Broadband connectivity has allowed many new smart devices to be developed and become commonplace in households. Now that the majority of the United Kingdom has Internet access, these smart devices are becoming more popular and more affordable for the average person.
There are a lot of smart enabled devices that are not necessary in the household but will certainly make your house a more exciting place to live. In this article, I’ll look into the different kind of smart devices that are available today and how they can be used to improve the home. All of the below will require a fast broadband connection to work effectively, and without that, they can often just be a piece of metal or plastic.
The Amazon Echo is a new device that has become more popular around the house, especially since its inclusion in TV shows like Mr Robot. The device itself is seen as a productivity device that anyone can use with ease.
The Amazon Echo has an AI called Alexa which will respond to your voice when you ask it a question, for example, “ Alexa.. What is the weather like on Friday?” and you should receive a response telling you what the weather forecast is for Friday.
Amazon Echo is seen as a personal assistance where you can set reminders, alarms or ask it doe perform an action for you. Amazon Echo can be used to control other devices around the home, for example, it has recently partnered with Hive, which will allow you to control the temperature of your heating. It also has partnerships with companies like Just Eat so that you can ask Alexa to order from your local takeaway. Uber is also a new partner which allows you to order a taxi very simply.
Amazon Echo also works with Next, which we will talk about below. All of this connectivity means that it is practically the voice controlled hub of your home should you choose it to be.
Nest was originally set up similar to Hive whereby you will have control over your home heating with your app, or now even an Amazon Echo. However, Nest has also expanded into home security with devices like its security camera. The Nest security camera will be active 24/7 and allow you to see what is going on at your home whenever you are away. It works by activating every time it senses movement. You can then see the live feed on your phone or computer and talk back through it should you wish to warn people away or just let them know you can see them.
Nest also has a smart smoke alarm which will send you a message when it detects smoke in your home. This is a great device to prevent any serious damage to your home if you are out at the time. When it comes to fire alarms, they can often be ignored as they are set off quite often when cooking and often neighbours will not pay attention to them if they hear them as a result. The Next smoke alarm will alert you wherever you are and you are more likely to pay attention if you notice it going off. If you use the smart smoke alarm in conjunction with the security camera you will be able to know if the alarm is legitimate or not and either turn it off or call the fire brigade. A great way to protect your home.
Hive and Nest both offer great smart thermostats that work by connecting to your boiler and smart phone. They both have the ability to be controlled when you are away from home, which means that if you are on your way back home, you can make sure it is nice a toasty for when you get back. They also have the ability of being able to detect when the last person has left home, meaning you don’t need to worry if you have left the heating on as it will automatically turn off.
Some smart thermostats will also be able to learn from you and set the temperature in the home based on the way in which you would normally set it. Smart thermostats are a great way to automate your heating and to save money when not using it.
These are a couple of gadgets that allow you to tell you coffee machine or kettle to make you a brew before you are even in your kitchen. Some may consider this a lazy device and after all how hard is it to turn on a kettle or get the coffee going in the morning. For those people I would say, consider being in bed in the morning and an alarm is set on your coffee machine app to be ready for when you wake up. The smell of coffee alone will sometimes be sufficient and allow you to get up easier and it is certainly one way to get you up in the morning if you struggle.
Another great benefit of this is the ability to get the kettle or coffee machine on before you get home so that you can enjoy a brew as soon as you step though the door.
This device is certainly a luxury but it has so many features that are brilliant for the family home. The ability to share a calendar and notes on the screen are something that you may already be using your fridge for in the conventional pen and paper method. I know in my household that if we need to set a reminder, the fridge is the place to put it.
Smart fridges also have the ability to show you how low you are on certain items while you are away from home. So if you have forgotten if you need milk or not then you can check the fridge app and see what is currently in it.