Imagine controlling your home appliances, lights and security from your smartphone, no matter where you are.
Sounds like sci-fi? Well that’s exactly what you can do with today’s smart home technology. So what is a smart home and why do you need it? Read on as we look into what makes a smart home, smart, and why it’d be smart to turn your home into one.
Creating a connected smart home today is relatively simple. All it takes is connecting any number of wi-fi enabled smart devices to your home wi-fi network. Once a device is connected to your wi-fi, you can access and control it remotely via an app on your smartphone or tablet.
That makes it possible to control your home lighting, security and appliances from anywhere in the world over the internet.
One of the most popular uses for smart home technology is home security. With a single wi-fi connected security camera you can look after your most valuable asset when you’re not there.
Getting started with remote monitored home security is easy and very affordable. All you need is a wi-fi capable smart camera, such as the Netgear Arlo, which is a high definition camera that includes 1080p HD video, two-way audio and night vision, and starts from just $299.99.
Just place the camera into your living room, connect it to your wi-fi, download the app to your smartphone or tablet and you can see what’s going on at home, no matter where in the world you might be. You can even keep an eye on the kids in one room while relaxing right next door, or watch your pets at home from your smartphone at work.
Once you see what you can do with one camera, it’s simple to add more to monitor different areas of your house, or get one to keep an eye on the holiday home. Plus, with the Ring Video Doorbell you'll never miss a visitor. Interact with visitors from anywhere - so you can keep up to date with your home.
Another way to make your house more secure with smart devices, is by controlling your lighting with smart light switches or light bulbs.
Yes, those are light bulbs and light switches you can control over wi-fi from your phone or tablet!
Installing smart lightbulbs are among the most affordable ways to start making your smart home a reality. With smart light bulbs you can turn lights on or off, dim them individually or as a group - from anywhere. You can also create custom schedules and control for your lights individually or as a group, and have your bulbs turn on at sunset and off at sunrise.
Products like the Philips Hue Bulbs also offer a Simulated Occupancy feature that turns your lights on and off automatically to make it look like you’re home even when you’re not. Or have a bit of fun and sync your lights with music and movies with the Philips Hue Ambience Bulbs.
Plus, being LED bulbs, they are super power efficient too - using only 10 watts of energy to provide the same amount of light as traditional 60-watt incandescent bulbs.
Smart light switches meanwhile replace your existing light switches and also let you control your room lights from anywhere with your smartphone, as with the smart bulbs you can use an app to create both simple or complex schedules for your lighting. You can set lights to turn on after dark or before your kids come home from school, or turn specific lights off every day to reduce power consumption. Or even turn lights on and off at different times on different days.
Smart homes are not just about security - they’re also about comfort. This is where smart power point adapters come in. These are wi-fi connected devices that plug right into any power point and which you can then plug any electronic device into.
The beauty of these devices is that they make anything connected to it smart. You can set timers for the heat pump to get going an hour before getting home, turn the lights on and off at will, make sure you haven’t left the iron on, or put the jug to boil from your bed!
The D-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plugs, for instance, also lets you monitor and control the energy usage of your electronic devices, plus scheduling provides a helpful way to save power while you're at work or asleep. You can easily measure your power usage and set up alerts through the mydlink app.
As you can see, turning your home into a smart connected home is actually pretty easy. Starting from just a few hundred dollars, you can start making your home more secure, more convenient and more comfortable.
The internet is at the heart of the connected home. With a wi-fi network at home (preferably with an uncapped internet plan), connect any wi-fi-enabled device, such as a smart switch or a security camera. Download a free app to your smartphone.
The device in your home connects to the wi-fi router and sends video or other information over the internet. As long as your phone is connected to a data network, it can receive that information, from anywhere in the world.
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