Smart Home: What's the point?

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You will have seen 'smart' in front of countless products over the past couple of years - adding a few of these things into your home makes it 'smart'.  

This guide gives you information you need to decide whether it's right for you.

What’s the point?

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A ‘smart home’ has technology that controls things that you’d normally have to do yourself.

It’s about using the latest technology to make your life a little bit easier.

 
 
 
 
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Things like plugs, sensors, and appliances are all controlled by your phone or do things automatically.

You can do stuff like set your living room lights to come on when you open the door, or get a notification and video stream on your phone when movement is detected near your front door.

First step: The Hub

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Because most smart home products work together, they need to be compatible with each other.

This happens through the hub - a small box that all of your smart things connect to.

There a few different options, just make sure the products you’re looking at are compatible. Currys PC World always show what smart tech products work with. You can also shop by hubs by clicking the links below:

Amazon’s wireless speaker can be used to control all your devices.

It’s compatible with most types of smart home products and connects to Fire TV, so it’s the best choice if you use Amazon Prime.

Home has the benefit of Google search, so if you expect to ask a lot of questions or want full integration with an Android phone, it’s a good place to start.

You can control Chromecast with it, so it’s a great choice if you use it to stream TV.

If you’re going to use home security or heating devices, you’ll need a SmartThings Hub. SmartThings works with both speaker hubs above, so bear in mind you might need a hub when your smart home expands.

The Smart Things hub works with Alexa and Google Home too, so you can add one on if and when you need to.

Second step: Smart home gadgets

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Once you’ve got your hub, there are loads of different types of smart home devices you can connect up to them.

To make it easier to find what you’re looking for, we split smart home products up into a few different categories.

You can control your lights from your phone, or link them to sensors to come on automatically when you get home.

Some smart bulbs let you change the colour and brightness using your phone to set the right mood in seconds.

Replacing your old thermostat with a smart one gives you much more control over your home’s heating.

You can adjust the temperature from anywhere using your phone, or set it to turn off when you leave and come back on when you’re nearly home.

Along with convenience, smart heating can save you money each month as your heating becomes more efficient.

Check up on your home from anywhere in the world with a smart camera.

You can receive a notification and live stream whenever a camera picks up movement, or link it to sensors and alarms around your home for complete security.

See who’s calling without getting up with a smart doorbell. Along with ringing, you get a notification on your phone and can speak to your visitor from wherever you are.

If you have a smart door lock, you can even check who’s calling and let them in without getting up.

Home monitoring includes all sorts of sensors and alarms.

Link them to a smart alarm for comprehensive home security, or receive a phone notification if you go to leave your home with a window still open.

Turn plugs on and off from your phone or smart speaker.

Great for switching lamps on/off when you’re out for security, or for turning appliances on when you want to use them.

Keep an eye on your children from your phone or tablet.

You can receive notifications when the room gets too cold, or when they’re stirring more than usual.

Smart speakers connect to your hub or phone to play music throughout your home.

Put one in each room and play the same song throughout, or give everyone control to a specific room to avoid family arguments.

Hopefully we’ve covered the basics of a smart home. If you have any questions, feel free to ask us on Twitter or Facebook.

If you want to speak to us about anything pressing, you can get hold of us here.  

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