A Guide To Home Automation
These days, living in a ‘smart’ home means so much more than just having air conditioning, underfloor heating or any other clever development in home design. Like our phones, the places we live are getting a technological overhaul to make them ‘smart’, connected and ultimately, automated.
Put simply, home automation is a term used to describe managing multiple systems within your home such as thermostats, light bulbs, televisions and even security cameras remotely, with a single voice command or touch of a screen.
There are many smart home devices on the market and they’re growing in popularity. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the systems and gadgets available to buy, in our handy guide to home automation:
Amazon Echo is a hands-free, voice-controlled speaker that uses WiFi to connect, with numerous models available to buy to suit a range of budgets. Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, can be used with the Echo, and this is what makes it so special!
When ‘speaking’ to Alexa it is possible to request the music you like, ask for a weather and traffic update and even shop online using your Amazon account. However, through its Alexa app, it can also connect with compatible home devices such as thermostats, light switches and security cameras to enable them to be commanded by your voice. Though the Amazon Echo isn’t a comprehensive smart home ‘hub’, it has the capability to link up with numerous gadgets to make home life that bit simpler.
Similar to the Amazon Echo, Google Home is a smart speaker that enables you to interact with a virtual assistant using voice commands. As well as Google Home, Google Home Max and Google Home Mini are also available from the range, offering slightly different versions of the speaker to suit all budgets and requirements. In addition to playing music and other audio through the speaker, with the help of Google Assistant and the Google Home app, other smart home devices can also be controlled remotely.
Google has a range of these, called Nest, which includes security cameras, thermostats, and smoke alarms that are compatible with the speaker (however, you don’t need Google Home to operate Nest products, and can operate each one using your smartphone). With Google Home and these devices set up, it offers greater peace of mind when enjoying trips away, knowing that all of your home security systems are visible and can be controlled in your app.
Samsung SmartThings hub
Unlike Amazon Echo and Google Home, the SmartThings hub isn’t voice controlled but it does act as a central system for managing a number of connected home devices. It operates using an app that is free to download and requires a WiFi connection to work.
‘Routines’ such as Good Morning, Good Night and even Party can be created, autonomously running connected gadgets to suit a selection of moods. For example, your favourite disco tunes and bright lights can be activated in Party mode, while a bright, white light can be programmed to wake you up on a morning. It can even connect to smart speakers such as Google Home and Amazon Echo to add voice functionality too!
If you’re not ready for a fully automated home just yet but want to give the tech a try, lighting brand Phillips has released a range of light bulbs and fittings that are a great place to start!
Each product from the range can be controlled via a Smartphone app or a system such as Google Home. With this, it’s possible to set your bulbs to one of 16 million colours available, set the brightness to the perfect level, and even sync the lighting to match to films you’re watching and more.
Here at Miller Homes, we have incorporated digital technology into the way we work too to enhance our offer to potential buyers. For example, with our online reservations system and our handy QR codes that help you get up and running with new appliances quickly!