Imagine waking up to your favourite tunes in a toasty house, turning off a switch when you’re not even home, or getting into bed at night and the lights automatically dimming. Sounds good, right? With a full range of smart tech at your fingertips, you won’t have to wake up to all of this being just a dream. Check out all the info below to find out how you can make this your reality.
The word ‘smart’ is thrown around everywhere these days, but what does it really mean? For a piece of tech to be smart it needs to be able to connect to other tech using WiFi. This usually means that you can then control it through your phone or a voice assistant speaker.
You’ll probably be surprised that you’ve already got some smart tech in the home, like your phone or TV. However, it’s when you start linking all the tech together that the magic really starts to happen.
From turning on lights when you’ve got your hands full to reminding you that the kids have non-uniform day that week, smart tech is always giving you a helping hand.
Got a child that’s famous for making the house look like Blackpool illuminations? Or maybe your partner is always cranking up the heating? Whether you’re in or out, you can always make sure your lights and thermostat are on and off when they should be, letting you save a few extra pounds on your energy bills.
Monitoring tech like doorbells, sensors and security cameras let you keep an eye on your house day and night.
Whether you’re sat at a pool bar abroad or chilling out on your sofa, connecting all the smart tech to your phone means you’ll be able to control them from anywhere. So, you can check if you’ve left your straighteners on when you’re out, or warm up the room while you’re still snuggled up in bed.
Without WiFi you’ll be pretty stuck, so make sure you’ve got a reliable internet connection at home. If your WiFi does struggle from time-to-time, you might want to pick up a WiFi extender before you start buying anything.
Once you’ve got that sorted, you’ll then have to choose which smart home eco system you’re going to go with. The 4 main players at the moment are Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings and Apple HomeKit. After you’ve made a decision, you can have fun buying compatible smart tech to make your home smarter (and life easier).
Now that smart tech is becoming popular, the bigger names are compatible with each other. However, there’s the odd awkward Annie out there that’ll only work with certain brands.
If you do buy something that doesn’t work with all the rest of your smart tech, it’s not the end of the world, but you won’t be able to sync it with everything else to get the full experience. So, before you add it to the basket, just check the specs to make sure it works with what you’ve already got.
Apart from the obvious use of playing music, smart speakers let you ask them questions like ‘What’s the weather forecast for today?’ or ‘how do I bake a Victoria sponge?’. With an answer for near enough anything, they’ll be able to give you a helping hand throughout the day.
From doorbells to security cameras, you’ll be able to see inside and outside of your home from your phone and get alerts when anyone’s walking up your garden path. This is great for answering the door when you’re out or checking in on the dogs while you’re at work.
Smart thermostats let you warm up your home from your phone or smart speaker. Some even learn your routine and will make all the adjustments for you. As well as not having to get out of the covers to crank up the heating, you’ll also save money on your energy bills with one of these in the house.
From TVs to tumble dryers, a lot of appliances are jumping on the smart bandwagon. Check out all these different products that’ll help make your everyday chores and daily life a breeze.
With the handy app, you’ll be able to pre-heat a smart oven from your phone and get alerts when your food’s cooked. So, instead of spending your evenings in the kitchen, you can enjoy time with the family and just slip back in to serve up.
Smart apps let you control the washing machine from wherever you are in the house and will send you notifications when a cycle is nearly finished. This is great if you’ve gone to a friend’s house for a catch up, as you can make sure you’re back before the clothes start to smell musty in the drum.
After everyone has loaded their plates and the washing tablet’s been added, you can start a smart dishwasher from wherever you are. This means when you’re out, you’ll be able to use your phone to start the wash and come home to sparkling pots.
Smart tumble dryers come with compatible apps that let you find special wash settings for different items. From your gym gear to a silk shirt, you won’t have to worry about any of your delicate clothing shrinking in the drum.
With Smart TVs you can jump online and access all your favourite streaming apps, letting you binge boxsets and enjoy movie marathons. Plus, with voice assistant built-in, you’ll be able to ask it to change the channel for you, meaning you won’t have to throw all the cushions off the sofa to find the remote.
