All you need to know about a smart home
Building a smart home is about more than just filling it with fun and exciting gadgets. A true smart home makes life easier for its residents.
Imagine the lights only switching on when someone is in the room, or your favourite music following you through the house. Imagine a fridge that keeps track of its contents so you can reduce your food waste. Or imagine a doorbell that allows you to see who is at the door, even when you’re not home.
These are all things that exist now, and they are growing in popularity. In the future, we could see more and more smart devices cropping up in our homes. And what is most exciting is the way that these devices can work together without any human intervention.
What is a smart home?
A smart home uses one or more internet connected devices to control things like light, sound, security or temperature. Smart devices allow you to use an app on your phone or your voice to make things happen.
In addition to giving the user full control over key functions in their home, smart home devices also offer monitoring and smart predictions. For example, if you’re away from home for longer than usual, your smart pet feeder can take care of feeding the cat.
Let’s explore some of the most popular applications for smart technology in the home.
Indoor lighting has come a long way since the first UK home was lit by electricity in 1879. With the arrival of smart lighting, we can change the brightness or the hue of lighting with an app. We can even use a device like the Amazon Echo to control lights using voice controls. But this isn’t the end of the road for smart lighting.
We could soon see motion sensors in homes – similar to those found in offices – lights that will turn on when a room is entered and turn off when the room is empty. This could add up to huge savings for homeowners. Not to mention that it would stop parents having to remind their children to turn off the lights when they leave a room.
Smart lighting can also be used as a more pleasant alarm clock. Imagine light slowly flooding your bedroom in the morning, even in the darkness of winter. Smart lighting can be used for home security too. If you are away on holiday, you could set your lights on a sequence to deter any burglars.
Many of us now enjoy smart speakers in our homes. These voice assistants can tell us information, play our favourite music, set reminders and even play games. Smart TVs are able to connect to the internet and can stream the latest TV shows and films on various platforms.
In the future, we could see more homes using smart lighting to set the ambience when watching a movie. Imagine if the lights automatically dimmed every time you started to watch a movie? Smart speakers are also highly adaptable, allowing you to switch between TV audio, music streaming or another audio source.
In the smart kitchen, cooking and planning meals becomes a lot easier. Perhaps the most popular smart kitchen device is the smart coffee machine. Simply set it up the night before and then wake up to the smell of freshly ground and brewed coffee.
Other popular devices include fridges with cameras inside which you can access while shopping for food. There are also connected scales which link to recipe apps to help you create the perfect dishes. Take the guesswork out of cooking and enjoy delicious meals without any of the expertise.
And finally, you could also enjoy a smart oven which knows how long to cook everything for and at the right temperature.
When it comes to security, smart technology can help to give you peace of mind that your property and its contents are safe inside. Smart security is a bigger deterrent to opportunistic burglars. Smart home security devices include cameras, security lights and even doorbells. When checking if someone is home, a burglar might first ring the doorbell. With a connected doorbell, you can respond to the caller, even when you’re not home.
In the future, we could see the end of traditional keys and the arrival of smart locks which can be unlocked with a key fob or even a smartphone app. With an app, you could grant access to people with ease. Perhaps when family is visiting, you won’t be at home in time to greet them but, instead of leaving a key under the mat, you can grant them access to your home using an app.
With energy bills on the rise, many homeowners are looking for ways to reduce their energy consumption without sacrificing comfort. Smart heating controls offer a great solution to this.
A smart thermostat can be managed remotely, so you’re always in control of your heating even when you’re away from home. This can be great if you’re in the habit of leaving the heating on before you leave the house. It can also help to prevent disasters if you go away on holiday during the winter. To avoid coming back to burst frozen pipes, you can turn the heating on for an hour every now and then to avert any potential mayhem.
To enhance this system, smart devices like a leak bot can help protect your home from leaking pipes. So a smart device that continually monitors for leaks could save you a lot of money on expensive repairs.
For landlords, having smart heating controls can make a property more attractive to potential tenants. If you can offer tenants a way to save money on their monthly energy bills, they might be willing to pay higher rents.
If you have young children or elderly people in your home, smart safety devices can help to keep everyone safe. With door alarms, you can be alerted when interior or exterior doors are opened. This can prevent young children from wandering into areas of the house they aren’t supposed to be in. For older people suffering from dementia, this can also help to alert you if they try to leave the house during the night.
Safety features like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can also be added to your smart home. These are connected to your home hub to make your home even safer and can alternate between a traditional ringing alert and a voice alert. A voice alert is more likely to wake sleeping children than a traditional alarm.
For elderly people living alone, smart devices can give some reassurance to their relatives that they are safe and well. Sensors can be fitted to things like the fridge or front door so that, if these sensors aren’t triggered during the day, a local doctor or family member can be alerted.
Perhaps one of the biggest perks of having a connected and smart home is the idea of creating routines. For example, you wake up in the morning, a smart device opens your blinds and starts the coffee machine. The heating came on half an hour before your alarm went off so your home is toasty warm.
The smart speaker in the bathroom plays your favourite radio show while you have a shower. Downstairs, your smart coffee machine is busy grinding coffee beans and brewing the perfect cup of coffee. After your shower, the smart speaker tells you the weather for the day so you can pick out the perfect outfit.
Downstairs, your smart home hub gives you an overview of your day so you know what to expect. And finally, as you leave your home, the smart security alarm is activated and the heating is turned off.
Why add smart features to your home?
Smart and connected technology not only makes life easier, but it can also make your home safer and more secure. If you are a landlord, offering smart technology in the home could allow you to attract higher paying tenants.
For homeowners, installing smart technology security systems could help to keep your home insurance premiums down and also prevent you from ever needing to make a claim. Often, just the presence of signs announcing a smart security system will be enough to deter would-be intruders. And, by making your home look occupied all the time, you will become less of a target.
Smart technology is also more efficient. While you might have to initially invest in new technology for your home, this technology could help you save money in the long term. And, with energy prices rising, anything that can reduce your energy bills will be a welcome addition to the home.
If you’re ready to make a smart move, why not find out more about home and boiler cover from YourRepair. Like a smart device, we could help you to save money and live more comfortably.