A smart home might sound like a daunting prospect, but security features aren’t the only way you can improve your home with the latest smart technology. If you want to use modern tech to save both time and money, that’s essentially what smart home features are. If the technology is integrated to another system in your house, it’s ‘smart’.
Smart home features have become more popular over the last decade thanks to both an increase in adults using the internet and the relatively cheap cost of entry-level items you can use.
It’s always harder when you’re working under a tight budget, but there’s ample opportunity to make improvements and they don’t always have to break the bank. Depending on what you need your first stop should be to check what’s on offer at the lower end of the price scale, which can still offer numerous benefits. And that’s exactly what we’re going to look at here.
Not only is smart home hardware more affordable it’s also easier to use than ever. If you can download an app on your phone, you should have the technological capabilities needed to use most of the items in this article.
Smart Switches, Connected Lights and Clever Heating
If you’re not sure where to start, you could always begin with something a little smaller, such as the Belkin WeMo Home Automation Switch. It’s a plug that allows you to control your connected home appliances from your mobile device. You just have to sync it to your Wi-Fi network and download the app, and you’ll be good to go.
Your smartphone can be used as a remote control, and you can get it working with numerous plugs on the same network. It’s a slick way to manage your devices from anywhere.
Then again, you could be looking for something a little more futuristic, and what better place to start with than lighting?
Dimmer switches are thankfully now a thing of the past in most homes, but you can relive the memories with a Smart LED Bulb, which can be controlled as long as you’re on a compatible Wi-Fi network, such as your mobile or at home. (Yes, it also dims the light if you want.)
If it’s paired with the WeMo starter set, you can control the bulbs from anywhere, and there are practical functions to go along with some of the fancier features on offer.
It’s fun to scare children or pretend to be some sort of deity, but you also get bang for your buck. The bulbs will last for 23 years, (with roughly three hours of use per day) and they use less power than their traditional counterparts, saving you money in the process.
The app has reviewed reasonably well, and it’s one of many different options on offer when it comes to smart lighting. It’s not as expensive as you might think and you’ll start seeing immediate savings that rack up over the years.
If you want even more control, you can get a thermostat that will turn the heating on or off when you enter and leave your premises (thanks to the powers of geolocation). It might seem like a small touch, but it’s another worry off your mind, while it’s another handy tool that will help you to save money on energy bills. It’s also fully customisable depending on your needs.
If you’re not sure if the perks justify the initial expense, you can always wait a couple of years for technology to improve even further. That’s the beauty of constantly improving hardware and software.
There’s an app for nearly everything, and entertainment is one of the most important aspects of modern life. Smart TV’s have begun to help us dispose of many of the boxes that litter the front of the living room in the past, and they’ve refined the experience of streaming content for most people. While internet browsing features on smart TV’s are of question use, offering a gateway to popular streaming services has helped to revolutionise the way we consume television on the whole.
The digital switch may have ruffled a few feathers, but there’s a reason why projections suggest that the number of smart televisions will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. This means that prices will continue to come down, and it’s one of the most accessible mediums in terms of practical use.
A decent 32” model is now less than £150, and you’ll be able to access Netflix, YouTube, and BBC programmes on demand from the TV itself through Wi-Fi. It’s easier than fiddling around with wires or your mobile device, and it’s definitely becoming more of a viable option if you don’t want to shell out for one of the pricier models on the market.
Financial constraints should always be considered before you rush to make a purchase, but most of these products are designed to save money in the long run.
Peace of Mind
Security is always one of the most important aspects when it comes to smart home technology. You can watch your property from anywhere thanks to the power of video streaming, and that means full HD footage with the added option of night vision and audio capabilities.
It’s yet another product that is easy to set up, and you don’t even have to use your computer. In a recurring theme, you can use your smartphone to view (and hear) the footage whenever necessary. No matter the voyeuristic connotations of cameras in the home, it’s an additional security measure that can help to provide another set of eyes if you’re away. It’s a great way to ensure the safety and security of your house, and you won’t have to break the bank to get it working.
As long as you’re ready to make the jump, there isn’t much holding you back from taking the first steps towards a smart home and technophobes have nothing to fear. It’s a fully optional upgrade, but it’s getting harder to justify not giving some of the new technology a try.
The future is here. (As long as you have a smartphone and an internet connection.) Okay, so it might not be the biggest advance in the history of mankind, but it is a step in the right direction. Each of these products was designed to help the user save time and money, and it’s not hard to imagine these types of features becoming more prominent in households in the coming years and decades.
Progress usually takes time, but it’s clear that smart homes are no longer just for the rich and boastful. As the technology continues to be perfected and refined, we can only expect further improvements in the coming years, and that’s always a good thing for the consumer in terms of efficiency and price.
Considering most of us can remember a time when mobile phones didn’t really seem to exist, maybe we should appreciate just how far into the realm of science fiction we’ve come. We can now have full control over nearly every aspect of our homes thanks to a pocket device, and we’re limited only by our ability to download and install apps, and the strength and consistency of our internet connection (and battery life of course).
A smart TV might not be that far removed from the technology of yesteryear, but we should take the time to appreciate just how brilliant they actually are. Even those of us that aren’t that comfortable fiddling around with the latest gadgets are slowly getting to grips with the demands of modern life, while brands like Apple pride themselves on the intuitive nature of their devices.
Everything is starting to fall into place for the consumer, and it’s a great time to take the plunge.
Integrating our systems will always leave us open to the possibility of issues, but that’s the price of progress. If you’re interested in taking a leap forward, there’s no reason to be left behind, and you can always take it at your own pace depending on what you want and need.
Pricing will always be important for the majority of us, but it’s still possible for consumers to embrace the future without having to make any sacrifices. It might take a few years, but you’ll start seeing savings in the long run.
There’s no time to get started like the present. Especially when it feels so much like the future.
Guest post from James Milin-Ashmore writing for the independent broadband and mobile internet comparison site Broadband Genie.