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5 Ways To Make Your Home Smarter

WiFi control for electric heating

'Smart Homes' are constantly being talked about nowadays; with the advance of technology, people are beginning to find their homes and the tech within it somewhat outdated. From the start of Smart TVs to the Smartphones, the Smart Technology group has grown rapidly over the last few years and who knows where it's going to go next. Smart Homes technology isn't just gadget-y, it's often energy saving, and makes how we use technology more efficient, convenient and user-friendly. So if you're looking to make some simple tech updates to make your home more up to date, then here's 5 basic home upgrades that can make your home just a little more smarter.

What is a 'Smart Home'?
Smart Home Technology generally relates to anything in the home that can be controlled or accessed wirelessly away from the actual device, whether this is a smartphone, tablet, PC or even just via your voice. It's basically technology made for the future and making everything more convenient and easier to use.

Worcester Wave Thermostat in House

1. Smart Heating

Starting with THE most obvious - yep everyone's opting for these nowadays, smart thermostats connected to your heating. This allows you to manage your heating, even when you're not at home.   What's the point in that, you ask? Well if you finish up early at the office, you can switch the heating on early ready for your arrival home. If you have teens who are likely to increase the temperature on the thermostat whilst you're away, you can see this and control it. If you accidentally leave the heating on, well you can now switch it straight off from your phone. It's seriously great for energy saving and just the convenience of it! Many thermostats also monitor usage and even tell you to the penny, how much energy you're using. The most common Smart Thermostats out there at the moment for central heating systems are the Nest and the Hive, but there are many more on the market and I'm sure even more to come! If you're looking to compare different Smart-Home thermostats, PlumbNation offer an extensive range right here for pretty much all budgets.

What about Electric Heating?
Fear not, Smart Technology has now moved into the electric heating world too. These ecoSave Smart Wifi-Ready Electric Radiators from the Electric Heating Company allow you to control your heating, just as the Nest or the Hive. BUT, electric heating goes one up on these and allows you to control the heating by each individual radiator, which makes it even more efficient and energy saving! If you're planning an evening in front of the TV, you can heat up the living room without heating up the home office, the pantry or the conservatory. It's brilliant and I think, much more logical! You do need the additional gateway kit for the Wi-Fi part to work, but you can read all about that and my review of this radiator on the blog here. Spoiler: It's pretty freaking awesome!

Electric Heating with Wireless Phone Control

2. Smart Security & Alarms

Another pretty popular choice is in the security and alarm group. Back in the day, when Alarm systems were first brought out, they were pretty awesome. But nowadays if you hear an alarm bellowing out at 4am, well you just ignore it don't you? Very few neighbours are dropping by the house checking everything's OK. It makes the old alarm systems totally outdated and completely pointless. But what if you could check the house and alarm yourself, even when miles from home? Genuis! With smart home security systems and the added aid of cameras, you can see what's happening inside (or outside!) the home when you're not there. Each alarm package is slightly different, but with the Yale Smart Home System, you'll get a phone notification of any suspicious activity and if you see an intruder on the camera system, you can raise the appropriate call yourself. And if nothing's going on, well at least there's no alarm going off for weeks on end unbeknown to yourself whilst on the yearly vacation. It's instant and real-time security!

As well as Alarms and CCTV, there are also Smart Fire Alarms as well (like this one), which work in the same kind of way. Smart home security is the best, most efficient kind of security you can have within the home.  

3. Smart Lighting & Smart Sockets

Yep, you can now control your lighting and your sockets from your wirelessly as well, which is pretty bonkers! Left the lights on? You can turn them right off. Late home but want the house to appear occupied? You can turn them back on. So how does this work, you ask? You just need to buy Wi-Fi Ready bulbs and the hub which connects them all to your Wi-Fi network. There's many brands out there now and even IKEA have their own Wi-Fi range!

It's pretty much the same deal for sockets too, and this works via a plug adapter (like these!) which you simply plug the device into. So if you've forgotten to turn the washing machine on in a rush leaving for work, well now you can turn it on straight from your phone. You'll even never have to worry about whether you've left the straighteners on again! Brilliant! 

5 Ways to make your home smarter

4. Smart Home Hubs

This is probably the most popular one for this year; Smart Home Hubs. These are basically a device that can control almost all of the above in one place, through voice alone. There's a few different models and brands out there, but the most common one on the market is probably the Amazon Echo. This is a standalone 'pod' which you can talk to and control different things within the home. If you want to switch on those lights - you can just ask the hub to do it for you. Need to turn the thermostat down? You don't even need to pick up your phone. Smart Home hubs are also great for use a speaker and you can even request a song of your choice, yep you guessed it - just through voice. You can ask the hub to send text messages, make calls, what the weather forecast is, the square route of 64, it can even write you a shopping list. It's pretty much your own personal assistant, controlled entirely wirelessly through voice. Madness!

5. Smart Pets

No, I don't mean Pets can now be controlled from your phone - but there are crazy awesome Pet devices out there that help you to keep a track of your pets even when you're not there. My favourite of the bunch is the Smart Cat-Flap (like this one) that only allows your cat into the home. Just by using your cats microchip ID, it keeps neighbours and stray cats out and whatsmore, the cat flap also alerts you as to when he/she goes out and when they return. If your working late, it takes the worry out of not being there to let them in and if your cat likes to go out at night - well they now can! You can monitor their in/out patterns and see any unusual changes and you can also introduce a curfew to lock the flap wirelessly if you need to keep the cat in/out.

Another fave is also the PetCube which allows you to watch, interact and even feed pets, wirelessly straight from your phone. Say what? The PetCube is basically a camera which keeps a watch over your pets and you can access wirelessly on the phone. But this goes one step further as you can talk to your pet with its built-in speaker and you can release treats from the camera (yep - really!). So even when you're not there for them, well you now can be!

Smart Pet technology

So that's my five favourite Smart Home Tech gadgets out there right now. Who knows what will be next - Smart Ovens perhaps? I'd love to know what Smart Home gadgets you have within your home or any weird ones you think are also worth a mention!

*This Post Is In Collaboration with PlumbNation & The Electric Heating Company. Thank you for supporting the brands who support this blog!

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