No longer an idea of the future, home automation is well and truly part of everyday life. Whether it’s controlling a light switch, playing your favourite song, or keeping an eye on your home surveillance, smart home devices are playing an increasingly important role in our lives.
Joining the Smart Home Revolution
If you’re considering integrating some smart home devices into your home, the offering is vast and can be quite overwhelming. Where do you start?
Firstly, it’s important to consider what system you’d like to use to ensure all your devices communicate. For example, if you use an android phone, look out for android compatible smart devices.
Once you’ve established your preference, here is our pick of essential smart home devices on the market to get you get started. Prices vary across retailers, so you’d be advised to shop around.
Smart Home Hubs
Integrating a device from the Amazon Echo family allows you to control everything with your voice. One of the first to kickstart the smart home revolution, it’s widely recognised as the ultimate smart home hub available on the market. It is widely compatible, easy to set up and use, and has excellent voice recognition. Available in different sizes and fabrics to fit with your home, it’s hard to start with anything else when it comes to home automation.
Multi Room Audio
Another of the first movers in smart home tech, Sonos have built and maintained a very solid reputation in the field. With great quality and broad range options, they are a first choice when it comes to multi-room music systems. Arguably more expensive than other competitors, Sonos provide a broad range of speaker options, they are easy to set up and support many music services from iTunes to Spotify amongst others.
Smart Home Thermostat
Smart thermostat control is one of the fastest growing areas in home automation. With several options on the market, Nest Thermostat is widely considered the leader of the pack. Working cleanly with other Nest Devices (such as Nest Protect and Nest Security cameras) as well as with other non-Nest products, it’s simple to use and incredibly popular. Our favourite feature is the ‘thermostat intelligence’ feature which begins to learn your family habits and heating schedule so that it can save you money over time. Do bear in mind that you will need a professional to install your Nest system.
Perhaps not what you’d think of when you consider smart home devices but actually one of the most useful of them all. Just imagine making all of your plugged devices into connected technology? Switch your lights and appliances on and off at will? The Belkin Wemo is a great place to start. It fits with other smart systems including Amazon Alexa, reports back on the energy you’re using, and is super easy to install.
Smart Universal Remote
Perhaps you operate a triple remote system – you know the one, the TV, the cable, NOW TV, or something similar? Throw in Apple TV and whatever else you’re using and it becomes confusing and incredibly inconvenient. Enter the universal remote. This clever device handles all your infrared and bluetooth controlled TV and media systems and will also work with other Wi-Fi enabled smart home kits (Sonos, Apple TV, Xbox One, Nest etc). With a stylish design and an integrated screen, you’ll find you can create ‘scenes’ where several devices are controlled from the press of a button. Your ‘Night Scene’ for example could turn your lights off and switch on your security system at the same time. Genius.
Smart Home Devices don’t stop there, you can get carried away with Weather Sensors, Sleep Tech, Appliance control, the list is endless. We’ll just make a start with our top picks above and see how we get on.