Smart devices are equipped with internet connectivity, software, and sensors, allowing it to gather and exchange data, and can be controlled remotely. Examples include smartphones, smart home devices, smart watches, etc.
Smart devices are also a key component in a smart home. They allow you to control lights, plug sockets, heating, and appliances. There are different types of connectivity for smart devices. Typically you would want to run them on a single ecosystem so they are available in one place or app. This isn’t a requirement but having lots of different apps to control your smart devices is less than convenient.
Smart Devices Ecosystem
For most people, the key ecosystems that are chosen are either Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple HomeKit. Each of these have their differences but they all operate in mostly the same way. You may be drawn to one in particular or may make a logical decision with what you already have in your home.
Consider the devices you want. For example, there are far fewer devices that are Apple HomeKit compatible compared to those on Amazon Alexa or Google Home. If you happen to have Alexa Dot speakers around your house then it could be a good idea to stick with the Amazon Alexa ecosystem. However, if you use Apple HomePod’s, you may wish to consider the Apple HomeKit ecosystem. Of course for many, you many not have any smart devices so you have a free pick of the bunch. In terms of cost, Apple HomeKit compatible devices tend to be more expensive. Consider this when choosing your ecosystem.
There may be times when you have a smart device that isn’t compatible with your chosen ecosystem. You would then have to use another app to control it but where possible you should limit the number of apps you need to control your home.
I have seen many setups where people have multiple apps. One for their cameras, another for their lights, another for their plugs, another for their heating, etc. The list goes on.
You should also consider that many devices such as the Ikea Tradfri range and Philips HUE that can connect to a hub. These hubs are often compatible with multiple ecosystems.
For more information on these ecosystems and to start looking at compatible smart devices check out the following links.
- Amazon Alexa – https://www.amazon.co.uk/b?ie=UTF8&node=14100223031
- Google Home – https://home.google.com/explore-devices/
- Apple HomeKit – https://www.apple.com/uk/shop/accessories/all/homekit
Smart lighting is a system of lights that can be controlled and automated using a smartphone app or voice assistants. It allows you to turn lights on/off, adjust brightness, set schedules, and create scenes. It also often integrates with smart home ecosystems and can be voice-controlled. Smart lighting control options vary. For some, the bulb is actually connected to WiFi, for others it may be a switch that is connected to WiFi.
Smart plugs are devices that can be plugged into an electrical outlet to enable smart control of any devices plugged into them. They can be controlled through a smartphone app or voice assistant. This allows you to turn devices on/off, set schedules, and monitor energy consumption. They are used to make non-smart devices “smart” and are a simple and affordable way to upgrade your home’s smart technology.
Smart plugs can also be used to control lighting that is “not smart” too.
Smart heating is a system that allows you to control and automate your home heating remotely through a smartphone app or voice assistant. It allows you to adjust temperature, set schedules, and create custom heating patterns. Smart heating systems can also use sensors and algorithms to learn your behaviour. They use this to automatically adjust heating according to your habits. This can result in energy savings and improved comfort.
An example would be the Nest heating system which I will write a review on shortly as I have this in my own home.
Hopefully you already know what a camera is. If not, you probably shouldn’t be looking to setup a smart home. Traditional home security cameras were CCTV (Close Circuit Television) and ran as a standalone until in your home. Modern home camera systems however are smart. They can be connected to your ecosystem and allow live alerting and access no matter where in the world you are.
Other Smart Devices
There are a whole host of other smart devices out there from door locks to smoke alarms to alarm systems and far more. The important thing is that a smart device is any traditional device that is connected to your local network enabling smart functionality.
Are smart devices worth it? Well let’s be honest, it isn’t a necessity. Like a lot of technology, this is more to enhance your life and not required for day to day living. That said, if you get a smart home setup right, you will probably never want to go to living without it.
You can also check out this article we wrote on Apple HomeKit here. https://which-tech.co.uk/what-is-apple-homekit/