With technology evolving all the time we’re finding new and exciting ways to utilise what is now freely available to us. In the past new innovations would be released onto the market at sky-high prices that only Premiership footballers could afford but today it is much more accessible for all. One of the latest and – in our opinion – greatest innovations in recent years is the development of the smart home.
We’ve all been there… you’re sat on the sofa watching your favourite show on the television or you’re engrossed in the football and realise that you’re a little bit chilly or that it has gone so dark that you’re struggling to see – yet you don’t want to move. What a nightmare.
Fortunately these hard times are a thing of the past as converting your home into a smart home enables you to control various different appliances and systems without having to move much more than a finger onto your phone.
Of course, not everybody is a couch potato. For those who are out and about and worried about arriving home to a chilly house or if you want to deter potential thieves from approaching your unlit house at night you don’t even have to be at home to control your security or lights – how ‘smart’ is that!
What is a Smart Home?
“The home of the future” is something we’ve heard a lot about over the years. Whether it’s an elaborate interior design, a phenomenal piece of architecture or the kind of technologies that we could only dream about a decade or so ago, we all want to live in incredible homes with plenty of luxuries.
For many that kind of lifestyle will remain a pipedream, but we can get relatively close with the help of a smart home and smart technologies. As a homeowner it can be very exciting to install new technology or to bring home a new appliance that will change the way you relax and spend time at home. With smart lighting or smart heating systems you have greater control over the way your home looks, feels and functions and you don’t even have to be in the building!
There are a lot of ‘smart’ items that have been around for several years now and have already changed the way we live our lives. Just look at smartphones like the iconic iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy range and you’ll be able to reel off the benefits one after the other when compared to “standard” mobile phones.
Then we have wearables in the form of smart watches such as the Apple Watch and fitness trackers like the fantastic FitBit range that help us to monitor our daily activity, read messages without having to pick up our phones and even help us to be more healthy.
A smart home is the latest adaptation and the revolution started around the time of the smart TV. While many are still completely unaware of the benefits of smart TVs, others would find it difficult to live without them now. When your television is connected to the Internet you can stream videos, catch-up on your favourite shows and use sites like Netflix to watch movies and series’ whenever you like.
Smart homes are an extension of all of these household favourites and you can now turn up the temperature with a smart heating system, turn off your unwanted devices using smart power settings so that you bring your monthly bills down and you can even monitor what is happening inside and outside your home from an app on your mobile phone with smart security systems.
It really is amazing what you can do from the comfort of your own home these days – and remotely too! Smart entertainment is evolving all the time and is widely adopted already with people already wearing wireless headphones or playing music around their homes from central wireless devices like Sonos smart speakers and the forthcoming Apple HomePod which are connected via Bluetooth.
The possibilities are endless and the product offerings are growing all the time with so many new products released in the last few months. Take the Philips Hue wireless lighting system as an example which allows users to change the colour of the bulbs in a room depending on the mood or situation which is great for movie nights at home; and the Ring video doorbell which enables you to answer your door even when you’re not at home!
How Do I Create My Own Smart Home?
The BT Smart Hub which we released a few years ago was designed with the homes of the future in mind. Nobody had heard of smart homes at the time but the Smart Hub and our Whole Home Wi-Fi system enabled homeowners to get flawless Internet access all over their properties meaning that today you can be almost instantly ready for the smart home revolution.
With the removal of “dead spots” in your home where the Internet connection would drop out, creating your own smart home is relatively simple. The best place to start is with a specific focus area – are you looking to improve the lighting in your home perhaps, or maybe the overall security of your property, or could it be that you’re looking to reduce the amount of power you use around the house?
Once you’ve decided on your priority you can get to work on looking at what kind of products are available to you and that fall within your budget. Here at BT Shop we have a wide range of smart home systems and individual products that you can tailor to your needs, your home and your budget which you can then add to or adjust whenever you can or feel the need to.
Taking smart security as an example, you could invest in a range of smart security cameras which are mounted onto the walls and ceilings around your home and then link up to your mobile devices. These can be controlled by an app on your phone which you can access from anywhere, enabling you to watch over your property wherever you are.
From there you can always add additional security systems such as the video doorbell we talked about earlier which is fitted like a traditional doorbell, only the additional camera transmits the footage from your front door to your phone and you can even speak to the person calling using some systems, (which is great for when deliveries arrive and you’re not at home – no more “we called and you were out” cards!)
Once your systems are fitted or mounted you can follow the instruction guides provided by the manufacturer and download the corresponding apps from your provider (whether that’s the App Store or Google Play). It’s quick, easy and you’ll soon be reaping the benefits of a smart home in terms of the look and feel of your home without even having to get a paintbrush out!
To find out more about our extensive range of smart home systems and products, take a look around the BT Shop online store today or you can read up on the collection in our blog series.