You may have heard the phrase “home automation” before, but what does it mean? Well, it usually refers to technology liked via Wi-Fi that you can control from a smartphone or with your voice. It’s becoming a regular feature of many modern households too.
Doorbells, plugs and speakers are some of the most popular choices, but there are hundreds of solutions out there to suit your budget and requirements.
Skills to Upgrade Your Existing Devices
You might already own at least one home automation product. Over 100 million devices enabled with Amazon’s Alexa technology have been sold as of 2019. These aren’t just affordable home speakers, though. Skills can be added to enhance your experience, adding more than only basic functionality. What’s more, hundreds of new skills are being developed and released every year.
Alexa can play your favourite radio station, find a dinner recipe or even check in on your finances. With the growing popularity of digital payment methods, PayPal was first to catch up and develop their own skill for Alexa. According to the latest data, there were 325 million active accounts in the first quarter of 2020. PayPal is used by retailers such as Argos or Next or online streaming services like Netflix, and it’s even used in iGaming by popular online casino brands like 888. And with skills like this, it will become even more convenient.
Other popular skills include:
- Met Office – Simply say “Alexa, what’s the weather going to be like today?” to ensure you’re fully prepared
- Fuel Finder – Find out the best prices for petrol or diesel before you fill-up the tank
- Breathe – A guided, five-minute breathing exercise to help you relax
- Uber – Request a cab only by using your voice
Technology That Doesn’t Cost the Earth
There are plenty of life-hacks you could use to enhance your home and improve your life, and home automation is just one of them. You can choose solutions that cater to most budgets. Want to sync your lights up with an existing assistant like Alexa or Google Home hub? A two-pack of smart bulbs costs less than £20. Not only are they sleek and stylish but you’ll never have to pause your favourite TV show to dim the lights again. They can also be set to switch on and off at certain times, ideal if you’re planning a holiday but want it to appear like there’s someone at home.
Plugs are another cost-effective way to make your home smarter. These can work seamlessly with the most common home hubs on the market or with any Wi-Fi connection via the manufacturer’s mobile app. You can set timers to switch the power on or off automatically. Permissions can be granted across multiple devices too, so parents can control when devices like TVs or games consoles can be used.
Safety and Security Like Never Before
Video doorbells can add another layer of security to your home. In the internet-enabled era, more of our devices can talk to each other via any standard wireless internet connection. You can get real-time audio and video feeds directly to your smartphone or tablet, whenever there’s someone on the doorstep. There’s also the option to record whatever is going on and watch it back later, even if you’re not available to check your notifications at the time.
Many of the newer models from companies like Ring or Arlo can be used without being hardwired into your electricity supply. They’re designed to be installed as quickly as possible. This makes them even more accessible, and you just need to remember to charge and change the battery. Don’t worry, though, as this won’t become a chore! It will be months before a fully charged battery will be running low and need to be connected via the USB cable provided.
With more internet-enabled devices and skills arriving all the time, home automation is here to stay. We’re looking forward to seeing the latest developments to make our homes smarter and more efficient.