What is a smart home?

5 November 2018

Ever wondered how you can turn down the heating from your phone? Or switch on the lights while you’re walking home from the pub? Thanks to smart technology, all of this and more is just a device away.

In fact, there’s a good chance you’re already using smart technology without even realising it. Whether it’s controlling the music on your Sonos speaker using your smartphone or telling Alexa to play the latest must-see Netflix drama on your Fire TV Stick, you’re already well on your way to making your smart home a reality.

So what exactly is a smart home?

A smart home is a household where internet-connected products, better known as smart devices, work with your mobile, tablet or smartwatch to let you control them over the air. These innovative new products make life more convenient, while helping you to save money and energy, as well as protecting your property.

Smart homes are no longer the stuff of science fiction. And smart devices aren’t something you only see on episodes of MTV Cribs, where sports stars and pop singers control gadgets with a flick of their fingers. Everyone can enjoy the style, ease and convenience of a smart home.

What can you do with a smart device?

Home security

Burglar alarms provide a sense of security when you’re away from home, but with a smart device you can keep an eye on your property in real time, from your phone, tablet or laptop.

With a Hive View or Nest Cam Indoor security camera, you can monitor what’s happening inside your house day or night, with automatic updates straight to your phone. You can make sure the kids have arrived home safely from school and even keep tabs on the family pet to make sure they’re not up to too much mischief. You can also capture screenshots and watch video clips of anyone who’s in your house that shouldn’t be.Ring Video Doorbell 2

Smart devices could even bring an end to those annoying ‘Sorry we missed you’ cards the postman drops through your letterbox, meaning you never have to make a trip to your local sorting office again. With the Ring Video Doorbell 2 you can see and speak to anyone who’s at your door via the built-in HD camera, microphone and speakers. 

Home heating and energy saving

Smart devices make it easy to keep an eye on how much heating, water and electricity you’re using to help you save both energy and money.

Always forgetting to turn the heating off before you leave for work? Then a smart thermostat is just the thing for you. Only ever remember you’ve left the downstairs light on once you’re snugly tucked up in bed? A smart lightbulb might be the answer. You can set what time you want your smart device to go on or off using the smartphone app. Or make things even easier by telling your Google Home or Amazon Echo to set it up for you.

And you no longer need to run back indoors to check if you left your straighteners plugged in as your smart plug can tell you. Smart plugs help you to manage your smart devices at any time and from anywhere, so you can switch off your washing machine when it’s completed its cycle or boil the kettle ready for a hot cuppa as soon as you get through the front door.

That’s the great thing about smart devices. They don’t just help you control costs and add an extra level of safety. They make everyday life more convenient and personal. Like thermostats that learn and adapt to how warm you like your home and when to turn the heating on and off. 

Entertainment and everyday living

If you’re looking for help with the day to day, like reminders to order your weekly online shop or to find out what the weather’s got in store for the day ahead – then the Google Home or Amazon Echo is your best friend.

Google Home and Google Home Mini

These two smart devices act as your very own personal assistants – voice-activated hubs that are always on-hand to deliver you the latest news, information, whether forecasts, reminders, and music playlists.

Find out more about smart devices in our smart home hub >

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