26th September 2020
Our pick of the latest appliances, apps, gadgets and technology to get your home working harder for you.
Even if you’re not big into technology, the concept of a smart home need not send your brain into shutdown – there are many simple products on the market to make life easier at home, simply at the touch of a button.
Beyond “Hey Google…”, your home has the potential to save you time and money by exploring the world of home automation. With smart speakers, wireless internet and bluetooth technology it’s possible to run your home appliances not only at the touch of a button, but from the comfort of your sofa, or office chair!
First, take another look at your existing appliances. You might find them already equipped to make your life easier. Revisiting instruction manuals or a quick online search might uncover timers, programs and built-in features and connectivity you may have forgotten or overlooked.
Where to start
For a hit list of home automation, often the first step is to invest in a home hub product to harness control of your smart devices via applications created by Google, Amazon, Apple, Sonos and other brands. These can be tailored to operate a number of smart appliances remotely, via voice command or by using apps on your phone or iPad.
Room-by-room there are options for automation at basic level, right up to set-and-forget modes for devices and appliances to work when and how you need them – even when you’re away from home.
Washing machines & dryers have energy-saving settings and delayed start functions to run at off-peak times and still have washing ready for you when you wake up or arrive home.
Smart lights with multi-hued globes, programmable to control lighting for different moods and times of day via an app on your device or home hub.
Sound systems with integrated speakers for surround sound or to connect rooms and other devices through bluetooth or using wifi technology.
Smart fridges that go beyond temperature control with super energy efficiency and added features like automatic ice makers, wine coolers and built-in LED display screens to check weather, search the internet and keep track of your food supplies and create shopping lists.
Robot vacuum cleaners programmed to automatically operate when you’re away from the house or at work.
Coffee machines with built-in timers can have your daily fix ready and waiting when you wake or step out of the shower.
Baby monitors, sleep aids, temperature and audio controls can soothe a baby to sleep with music and calming sounds. Night lights that double as a digital thermometer and change colour with the room temperature to monitor comfort at a glance.
Video doorbells, security cameras with night vision and motion tracking with apps for remote monitoring of your home.
Smart TVs that use voice control technology, internet connection for online streaming, music sharing and connectivity with your home hub for hand-free operation using remote or voice control.
Heating & cooling
Automated blinds can be programmed with timers that open and close to make the most of natural home heating and cooling with the weather. Added sensors can take the guesswork out of programming by responding to outdoor temperatures automatically.