Home automation or 'smart home' devices are becoming ever more widely available, accessible and useful, with a variety of 'hub' devices allowing voice recognition to be used to control all manner of connected devices from lights and heating to security and much more.
The ever-growing range of devices which can be integrated into an automated or 'smart' home system can all be connected to wifi or other linked devices in what is now called the Internet of Things (IoT). This allows you to control all kinds of items within your home, and even to manage some devices when you're away from home, via your smartphone.
You may be interested but not aware of what is available these days, so here we take a look at the possibilities offered by the latest devices.
You will need a device to which everything else can be connected (usually via wifi), to allow you to give commands either with your voice, smartphone or a remote control, and which will then control all the other devices in your home.
There are widely advertised options from Amazon, Google and Apple which allow you to use voice commands to either control other devices or to check information on the internet by asking questions. These devices also have small speakers inside, allowing streaming music or radio to be played on command as well as for speaking back to you.
Note that not all hub systems will work with all devices/gadgets, so be sure to check compatibility when purchasing, or consult with a professional Home Automation specialist.
Lights, Cameras, Action
Lights are one of the simplest things you can connect, allowing you to control on/off, brightness, colour and to set timings. Suitable bulbs are available in starter kits complete with a wireless controller unit.
Wireless cameras can be set up outside and/or inside your home to monitor chosen areas. There are clever options which can alert you if they spot a potential intruder and automatically stream high quality video to your phone to allow you to keep track from wherever you are and even communicate via a built in speaker. Cameras can even include face recognition and some are intelligent enough to track a person around a room.
Similar to lights, things like curtains and heating thermostats can easily be controlled with the right controller connected, and you can buy smart power switches to enable anything you plug in to be turned on/off remotely at will.
And there's more...
There's a host of other devices which can do their thing automatically on command within a smart home - you may be aware of robot vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers, but how about a dog monitoring robot which can let you see and talk to your beloved pet while you're out, and even give a treat via the app on your phone?
There are also clever connected cookers, fridges, bathroom scales, sprinklers, pool cleaners and more being introduced all the time.