Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 by Erin Kavanagh
Let’s set the scene: you’ve put in the hard yards at work and are looking forward to crashing on the couch watching your favourite show.
No worries! Before you left the office, you kicked the heating into gear so the lounge room is toasty for your arrival. As you walk in the door the lights come on, and you grab your iPad and with the touch of a button, your TV show is on the screen, ready to go. In a matter of minutes, you’re rugged up on the couch with a cup of tea and in comfort heaven. You think you’re dreaming right? Well it can all become a reality with the right technology!
Last month, we took a look at being energy smart around the home, but this time we thought we’d show you the basics behind how you can build your very own smart home.
Home automation means that you can control just about anything (yes, anything) from anywhere by using your smartphone or tablet as a long-distance remote control. From your lighting, home entertainment, security systems, home heating and cooling, you can be in control whether you’re at home, at work, or even overseas!
It’s not uncommon for a modern home to have multiple devices in the same room – for example, your typical lounge may have a TV, set top box, DVD player and a surround sound system. So why not bring them all together and control them all from one place? The first step is finding a smart home automation system. Push Controls is popular on the Australian market because it allows you to streamline your devices and control everything from a single app.
Flick the switch
Turning a light switch off is pretty easy, right? Well, it can be even easier. Now you can turn the lights off in your bedroom from the lounge room without even getting off the couch.
For those who are obsessed with their home lighting; check out Philips Hue. The Hue range of Smart LED bulbs allows you to connect your lighting to your smart device using the Smart wireless hub: The Bridge and manage them from the Hue App, which is available on both Apple and Android devices. For a little ambiance, you may want to give these light strips a go! You can see them in action here.
Create a HomeKit
If you’re an iPad or iPhone user, Apple’s HomeKit technology may be the solution for you. This technology allows you to control connected devices with your iPhone or iPad, or even the sound of your voice!
The options are endless and they’re all pretty cool! You can set up automated locks, set your lights to turn on with your alarm for the ultimate wake up call, and let your house sense when you are near with the proximity alert.
For the Android users out there, check out Belkin’s WeMo Home Automation range (FYI – this works with Apple, too).
The WeMo Maker lets you create customised automation rules to fit your lifestyle, whether it’s to open the pet door at sunrise or dim the lights ready for bed. Using the app, you can control your connected devices from your smartphone or tablet or you can set up motion sensors with the WeMo Switch and Motion. For added peace of mind, consider a NetCam HD Wi-Fi Camera so you can check in on your home anytime of the day or night.
When setting up your smart home, you may wish to consider the following:
1. Check what will work with your appliances
Keep in mind that it’s the smart home controller that should do all the work, which means that you don’t necessarily have to have ‘smart’ appliances in your home as well. That said, it’s generally easier to have devices from the same brand as they’ll be more likely to play nicely together on the same home automation system. For example, the Apple HomeKit will require appliances that are HomeKit compatible.
2.Make a plan
Before you get started on making your home smart, work out what you want to automate. You can start with just the lighting and temperature controls or you can go all-out and include your security systems and home entertainment areas as well.
If you live in an apartment or split-dwelling, be sure to check the Strata rules and to see how they could impact your smart home’s installation and submit any necessary applications.
3. If in doubt, call in the pros
When it comes to the world of home automation, it’s a good idea to speak to the professionals, especially if you’re going the whole hog and decking out your entire home. They can even help you get super serious and integrate irrigation, solar energy and pool/spa pumps.
While many home automation devices are wireless and can just be plugged in to the wall outlet, some systems may be a bit more complex. If you’re going to do the plan yourself and you need wiring to be installed, it’s important to remember to leave it to the pros. In Aus, a licensed electrician must complete the installation and in all honesty it’s just safer that way!
4.Keeping with the times
With tech constantly changing, there may be a few people out there who’ll want to upgrade regularly. If you’re sticking with the same brands each time you update, you may not have any issues but it’s still a good idea to speak to your installer about what changes can stop your system from working seamlessly. If an update is required, they’ll be your go-to for a fix, so be sure to keep yourself in their good books!
Is your home ‘smart’? Tell us about your home automation setup in the comments!