Embracing new technology can be tricky at the best of times and especially during these times of abundance we are currently living through.
This is why it’s crucial to have a good understanding of the various smart home devices available. Who are the leading brands, and are there any compatibility and connectivity issues between them? This will be a helpful overview to avoid the dreaded tech-overwhelm when it comes to using them on a practical level.
Chromecasts and Amazon Firesticks can essentially turn your phone into a remote control for your TV so you can browse your favourite apps on a much larger screen.
Smart TVs usually have popular apps like iPlayer and YouTube built-in, but your standard TV remote can be quite clunky when trying to navigate them. These handy little devices can cast them straight from your phone, so you can control them from there.
You shouldn’t find any compatibility issues as the various apps are available on both android and iOS operating systems.
Smart heating and cooling
It’s incredibly convenient to have access to your home’s heating and cooling systems from your phone. There’s nothing worse than getting home and finding that your house is too cold because the heat hasn’t been switched on. Or you were looking forward to a relaxing shower or bath to find that the water is too cold. With home automation heating systems in place, you’ll never experience these issues.
Smart speakers and home assistants
Smart speakers have been around for a few years now, and there’s no doubt that voice recognition is improving all the time.
Thanks to the artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms developed by the likes of Google and Amazon, voice search is becoming more and more popular.
If voice recognition is improving all the time, what other character traits could these intuitive little devices start to pick up?
You could Preheat the oven from wherever you are, meaning you don’t have to wait as long for your food to cook. Switch the kettle on from the comfort of the sofa, or turn off the lights without needing to leave your bed.
Thanks to AI, your home devices could even start to tell you when you need more toothpaste as they become more intelligent over time.
Hive is at the forefront of taking the smart home world up another level, where you can control various devices in your house from your phone.
From special bulbs that you can buy at a reasonable price, you can add some softer lighting to any room in your house, all controlled through your mobile handset.
And if you want to give the heating a quick blast while you’re on your commute home, it’s easy enough to do through mobile apps.
Hive also has door sensors and motion sensors that can give you peace of mind with home security, and you can set up alerts to let you know who is coming and going.
Health tracking systems
Many of us know to watch how many calories we consume to maintain optimum health, but we tend to forget the other details, which have just as much importance. With smart health trackers, you can track your sleep patterns, heart rate and impulse on a daily basis, and change your routine if needed.
While the installation of a smart home system will seem initially expensive, we’ll all be saving money in the long term. Failing to remember to switch off the lights is a significant contributor to increased energy bills. With home automation devices in place, they’ll always switch off automatically.
Easier to work from home
Whether you have been to told to work from home by, or are starting your own business venture, transitioning from an office environment to working from home can be difficult. By turning your house into a smart home, however, you can make the transition much more manageable. Such as:
A smart assistant
As you begin working from home, you may have had to say goodbye to an assistant or intern that handled a lot of your day to day admin. For this reason, installing a virtual assistant or other communications device or application can help you manage everyday tasks, such as setting reminders and moving dates in your calendar with ease.
When you think about working from home, naturally you’ll consider the increase in your electricity bill, but you may not recognise how your heating bill may rise. Whilst you may be used to the warmth of your office, many people may find working from home difficult during the colder, winter months.
Using smartphone apps, such as Hive or Nest, can help you control your heating via a smart meter. This will allow you to turn your heat on or off instantly, and set specific timers, so your home is always at an optimum temperature.
One of the main things people struggle with when working from home is being distracted. From your phone ringing to friends just casually dropping by, there are a whole host of new distractions that come with working remotely.
One of the easiest ways to ensure you limit your distractions is by installing a smart doorbell, which will allow you to check who is at your door before you leave your desk. You are also able to speak through the doorbell, meaning you can give delivery drivers information about where to leave parcels without having to move.
If you are working from home, following any or all of the above tips should help improve your remote working productivity considerably.
Keeping your devices secure
There has been much hullabaloo recently about the security of smart home devices and their vulnerability to hacking. However, with just a few adjustments, there is no reason why your devices cannot be safe and secure.
Make sure your passwords are secure
Arguably the most crucial factor is to make sure you change any default passwords that have been provided by the manufacturer of your smart devices. Some people set highly secure passwords on their email or on their smartphones, but they often forget to change the password on their Wi-Fi router and any other hubs and devices.
Steer clear of low-quality devices
Although it may be tempting to purchase a low-cost Wi-Fi camera or baby monitor from the Internet, these cheaper devices will be unable to offer you the robust security measures you get with more expensive equipment. These items are less expensive for a reason, and to keep costs low, the manufacturer will often scrimp on security measures, often offering basic security options.
Update your software regularly
Just as you have kept your computer software up to date with the latest software downloads, so it is essential to do the same for your smart home devices. If you are prompted to download a software update, then do it as soon as you can.
Never use the same password for multiple accounts
As tempting as it is to use the same password for multiple accounts and devices to make it easier to remember them if that password should become compromised then the hacker will have the means to access all of your accounts with that password.
Keep your tablet and smartphone safe
Many smart home devices are controlled by a smartphone or tablet, so it is essential the security on these devices is secure. Make sure nobody else can access these devices by making use of fingerprint or facial recognition security options if they allow it.
Combining a smart home with a home automation system such as a security camera allows for optimum safety and surveillance. By getting security alerts through your phone, your response to an emergency can be immediate. If everyone in your house works during the day, meaning the house is left empty for long periods, a sound surveillance system is fundamental.