The smart house is knocking

With the release of the Apple HomePod last month, the demand for the smart home is well under way but what does a smart home actually mean? Are we all suddenly going to be catapulted into the age of the Jetsons with robot maids, and appliances shooting out of the walls or are we a little way off from that yet?

It is a little daunting with the sheer amount of technology on offer these days, and with the bold assumption by manufacturers that we will just ‘know’ how to use their products presents a mammoth challenge in actually learning how to use them. So I thought I would try to demystify some of these devices and determine if practically they will actually make our lives easier or be just another level of techno babble.

The release of the Google Home smart speaker in late 2016 instigated a shift in the way we use technology.

It is meant to be unobtrusive and easy to use. Instead of flicking endlessly across your tablet screen you can instead talk, and the speaker, with its voice recognition and connection to the internet, will answer your questions such as; tell you the time, the weather, the latest news, play your favourite music, or even control other smart devices connected to your home network.

Amazon also offers an alternative Home with the Echo Plus and now Apple has HomePod and each have their pros and cons.

I find these products are very much ‘set and forget’ with regards to your tech knowhow, and people I have installed them for have grown accustomed to their ease of use.

These smart speakers are also designed to connect with and instruct other smart devices within the house using voice control. Phillips Hue are smart light bulbs, that work with these smart speakers to allow you to control your lights by instructing your smart speaker, or through a smart phone app you can have the lights turn on when you arrive home or off after your leave the house.

It also offers an enormous range of mood lighting settings.

The Nest thermostat is another smart device not too far away for release in Australia. It integrates with your ducted air-conditioning to remotely monitor the temperature of your house. Once again you can turn it on before you arrive home and are welcomed into a cool house on a hot day or vice versa.

The Arlo home security system is a smart device that allows you to monitor your house from your smart phone. There are many other devices like the video doorbell that links to your smart phone so you can see who is at the door even when you’re not home, or the smoke detector that sets off an alarm on your smart phone in case of fire.

To me, there are some good little time savers in this range of new devices but they are far from perfect yet. It will take a good few years before we see the real benefits of all these integrated devices as more enter the market and we see this sector of the industry mature.

If you are thinking of trying out a smart device, I would start by purchasing a smart speaker. Once they’re set up you may find it easier to use than your current tablet.

  If you would like some help installing your smart device and have it integrate with your phone or tablet, call 1300 682 817 or email nathan@hometechassist.com.au