Should I invest in a Smart home?
With Amazon's Alexa bringing voice control to heating, lighting, cooking and even applying make-up, is now the time to embrace the smart home?
The runaway success of Amazon Echo voice-controlled speakers has put the smart home at the centre of everyday modern life.
Everyone’s heard of Alexa, right?
But the smart home goes much further than Amazon’s digital assistant. There’s a whole world of Wi-Fi connected gadgets you can add to your home to make everyday life easier.
From thermostats and light bulbs to video doorbells and fridges.
Here are 5 reasons to get involved...
1. Save on bills by using less energy
Take a smart thermostat like Nest. It’s designed to help you save energy by learning your routines and adjusting the heating automatically to create its own program.
It tells you when you’re saving energy with a Leaf icon on the thermostat’s screen and sends you a monthly report to help you build better habits.
UK customers have saved between 8.4% and 16.5% on their heating bills while using Nest, the company says.
2. Make your home more appealing to buyers
Would you rather move into a home that was already future-proofed with the latest technology or one that would soon need updating?
A property would be more appealing to 28% of people if it had connected technology, according to a 2015 Barclays survey
It says people would pay an extra £3,310 for a new home that comes fully equipped with the latest technology, such as smart heating systems and appliances.
What’s more, smart tech is an important consideration for those trying to get on the ladder. A 2017 Barclays survey found around half of people planning to buy in the coming 5 years were interested in smart tech like solar panels and smart security
3. Say goodbye to left-on lights and heating
No one likes getting to work and remembering they’ve left the heating or the bedroom lights on. With smart home tech, worry no more.
The Nest Learning Thermostat turns off the heating automatically when you leave the house – get the Nest Thermostat
Philips Hue lighting can be switched on and off through an app on your phone – whether you’re in the house or in the office. And you can set schedules for the lights to come on automatically when you’re out – get the Philips Hue smart lightbulbs
Increasingly, smart home tech is designed to work together. Philips Hue lighting, Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Indoor Cam can all work together. For example, your lights turning off automatically when you leave the house.
4. It can make cooking and shopping easier
Smart tech has been slow to catch on in the kitchen. But that’s all set to change thanks to the latest smart fridges and increasingly clever Amazon Alexa Skills.
At CES 2018 in Las Vegas, smart fridges with giant touchscreens in the door took centre stage. The LG InstaView for example uses built-in cameras to suggest recipes based on what you have in – super handy! Find out more about smart fridges
The InstaView works with Alexa to then talk you through recipes.
But Alexa doesn’t need a smart fridge to shine in the kitchen. Amazon Echo owners with only regular fridges still have kitchen hacks on tap, with Alexa and her endless list of skills. Just say: ‘Alexa, how do I cook rice?’ or ‘Alexa, whatcan I make with chicken and mushrooms?’ and await the answer.
And when you can’t be bothered? Simply ‘Alexa, ‘Ask Domino’s to place my Easy Order’.
Cause we all need pizza and Netflix sometimes.
5. Alexa works with everything
Early smart home tech was blighted by the fact it generally only worked with its own corresponding app or ecosystem. Anyone who wanted different smart devices ended up with loads of different apps.
Things are now much simpler. Pretty much everything works with Amazon Alexa, so you can control things with your voice – no need for lots of separate apps. You can use Alexa to…
- Adjust the heating with Nest Learning Thermostat or Honeywell Lyric
- Hit the lights with Philips Hue smart lighting or LIFX Smart Bulbs
- Turn plug sockets on or off with Belkin WeMo Switch
- Stream your favourite playlist from Spotify or hail an Uber
- Get the latest daily steps/calories updates from your Fitbit