beginners guides

Smart Home Tech: A Beginners Guide

A smart home is a house (or flat) where you can automatically control lighting, heating, and other electronic devices. Using a smartphone, tablet, or computer you can control anything, from plugs to lights and even security cameras, from in or outside the home.

The mere mention of the word ‘tech’ has sometimes been enough to make people dive for cover into the nearest cupboard, never to be seen again. But there’s no need to do that now. Smart devices have been designed with absolute simplicity in mind. You certainly don’t need to be a tech expert to introduce smart devices into your home.

What are the benefits of a smart home?

Smart home devices are convenient and can help keep you connected to your home wherever you happen to be. They can also assist in saving energy and money.

Some products are designed to help give you peace of mind when you’re out and about, such as a smart sensor which notifies you when a door or window is opened. Lots of smart products can work together to give you a true smart home experience.

Smart home products have a range of uses and benefits, and they’re easy to use and set up. So, whether you want more control and convenience in the home or peace of mind while you’re out, there’s a smart home product that will help.

Why should I set up a smart home?

Smart homes are easy to set up – all you need is an internet connection, a smart home device and hub, and the app (and something to run the app on, of course). As we said, you don’t need a smart home expert to help you, and nor do you need to be one yourself.

What smart home devices do I need?

With the help of big brands like Amazon and Google, the smart home market is growing fast. New products are regularly being introduced, so here are just a few current examples of smart home devices…

Smart Heating

With a smart thermostat, you can control your heating from your smartphone. You can turn your heating on or off, change the temperature or even set up schedules – all from an app. You can save money by never having to heat an empty home, and you can turn on your heating so it’s ready and your house starts to get toasty as you head home from work!

Smart Sensors

There are several types of smart sensors and they can be used for many different things. These include: To auto activate room lights, close down a room when there’s no motion, and they can let you know when a window or door has been opened.

Smart Lighting

Smart lights let you control your lights from your phone. Depending on the type of smart light you have, you can change the tone or colour of the bulb, dim the lights or turn off lots of lights in one go.

Smart Plugs

Smart plugs are probably the most versatile smart product because they let you control anything you plug into them, from your phone. Smart plugs allow you to experiment with making different appliances smart and are a great way to dip your toes in the water of smart home tech. Put the kettle on when you’re a few minutes away from getting home, so that it has boiled just as you walk through the door desperate for that ‘back home brew’…

Smart Cameras

Smart cameras let you check in on your home when you’re out, and will notify you through the app if they detect someone within a certain distance of the house. An indoor smart camera allows you to keep an eye on your pets and home using live-stream in HD from your smartphone.

The true smart home experience

You can have all your products working together all from the same app, and even alongside home tech like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri – so you can really start to customise your home.

Smart home facts:

In 2003, the UK Department of Trade and Industry defined a smart home as ‘a dwelling incorporating a communications network that connects the key electrical appliances and services, and allows them to be remotely controlled, monitored or accessed.’

The first home appliance was invented in 1901 and was an engine powered hoover! We had to wait until 1966 for the first steps on the road to full smart home automation though. In that year, the ECHO IV (widely regarded as the first home computer) was created by engineer James Sutherland. Although never marketed (it consisted of four large cabinets weighing around 800lbs!), it could compute shopping lists, control in-home temperature, and turn appliances on and off… Just like modern day smart home technology.

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