Up until recently, Smart Homes were seen as a science-fiction dream. But in recent years, technology has advanced and brought us bigger, better, smarter devices. With helpful assistants like Alexa, we can command our lights to turn on or off, our heating to turn up or down, and our favourite music to play. All without having to move a muscle, letting you spend all evening sitting comfy on the sofa. There are a lot of different components to a Smart Home. Where do you start? With so many different devices to install and link up, things can get a little overwhelming. Don’t worry, here at The Range, we’ve got a few experts and we’ve pulled together a beginner’s guide to help you start living smartly.
Ok, so pretty much everyone knows who Alexa is by now. But in case she's passed you by, Alexa is the wonderful Smart Assistant that comes with the Amazon Echo. She can predict the weather, knows all the top trending news stories, and even tells you jokes. After you’ve got your smart home set up, Alexa acts as the go between for you and your appliances. Once you’ve got an Echo, simply download the app so that you can easily add and review your Smart technology once it's all installed. Then, by simply calling Alexa’s name and giving a command (such as “Alexa, turn on the lights”), you’ll be able to control everything in your home.
Alexa comes in lots of different shapes, sizes, and colours, helping you to personalise your Smart Home to your taste. If you’re trying to find a really futuristic vibe to make the most of this fantastic new technology, then consider the Amazon Echo’s 3rd Generation; tall, slim, and, instantly recognisable. If you want something a little more subtle, then the Amazon Echo Dot is smaller and flatter, perfect for tucking into the corner of shelves or behind a favoured ornament. Whichever version of Alexa you bring into your home, she’ll be the perfect digital housekeeper to help you keep on top of all your smart appliances.
Once you’ve got your digital personal assistant, its time to start fitting out your home with bright and brilliant technology. Smart lights are designed to give you greater control over how bright your home is with minimal effort. Smart Technology innovators like Wofi realise that our moods and health are greatly impacted by how light or dark our home is, so they've designed most of their Smart lights with a brightness control or colour changing functions. Whether you’re looking to flood light into your room during a rainy day, or set a darker, calmer tone just before going to sleep, you can change the brightness of your lights with just a word to Alexa. You don't need to fit out a whole new lighting system either; you can easily install these light bulbs into your pre-existing lighting system. Either pair them with touch-smart light switches, or link them to Alexa through the app, and viola! The next best thing about Smart lights is that they look amazing. Wofi employs long, swooping curves and shining metallics in their designs, perfect for anyone looking to live that science-fiction dream, while other lights follow more traditional designs for those who are more concerned with practicality and comfort.
Smart technology has also helped improve people’s sense of safety and security in their own homes. By combining appliances such as Smart doorbells, cameras, door handles, and alarms, you’ll have greater control over the entrance to your home. Motion detector cameras allow you to see who’s walking up to your door before they’ve even knocked, so you can either prepare to ignore unwanted visitors, or get ready for the postman finally bringing your long awaited parcel. If you want to get really technological, then this doorbell features both a camera and a speaker, allowing you to communicate with visitors to your door (perfect if a package has just arrived while you’ve popped to the shop). And finally, Smart locks bring an even tighter level of security; Smart locks do away with keys, replacing them with a card, fob, or even your own fingerprint, which decrypts the locking code in the Smart lock, and unlocks your door. Much safer than normal locks, you can program each card seperately. This allows you even great control over who comes into your home than a normal key; for example, if you have a cleaner, you can program their card to work only during their agreed working hours, whereas you can program a different card to allow access all the time for yourself and family. You won't ever have to worry about lockpicks with a Smart Lock! Once again, Alexa can keep an eye on all of these devices for you once you link them up through the app, and soon you won't ever need to answer the door again.
Smart Home Technology is only just beginning to kick off, and its only going to get more advance and widespread, so its worth setting a foundation for a super smart house in your own home pretty soon, whether you want to deck out an entirely new security system, or just pop some voice-activated light bulbs under your favourite lampshades.