The future is here and now: with a slew of innovations over the past years, the latest smart home technology provides homeowners with endless ways to kit out properties with cool home tech gadgets.
From WiFi light bulbs to security cameras, here are some smart home design ideas that will make your life infinitely easier - without breaking the bank.
Light up your house with a remote controlled light bulb
Light bulbs have come a long way since the conventional fluorescent, halogen, and incandescent bulbs. The latest range of smart lights can be connected and controlled by your iPhone or Android device. These fancy bulbs can do things like change colours and adjust hues for accent lighting during movies. Some even have bluetooth speakers, motion sensors, and voice control functions.
While there are a myriad of options out there, Phillips and Sengled are the most accessible on the Aussie market. The cheapest smart bulbs are either Phillips’ Hue White range (from $38.90AUD per bulb), or Sengled’s Smart Light Element Plus range (from $39.99AUD per bulb).
Both can be turned on/off, brightened or dimmed using a bluetooth light bulb app. Both are also compatible with smart home assistants like Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, or Amazon Alexa.
Utilise home technology for increased security
Gone are the days of security cameras with video tape footage. One of the biggest smart home technology developments in recent years is the security camera. Today, smart security cameras connect to WiFi, record in HD, have thermal sensors, encrypted live streaming functions, and two-way talk functions to communicate with other cameras and devices in your home.
When it comes to wiring up your home, smart security cameras can quickly add up in terms of costs - especially if you’re looking to buy a camera for every main room. Smart cameras with basic HD recording and remote viewing, such as D-Link’s range, come in under $200, and brands like Swann have camera in packs of 4 to install in multiple rooms around the house.
Invest in smart appliances for cheap home automation
Smart appliances are a quick way to upgrade the technology in your house: think slow cookers that can be controlled remotely using your phone, or an automated coffee machine that starts preparing your coffee ready 5 minutes before your alarm wakes you up.
There are also plenty of smart scales out there, from scales that can track portion sizes for the health conscious, to scales for budding chefs that can measure ingredients and track them against a recipe.
Tie all your home technology together
Whether you’re decking out your home with smart appliances, or creating some ambience with mood lighting, smart speakers are a great tool for home technology integration. The big players on the market right now are Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Apple HomePod, all of which integrate with either Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri.
Smart speakers integrate your phone and home tech together – essentially, it’s the one device to rule them all. Beyond playing music, your smart speaker works with your home assistant to play specific songs, set alarms for you, monitor your security systems, and control your smart appliances or lights.
Choosing which smart speaker to go with will largely depend on what type of devices you have and how many functions you want, as well as your budget. If you have an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, Apple’s HomePod will be better; if your devices are mainly Android, then Google Home will be your best pick; and if you’re platform neutral, then Amazon Echo with Alexa is a great choice.
Smart home kits are also very affordable: Amazon Echo Dot (the entry level speaker) retails around $40AUD, while Google Home and Amazon Echo retail around $150AUD. Apple HomePod is the most expensive, coming in at $499AUD per unit.
If you’re looking to make your home smarter with cool home tech, there are plenty of affordable ways to integrate smart technology into your daily life.