Nearly everything in your home — including your television, kettle, thermostats, lights and garage doors — can be connected to the internet and be controlled remotely using a mobile device or smart speaker. But setting up a so-called smart home can be mind-boggling!
If you haven’t been through the process before, it can seem like a monumental task – but the reality is it’s quite easy. In fact, smart home technology has been specifically designed to be ultra- user-friendly (which can’t be said of all technology).
There’s no need to get stressed or to panic, you don’t need to make your home into some kind of futuristic wonderland overnight. You can introduce smart home technology gradually, at your own pace. We’ll give you a couple of examples here. So put the kettle on (in the old-fashioned way, at least for now), and then we’ll begin.
There’s a ton of different accessories that work only with certain products, and some work better than others. Here’s a guide to help you acclimatise to your first voice-controlled smart home!
Virtual voice-controlled assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa make it easy to control smart home products by speaking simple commands like “Alexa, turn on the lights.” They each have their own strengths and weaknesses, but all are pretty good!
Here’s an example of what you have to do if you want to control your lights using smart home tech.
Controlling your lights
You can control lights throughout your home with your smartphone in different ways. If you don’t want to replace every light bulb, you can just replace strategically located switches and plugs. Or, if you want more advanced features like colours or dimming, you can go for smart bulbs.
There are basically three options you have to choose from:
- Replace your wall switches with smart switches
- Plug smart plugs into existing outlets
- Replace your current light bulbs with smart bulbs
Each of these have pros and cons, and each has a different cost. But, as we’re looking at the easiest option, we suggest you start with a smart plug.
What do you actually do with a smart plug?
First, you plug a smart plug into an outlet. Then you plug something else (like a lamp or appliance) into it. Finally, you connect the plug to your preferred home assistant, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, or the smart plug’s app. From there the smart plug turns the power supply to the item you plugged into it. You then use ‘on’ and ‘off’ commands sent from an app or smart home hub and your Wi-Fi network.
Remote control lights are really simple. Plug-in devices connect your lamp and the wall outlet, functioning as a remote control for the attached light. New technology even allows you to connect to your smartphone, Google Home, and Alexa. When you go to work in a morning, you leave the switch on your lamp permanently in the ‘On’ position – the plug-in module will deal with turning the lamp on and off. In just a few moments, you can control a few lamps in your living room, bedroom or any location where your light fixtures plug into a smart plug. You have control from anywhere in the world. How cool is that?
Your mobile does it!
Remote control lights do not mean you are pressing a remote control to turn your lights off and on, although you can. It’s much simpler than that. Having remote control lights is like having the ability to control and access your home from anywhere in the world using a smartphone, laptop, Apple Watch, Siri, and other voice assistants. Remote control lights are simple. Even if you are home and not at a “remote location” you can access your smart home products with a simple tap on your phone.
Of course, if you go for the easiest option and buy yourself some smart plugs, you’re not restricted to just your lights. You can control everything: Fans, kettles, heating, appliances, radios… virtually everything! All you’ll need is a good internet connection. You can control a myriad of devices from an app on your smartphone or with your voice through a virtual assistant such as Alexa, Siri or others. It’s so easy, so don’t let the word “tech” put you off. Get yourself a single smart plug and see just how easy you can make it for yourself. We think you’ll never look back!