In Tech, there is always something new being worked on, and there is always a new product stamped as “The Next Big Thing” every year. After all, it is a fast passed market where technology even still today moves at a fast rate. The reality, though, is that from the craziest and coolest ideas imagined by those working in tech only a few make their way to market and even less are proven a commercial success. I think it is especially true when it comes to Home Automation, technology to be used in the home, and Connected Objects / IoT* products, it is only slowly being adopted by end-users.
Early adopters of tech gadgets are usually younger generations, and not many of them in current climate manage to get on the property ladder to even consider adding tech objects to their home. It is not exactly in a rental that you’ll consider Solar panels on your roof or a Smart Heating Thermostat for your Electricity usage… plus those products include technology components that are not always easy to understand for the public they are intended to.
But slowly this is changing as people change their habits… Millennials getting their first home are just like any homeowners concerned about reducing their energy bills, their well-being in the home. So if a technology comes along to help make their life easier then why not? I have got a few of those and I mention under each which one so feel free to ask me questions about it.
Let’s see how technology is making your home smarter with 10 products you should think about if you are doing a home renovation.
*Internet Of Things
What can It do? Turn ON / OFF Lights from a mobile phone or voice command
Answering the need for: Changing Light Mood in every room of the house by dimming brightness or changing colours
Controllable from a smartphone: YES
Top Products: Philips Hue LED LightStrip Plus, Ikea Tradfri
Compatible with: Voice command / Smart Assistants
Cost: £- from £15 (single bulb)
My home has a few setups with those lights. I love it! One in the staircase click here for the tutorial and another one in the living room check my Instagram for pictures.
Smart Personal Assistant
What can It do? Play Music, Radio, Set a timer, Read News, check traffic update between two location, answer general questions, answer calculus problems, add tasks to a virtual calendar, Add items to a shopping list, turn on/off heating/lights/, can control whatever IoT device compatible with the Smart Assistant / call your phone contacts, etc.
Answering the need for: day-to-day practical Voice-controlled assistance
Controllable from a smartphone: YES
Top Products: Google Home, Amazon Echo-Dot, Apple Siri/Home Kit
Cost: £- from £30
I got one. I love it! Check my other blog post about how I use it in the Kitchen, click here.
Auto-Blinds / Electric-curtain tracks
What can I do? Centrally Open/Close all or several shutters in the home
Answering the need for: convenience instead of going to pull curtains manually to open/close
Controllable from a smartphone: can be
Top Products: Somfy Electric Curtain Tracks, Huna Powered Blinds
Cost: ££ – from £300
Smart Locks for your entrance door
What can It do? Relatively new to homeowners. There is a lot of uncertainty with this technology being used for something as safety-critical as a home entrance door and its consequence on home insurance, the risk of theft etc. Perhaps this will soon be an urban legend? The promise is that it is safer as it can track who enters the home and when.
Answering the need for: convenience when entering your home. No need to use keys anymore. Some allow you to set up time-limited authorised access to friends, family or service personnel.
Controllable from a smartphone: Yes (depending on the product), otherwise it can use a RFID key card (similar as hotel rooms), Fob/Tag or a code .
Top Products: YALE – Assure Smart Door Lock, NEST & YALE Smart Lock, August (US company) – Smart Lock
Cost: ££ – from £90
Air Purifier / Humidifier
What can It do? I am so excited about those. I have a terrible tree pollen and dust mites allergy (understand I need to vacuum all the time). The promise of this new tech beauty is to reduce the presence of allergens in your home and provide cleaner breathing air.
Answering the need for: Better breathing air at home.
Controllable from a smartphone: Yes
Top Products: LG Signature Air Purifier, Philips AC3259,
Cost: £££ – From £399, Depending on technology can go up to £1600.
Vacuum Cleaner Robot
What can it do ? Automatically Clean dust from your floor at a certain time. You
Answering need for: working people who want clean floors without doing manual work
Controllable from a smartphone: Yes
Top Products: iRobot 791, Eufy Robot Vac 11c
Cost: £££ – From £269
I got one. I love it! Really good when you have two pets.
What can It do? I am so excited about those. Create your own energy thanks to solar powered panels. Yes, they also work well under the UK weather. The real-time Energy generated during the day can be used straight away, or resold to the grid network, or used to fill a specific Battery to be then used at night time (when there is no sun). The energy of the future!
Answering the need for: Generating renewable clean energy to power the electricity in your home.
Controllable from a smartphone: Can do if your solar panels are connected to a iot enabled controller unit.
Top Products: Roof Integrated Solar panels, iot Energy Controller, Tesla PowerWall Home Battery.
Cost: £££ –
I have worked for Solarcentury in the past and actually managed this product release to market so I may be a bit biased however I do think the product is beautiful and works just like a normal solar panel. It also won the prestigious IF Design Award in 2016 and is now available at IKEA UK.
Underfloor Heating (electric mats)
What can It do? Heat your floor thanks to underfloor mats under your flooring, you can set up temperature usually up to 27 degrees and have it turn automatically in the morning or when you come back from work. It is controlled by a small control panel in each room. There are a few technologies but here I am only describing the electric mats.
Answering the need for: Heating a room. Streamlining the design of heating devices to the point they are invisible.
Controllable from a smartphone: Yes but you may need a Home Kit extension which is a device that connects your heating controller to the internet, thus connecting with Smart Assistant (Amazon Hue, Google Home, Apple Home Kit).
Top Products: ProWarm™ Electric Mats 200W + Heatmiser control + Home Kit
I got one. I love it! In the bathroom, so I do not have a heating rail, it is so pleasant to walk on warm tiles when stepping out from the shower. Click here for my article about my minimalist shower room.
Indoor/outdoor connected Cameras
What can It do? Live-Stream or replay camera recordings of any indoor/outdoor room in your home from your phone. You can also hear and talk back! it can detect movement and sound. It can also see at night thanks to night vision.
Answering the need for: Watching what is happening at home when you aren’t there.
Controllable from a smartphone: Yes. Live-stream can be watched at no additional cost. However, you need a subscription to Nest Aware (from £4 for 5 days of recording) if you want to watch any recorded videos.
Top Products: Nest HD Indoor Camera , Nest HD Outdoor Camera
I got one. I love it! We got one to watch our cats when we leave them overnight for the weekend and make sure they finish their food bowl.
Smart Heating Thermostat
What can It do? Change temperature of a room from your smartphone. Turning it on/off remotely. Smart solution to help you save money and use less energy. It will adapt to your needs and can turn itself off if you aren’t home for example. Need to be installed by a professional because it needs to link up with your boiler.
Answering the need for: control your heating temperature and see how much you spend and how you could save money.
Controllable from a smartphone: Yes.
Top Products: Nest Thermostat (+ HeatLink in Europe), Hive Active Heating, or Any smart heating control reading compatible with your boiler, check your boiler manufacturer brand website, they may have something available. The only thing is you probably need to contact an accredited professional to install it and get a quote first.
Disclaimer: I write about what I am passionate about so I share this information to the best of my knowledge. Check out any manufacturer or retailer if you look for something specific.
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