Smart Home Buying Guide

This buying guide explains how a smart home works and how to create a smart home.

9 things you need to know

  1. What does the Internet of Things mean?
  2. The Internet of Things (IoT) is about building Internet capability into things like home appliances and cars. That way, we can connect things to each other so everything works together, which in turn makes our lives easier.

  3. How the Internet of Things works?
  4. For the Internet of Things to work in your home you need three things:

    • IoT device(s) – home appliances and/or devices with built-in Internet capability
    • A control device – to remotely control IoT devices and connect to app information (e.g. a smartphone, tablet, PC, smart watch, smart TV, or smart remote)
    • Home Internet – Wi-Fi to connect IoT devices to each other and to the control device

  5. What is smart home technology?
  6. Technology built into home appliances and devices so they can connect to the Internet. Smart home appliances and smart devices connect to the Internet via your home Wi-Fi network. Then you can use your smartphone, tablet or laptop to control them when you’re at home, out and about, and even on holidays.

  7. What is home automation?
  8. Automating things in your home with smart technology to simplify everyday tasks. Smart home automation allows you to control your smart home gadgets from anywhere with the touch of a button using your smartphone, tablet or laptop. That’s smart home control.

  9. Why a smart home is important?
  10. Why have a smart home?

    Having a smart house can save time and make life easier because you can:

    • Automate everyday tasks instead of doing everything manually
    • Control your smart appliances and smart devices from anywhere

  11. What can a smart home do?
  12. With the right smart home products, your intelligent home can:

    • Make your morning coffee for you automatically
    • Play what you say you want to watch or listen to
    • Open your fridge door when your hands are full
    • Show you live fridge-cam footage on your phone
    • Do the vacuuming for you
    • Turn on the outside lights when your Uber pulls up
    • Automate heating and cooling for comfort and energy efficiency
    • Stream security camera footage to your phone, tablet or computer
    • Connect your doorbell camera and phone to watch and talk from anywhere
    • Tell you the weather, news and recipes, and remind you what’s on for the day
    • Start the washer or dryer when you’re out so it finishes when you get home
    • Identify washing machine issues via your phone app and explain how to fix them

  13. How home automation works?
  14. Smart home appliances and devices are connected to your home Wi-Fi, then you can use your phone or tablet to automate what happens in your home. For example, you can set your smart home security camera up to automatically start recording when you leave the house. You can also automate your heating and cooling to start and stop at specific times during the day and at night for energy efficiency, bill savings and comfort.

  15. How to automate your home?
  16. If you want to automate your home, think about which things you currently do manually that you want to happen automatically.

    Then get the smart products you need to automate those aspects of your home—lights, security, sprinklers, TV, speakers, washing machine, dryer, heating and cooling.

    Think about whether you’re happy to use different apps to control different things, or if you want to stick to the same brand so you can use one app as a smart home hub.

    Ensure your Wi-Fi system can cope with multiple smart devices being connected to it, and consider improving your Wi-Fi with mesh technology. It amplifies the signal so you get good Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home.

    Once you’ve connected your new smart devices to your home Wi-Fi network, you can start using your phone, tablet, laptop and voice commands (if you have a smart home with Google Home) to control your smart home technology, whether you’re at home or out and about.

    You can adjust the settings to automate things as much as you want, and you can even create everyday routines. For example, a ‘bedtime’ routine might automatically switch off all your entertainment devices to save power, and turn off all the lights except the hallway light for night time trips to the bathroom.

  17. How to create a smart home?
  18. Companies specialising in home automation systems can install all the elements of a smart home for you—smart lights, a smart home entertainment system, smart windows and blinds, smart heating and cooling, smart security, smart sprinklers, a keyless front door and more—with a central hub so you can control everything with the touch of a button.

    You can also create a smart home without a hub yourself. Not sure how to start a smart home? It’s as simple as introducing one or more smart appliances and smart devices into your home. Then you can use your smartphone or tablet to control them.

    You’ll need a high-quality Wi-Fi router so you can:

    • Connect everything to the Internet without annoying buffering, lags and drop outs
    • Connect smart home appliances and devices to your control device (phone or tablet)
    • Connect and control your smart home using apps and devices such as:
      • Product-specific apps – apps that are recommended in the product information
      • Google Home – so you can control your smart home with voice commands
      • IFTTT (IF This Then That) – gets apps and devices talking to each other for free
      • Samsung SmartThings – wirelessly connects smart devices so they work together

    Need to set up or improve your home Wi-Fi?

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