With lockdown conditions still at least partially in place for most countries across the globe, we’ve all been spending a lot more time than usual at home. Naturally, this has led a lot of people to review the space that they have and want to improve their living situation and upgrade their homes, including the tech that can make our everyday lives easier. The ‘internet of things’ has been steadily developing to the point where most home functions can now be dramatically improved with the application of a little technology. There is a lot of kit out there – so deciding what is worth the spend and what’s likely to be an expensive mistake can be hard. The best smart home devices to invest in are, of course, at least partially a matter of personal preference, but with a lot of them you won’t know what you’re missing until you’ve tried them. So what home gadgets should you consider adding to make your home more entertaining, more comfortable and smarter?
Smarter Home Hubs
The rise and rise of voice assistants has led to a revolution in the home. We now think nothing of being able to stream Spotify instantly in the evenings or have a recipe read out to us while we’re cooking. There are different levels you can go to – from finding the best bluetooth speaker under 50 pounds to opting for a full home hub. With tens of thousands of voice commands available, this small but powerful devices can do everything from giving you a weather forecast to setting a timer so you get that boiled egg just right. A few now come with screens and video capabilities as well. With smart responses to voice commands paired with powerful audio capabilities, if you haven’t gotten a smarter home hub yet, the question has to be why?
Smart thermostats such as the Nest system allow us to be both energy conscious and save money on our electricity bills, without compromising on comfort – they really do offer the best of both worlds. If the high entry cost has proved a barrier to you installing one of these systems already, there are now pared-back ones that offer the same features for less of a high price.Often these thermostats can also integrate with other items around the home – such as security cameras and alarm systems, and often they work across manufacturers. You can also use them with a wide variety of heating systems, so even if you live in an older property, you don’t necessarily have to rule a smart home heating system out. They do require professional installation of course, but once you’re up and running, being able to control heating systems at the touch of a button on your smartphone app is a great benefit. You will also love an intelligent thermostat that quickly learns about the energy usage you and your family have – it can optimise the schedule to make sure that you save as much as possible on your energy bills while also keeping you cosy.
Adding a few smart plugs to your home is a brilliant idea, mainly because it allows you to turn a host of regular everyday objects into smart appliances as the power source is controlled remotely from your phone. Plugs like the Belkin WeMo Insight Switch can even connect to Google Alexa and will also report back on how much energy you are using with a particular gadget, such as your television. You can also set up a schedule for the plug from your phone, so that the lights are timed to come on a few minutes before you arrive home, or if you tend to fall asleep with the television on, it can be set to turn off automatically at a certain time. Smart plugs are a great intermediate step towards an intelligent home at an accessible price point, and easy to use.
Getting up and out in the morning can often be difficult, but it is possible to make your mornings more intelligent with the application of a little tech. You can now get sleep monitoring devices that slip under the mattress and give informed feedback as to how your night’s sleep was and how you can improve the quality of your slumber, so that you’re well rested. Then how about your favourite coffee being ready and waiting for you to run out the door? Machines like Smarter Coffee work with Alexa or an app on your phone and offer an integrated grinder so you can have coffee freshly ground from the bean – all made while you’re still in bed!