From helping your health to making your life a little easier, there’s so many benefits of a smart watch. Plus, since it sits on your wrist, it can help out wherever you go, without taking up one of your hands. And Huawei, Apple and Samsung watches have stylish faces and additional straps that you can change, making them look great with any outfit.
When you’re just going about your day-to-day life, a smart watch lets you tap your wrist on a card reader to pay for your shopping. Plus, it’ll connect to wireless headphones to play music, and let you call your loved ones. So, you won’t have to get your phone out for every little thing.
If you’re into the gym or love a good hike, they count your steps and use GPS to track the distance you’ve travelled. By setting goals and checking your progress too, you’ll even be able to look back at your fitness journey as a whole. Plus, some have sensors that’ll monitor your heart health, letting you keep an eye on your wellbeing.
A smart home is a house that has different smart tech in all different rooms around the house, which all connect to the WiFi and each other. For example, a smart home may have a smart speaker, a smart light in a child’s bedroom, and a smart thermostat downstairs. So, when someone says ‘Goodnight’, the lights can slowly dim before fully turning off when your little one has fallen asleep. At the same time, the thermostat will lower the temperature for the evening, without anyone having to flick a switch.
A smart home is completely reliant on your WiFi, so it’s a good idea to have faster broadband. As long as you’ve got a decent internet connection around your house, you’ll have no trouble connecting your smart tech to it. If it does generally struggle, you might want to think about upgrading, or getting a WiFi extender.
To set up a smart home you just need a reliable WiFi connection and a few pieces of smart tech. A good place to start would be a smart speaker, as the built-in assistant will let you control all your future smart tech with your voice.
A smart home ecosystem is used to connect and control all your smart tech at the same time. The main 4 at the moment are Samsung SmartThings, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit. When they’re all linked together in an ‘ecosystem’ they can all work together to perform one task, like giving you a warm welcome when you step through your door.
The best way to decide which set up to go for is to see what smart speaker you prefer. The main brands are Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, and Apple HomeKit. You might want to check that the smart speaker you pick is going to be compatible with the tech you want to buy in the future though. The good news is most tech works with each other, so for the most part, you’re free to go with what you prefer.
Like everything that connects to the internet, a smart home isn’t 100% secure. However, there are little and simple ways to make the network safer. One idea is to swap out the original username and password for your router for stronger options. You can also create a guest account, so any visitors won’t be able to connect to your smart tech. It’s also important that you keep all your software up to date.
IoT is short for Internet of Things. This is very similar to saying ‘smart home’, as it’s just a bunch of smart tech that’s linked together via your WiFi.
Smart tech mainly saves money when it comes to your energy bills. Whether it’s you that sets the routines or the tech that learns your habits, a smart home always knows what you should be doing at different parts of the day. So, a smart light will never be left on if you’re asleep, and a smart thermostat won’t have the heating on full whack when you’re out the house. Or, if you invest in something as simple as a smart plug, you can check if you’ve turned off your curlers and lamp when you’ve gone out.
Now that smart tech is a lot more popular, most brands are compatible with each other. If you are unsure, just check the specs to see if it works with any tech you’ve currently got in the house.
A smart watch is a digital screen that sits on your wrist and does a whole lot more than just tell you the time. From tracking your fitness journey to letting you call your friends, a smart watch is handy to have for workouts and your daily life.
Once your smart watch is connected to your phone, you can easily make and answer calls from it. If you’ve got a watch that connects to your phone via Bluetooth, then your phone will always have to be in a short range (like your pocket or bag) for you to be able to do this. But, if you have a smart watch with cellular connection, you’ll be able to leave your phone at home and give your friends a ring while you’re out.
For a TV to be smart it needs to be able to connect to the internet. Different smart TVs offer different things. Most give you access to catch up TV services and YouTube, and then others offer streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and BT Sports. Some even have a whole host of social and wellbeing apps that you can turn to when you’re bored. If you’re wanting a TV that gives you access to a certain smart app, make sure to check the specs before you buy it.