Humans are all more or less familiar with the idea of smart devices, small electronic speakers that can play your favorite songs and talk back to you. From internal tech endeavors such as the ECHO IV and Kitchen Computer that could save recipes and operate appliances in the late 60’s to the rise of the internet of things (IoT) from the early 2000s to today, internet-enabled devices are becoming the norm in households across the globe.
Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home/Nest endeavors are cornering the market in terms of compatible devices, with bespoke setups from Control 4 busting budgets for larger pockets. These days, it’s quite easy to buy a set of Wi-FI bulbs and link them to Alexa or Google for voice activation. But then again, anything is easy to do if you know how right? This is where PC Guide has your back.
Hands on Reviews
The Age Of Connectivity
It’s one thing to have a Google Home Hub to set a timer or tell you where the closest takeout is via the majesty of one’s voice, but how do these hubs control your home? Well, thanks to handy companion apps such as Alexa and Google Home, Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, doorbells, bulbs, hoovers, and even fridges can be controlled remotely with verbal commands or by using said apps as a remote control.
A great example would be a Google or Alexa compatible security system. Not so long ago, security systems would need wiring in and hooked up to a digital video recorder, often benign the eyesore of any home office. Now, live video feeds can be sent to your phone or tablet wherever you are, with alerts set up for when motion detectors pick anything up. Some systems even include moisture detectors to spot leaks before they become a major issue.
Why Make Your Home Smart?
Ultimately, it’s about convenience, making day-to-day tasks easier to manage whilst not forgetting important tasks whilst keeping up with a busy life. Left the lights or heating on when you’ve rushed out to work this morning? No problem, just turn them off via your handset or work PC thanks to the power of the internet and the cloud.
Anyone with a family knows the struggle with managing electricity bills and making sure everything is switched off. That three-minute check before you go to bed equates to 18 hours and 25 minutes a year, nearly a whole day wasted. Why not just say “Hey Google, lights off” instead?
What Do I Need?
That depends on what you’d like your smart home to do and which products you like the look of. Some easy to install and most used smart home products include:
- Google Nest Home Hub / Amazon Echo (Those cool smart speakers that play great music)
- Wi-Fi Enabled light bulbs (Generic budget ones or the Phillips Hue range)
- Smart Thermostat (Google Nest or Hive to control your heating)
- Wi-Fi smart plugs (turn any appliance on or off via your chosen hub)
- Alexa and Google compatible Smart TVs
- Google Nest Indoor Security Cameras
The best thing about setting up your own smart home is customization. Feel free to spend as much or as little as you’d like depending on what you want, but the sky really is the limit when it comes to creating your own smart home. Find out how to set up your smart home and the best products to buy here on PC Guide.