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Turning your home into a smart home

Published on Friday, 1st March 2019

Categories: Home Improvement

Turning your home into a smart home

How many of you received an Alexa last Christmas? This is just one of the many smart devices that are being used to give us more entertainment, greater convenience, and heightened security in our homes. With that being said, in this blog post we are going to take a look at all of the different devices that are available to turn your property into a smart home.  

First, choose your assistant…

The first thing you need to do when creating a smart home is choose an assistant. A virtual voice-controlled assistant will make it easy for you to control all the smart products in your home with a simple command. There are many different options to choose from here. Of course, Alexa is one of these. Google’s Assistant and Apple’s Siri are other choices too. There are strengths and weaknesses associated with all options. Amazon’s Alexa is a good option if you want something that is easy to set up and use. Plus, you can combine it with Echo Dot, a small speaker, which is one of the cheapest on the market. Alexa is also compatible with both Android and Apple devices. One of the drawbacks, though, is that you have to speak directly to the speaker – you cannot control Alexa by speaking to a smartphone, as is the case with the other options. Google’s Assistant leads the way in terms of artificial intelligence, meaning you are more likely to get a correct response. Apple’s Siri is arguably the best in terms of security. However, there are fewer supporting products on the market, as Siri is exclusive to Apple products and the company has stringent privacy requirements in place.

Next, choose your hardware…

Now that you have selected a virtual assistant, you will be able to select a piece of hardware, which is going to act as your primary controller for your smart home. The hardware you choose will depend on the virtual assistant you select. If you went for Apple’s Siri, you can opt for the Apple Watch, an iPad, or an iPhone. For Google’s Assistant, you’ve got the newer Android smartphones, as well as Google Home. For Amazon’s Alexa, you can use any of the Echo devices, from Echo Show to Echo Dot. 

Putting your assistant to work…

The final piece of the puzzle is putting your assistant to work. This involves finding home accessories that are compatible with your device. Today, you will be shocked by the wide range of products that actually are compatible with these devices. From home security systems to your entertainment gadgets, it seems that everything can be controlled via a virtual assistant. Let’s start with one of the more obvious options, and this is controlling your lights. Smart lighting is widely available on the market today. There are some systems that require what is known as a bridge, i.e. a device that basically connects to the Wi-Fi in your home to communicate with the smart light, there are also bulbs available that have in-built Wi-Fi connections, meaning an extra purchase is not required. What this does mean, though, is the reliability of the bulbs does depend on the Wi-Fi router in your home. However, you do have a great selection of options available, as you can easily dim your lights to suit your preference and you can even change their colours. 

There are lots of different plug-in appliances that can become a bit smarter if you purchase a smart plug. For example, you can set a specific time for the kettle to heat water, meaning you have a nice hot kettle ready for you as soon as you walk through the door or wake up in the morning. The same can be said for your coffee maker, as well as any electric fans you have in the home too. Of course, you also have the ability to control the temperature in your home by using a smart thermostat. This can detect when you are not home so it knows when to put the heating on, or off – which can also save you money on your energy bills. Plus, the good news is that new products are being developed all of the time. With new smart fridges, CCTV and doorbell cameras being developed, there is no telling what we will be able to control next!

At AJG, we know smart homes, and we know what it takes to convert your property into a home of the future during your renovation. Why not speak to us about how we can incorporate smart tech into your home?

We’d love to hear your favourite bit of smart kit you’ve incorporated into your home over on our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube,LinkedIn  and Instagram pages.

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