here are some of the best ones in the market…
The Google Nest family includes home entertainment, video entertainment and security packages – that’s something for every room in your home. Whether you buy a smart speaker, a security camera or Chromecast, you can control them and more using Google Assistant.
The virtual assistant is equipped to tell you the weather, create routines, send emails, turn off the lights and much more via the app or voice command. It works with other smart home companies too, like Hue, Honeywell and more, so you’ve got the freedom to shop around.
If you’ve got an iPhone, iPad, a HomePod or Apple TV, you’ve got Apple HomeKit. Think of the app as a nifty remote control for your home appliances and gadgets. It lets you control the thermostat, lights, smart plugs, locks and home entertainment systems in multiple rooms via the app – and the interface is pretty cool.
It’s only compatible with a number of smart devices though, so you’ll need to double check which ones before you buy them to avoid disappointment. Non-Apple users need not apply.
The SmartThings smart home app can control smart plugs, locks, video doorbells, lights and more. Once you’ve set up the app and added your devices, you’ll be able to create routines for your lights or lock and unlock the doors. SmartThings works with a number of mainstream smart devices, like Yale and Ring, but you’ll need to check the full list to see if it’s compatible with other brands you might want to buy.
One of the most popular home automation products going. With Amazon Echo, powered by virtual assistant Alexa, many things are possible. It’s compatible with a large number of devices and lets you create shopping lists, make calls, listen to music, control your TV and more.
You’ll need to download the Alexa app to set it up, which is really easy to use. When it’s all up and running you’ll be able to add your shiny new device. Simply open the app and follow the prompts. And for the truly hands-free approach, speak to your Amazon Echo and ask Alexa to complete a task for you. Whether it’s ordering something from Amazon or turning off the lights – Alexa can do it all.
Smart home ideas to make your life better
The best home automation system won’t baffle you with tech, they simplify your living spaces, save you time, energy and money, and sometimes even make you smile. With the vast array of smart devices on offer, it can be difficult knowing where to start. Let’s help you with that…
Lights are the most commonly used smart home solutions – and the perfect place for newbies to start – as they are cheap and simple to implement in your property.
- Use door sensors to turn lights on as you enter unoccupied rooms.
- Dim the lights near bedtime to subconsciously shift your brain into sleep mode or get bedroom lights to brighten slowly for a softer wake-up.
- Set the brightness so that the light doesn’t blind you if you have to get up during the night.
- Program your kids’ bedroom lights to turn green when they’re allowed to come into your room in the morning.
- Together with your smart speaker, you can get your lights to turn blue (or any colour you like) if it’s about to rain, giving you enough time to bring the washing indoors before the heavens open.
We’ve played with light, now it’s time to get smart with temperature – and if you have smart fans, humidity sensors and motion sensors, you can take it up another notch.
- Warm up your home so it’s nice and snug when you get back from a winter walk. Or cool it down after coming back from a sticky summer stroll.
- Adjust the temperature inside based on the temperature outside.
- Motion sensors can turn off your heating when windows are opened.
- Turn on your bathroom’s smart fan when there’s too much humidity in the air.
- Monitor your fuel consumption incredibly precisely to help conserve vital energy and save money on your bills.
We all want to feel as secure as possible when we’re in our homes and smart home security solutions can help us achieve that, and then some.
- You can install a keyless passcode lock on your door that you can secure from afar using your phone or program to unlock as you approach.
- You can install motion sensors on your driveway so a previously-locked garage door opens automatically as you approach.
- If you don’t want anyone to get into the room or office where you keep your valuables, install a motion sensor on the door and progam it to notify your phone if it detects anything when you’re asleep.
- You could install motion sensors and cameras around your property so you can: monitor your beloved pets from afar; let in welcome visitors; speak to unexpected guests while you’re away; and deter unwanted ones.
As you can see, having a home automation system in place can make day-to-day tasks easier to manage. Start simple with your smart devices and you never know, one day you might have the smartest home on the street.
The future of home automation systems
As technology continues to advance, the possibilities for what we’ll be able to do in smart homes are endless. Your home automation system will get even smarter and will never go unused, that’s for sure. But what else could we expect?
It’s likely that there’ll be an increase in smart spaces outside the home, such as smart parking. Some car parks already have a system in place that lets you know how many bays are available on a specific level.
Increased control and customisation
Voice control and the Internet of Things will only get better. The smart home devices we use will probably learn our seasonal routines and be more equipped to get us out of bed when it’s dark and gloomy outside. And hopefully we’ll be able to control all of the devices from one app rather than having to use a mixture of the ones available.