Smart technology is becoming more and more popular, but what exactly is it? We thought it would be useful to shine a light on the subject. From simple smart electric bulbs to entire security systems, here's our guide to understanding how smart devices work and how they can help you feel safer and more comfortable in your home.
What is a smart home?
A smart home is a property that uses smart technology to give you more control over how you heat, light and secure your home. Items such as thermostats, lights, plugs, doorbells and locks can be connected wirelessly to a hub or your smartphone so they can be controlled remotely and easily.
More and more people are embracing smart technology, enjoying the convenience, comfort and peace of mind it offers whether you’re at home or out and about. It can also help you save money on bills because you can be more flexible with your energy usage.
What a smart home provides
Essentially, once you’ve got the technology set up, a smart home provides an enhanced living experience offering a range of benefits that fall into three main categories.
Convenience and comfort:
- Use your smartphone to answer the door when you’re out and about.
- Turn on the lights or heating remotely before you get home.
- Enter your home without having to hunt in your bag or pockets for keys.
- Replace difficult-to-reach plugs with smart plugs so they can be controlled with an app.
Security and peace of mind:
- Double-check you’ve turned everything off after you’ve left your home.
- View live on-screen footage to see who’s at the door.
- Make sure your pet isn’t getting up to mischief while you’re out.
- Keep an eye on the house and garden while you’re away on holiday.
Better control of your energy usage:
- Dim lights using smart bulbs without the need for a dimmer switch.
- Reset the time the heating kicks in if you’re out for longer than you’d planned.
- Adjust the temperature on your smart thermostat in an instant.
- Set an oil-filled heater or electric blanket to come on only when the weather is cold enough.
How does the technology work?
Smart technology works through your home wi-fi network. Devices can be controlled remotely through a smartphone app (like using a remote control) or by using a central smart hub or speaker. A smart hub consolidates all the smart devices in your home and makes it simple for you to set up routines, such as starting each day with the lights coming on, the blinds opening and the radio playing.
How it could benefit you
Smart technology offers something for everyone, whether you lead an active lifestyle or need a bit more help around the home. Here are some of the positive ways in which we can see smart devices enhancing your life:
- Smart lights can be set to come on automatically when it’s dark and the brightness can be preset to suit your needs. You can choose bright white light during the day and warm low-level light in the evening or have different settings for different areas of the house.
- Once we’re out of lockdown, you might not be in a hurry to get home! If you decide to stay out longer than planned and you’ve got a smart thermostat, you can use your smartphone to stop the heating kicking in at its usual time.
- With smart locks, you don’t need to carry jangling keys if you’re out for exercise and you’ll never need to worry about losing them. Smart locks also mean you can allow people you trust, such as dog walkers or carers, to enter the property by using a key code – and you can change the code easily as often as you like.
- You don’t have to stay in or listen out for deliveries if you’ve got a smart doorbell, because you’ll be able to answer the door from anywhere and give instructions where a package can be left safely. And you can screen callers before answering the door.
- With a smart security system, you can relax on holiday knowing you can watch live streaming through your cameras any time you want or need to. Smart cameras also mean you can check whether the children have got home safely from school or an elderly relative is safe.
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