Smart Home devices and systems: everything you need to know

January 9, 2019

Yellow painted city door

Not long ago, the idea of a smart home felt like a futuristic dream.

But not anymore. According to a recent YouGov survey, almost a quarter of UK households now own a smart device of some kind.

So, if you want to embrace the Internet of Things – now’s the time. Not sure where to start? We’ve got everything you need to know about smart home tech. From smart home hubs to smart light bulbs.

What is a smart home system?

A home that’s kitted out with lighting, heating, and electronic devices that can all be linked together and controlled remotely. Usually by a smartphone or a computer.

But you don’t need to have a home that’s all singing and dancing. You just need one smart home device to count yourself as a smart home-owner.

Why have a smart home?

Turning up the heating without moving from the comfort of your sofa. No more arguing over who should turn off the bedroom light. A smart home can be awesome. But did you know that it can save you some cash too?

Your bills can really add up if you forget to turn the heating or lights off. But with a smart home system, you can turn stuff off manually using your phone.

Smart home thermostats can even learn your habits when it comes to your heating.  They can learn how often you have the heating on and which temperatures you prefer and adjust automatically for you. Convenient and saves money – sounds like a win to us.

But it’s not all about making life easy and saving cash. A smart home system can help to keep your home safe and secure too.

Smart home security systems are becoming more popular. Smart lights, sensors, cameras, and doorbells can help you keep an eye on your home, even when you’re not there.

You can find out more about setting up a smart home security system in our Blog article: What even is smart home security?

How to set up a smart home system

Setting up your smart home might seem a bit daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. And, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune either.

The beauty of a smart home is that you only need some basic tech to get you started. You can build it up at your own pace too. And that makes it perfect if you’re keeping an eye on the pennies.

We’ve pulled together some key smart home devices to help get you started.

Smart home hubs and assistants

A smart home hub’s the best place to start. It acts as your control centre and talks to your smart devices.  The majority of smart home hubs like the Echo Dot, Apple HomeKit, and Google Home voice use voice assistants too. Need the lights on but have your hands full? No problem – “Hey Google, turn on the lights”.

Got a new smart phone like the Google Pixel 3iPhone XS or Samsung Galaxy S9? They can all be used as smart home hubs too. The perfect option if you’re keeping an eye on your funds.

And most smart home hubs have an app you can use when you’re away from home too.

Smart plugs

Want the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to start up your smart home? Then look no further than smart plugs.  They’re reasonably priced too, making them one of the cheapest ways to start your smart home too.

All you need to do is plug them into a normal plug socket. Use them to make existing appliances like lamps and chargers ‘smart’.

You can use the accompanying app to schedule things to come on at certain times. And, you can even switch things on/off remotely – ideal if you think you’ve accidentally left the straighteners or iron on.

Smart light bulbs

Picture the scene:  you’ve settled down to do some serious binge-watching. You’ve got snacks, you’ve built the best blanket fort to date, and you’re ready to press play.  But you’ve left the ‘big light’ on. It’s ruining your cosy vibe but getting up to turn it off means running the risk of not getting comfy again.  Nightmare.

That’s not an issue if you’ve got smart light bulbs though.

Dim them or turn them off completely with your phone or voice assistant all without leaving the comfort of your blanket fort.

Smart home security systems

With a smart home security system, you can make sure your home’s safe no matter where you are.

Answer the door from your desk at work with a smart doorbell or check your cameras while sunning yourself on the beach.

If you’re in a Go Roam destination, it won’t cost you any extra to use your phone to check your security system either. Perfect.

If you want some more info on smart home security systems, then check out What even is smart home security? 

So, all you need to do now is decide how you’re going to start your smart home.