Close

Ready to upgrade to a smart home?

January 31, 2020

Way back in 2018, LG Electronics US marketing vice-president David VanderWaal told the crowd assembled at CES, the world was at a tipping point for the smart home and, “more importantly, for the smart connected lifestyle”.

Two years later, his words ring true. Courtesy of smart speakers and an increasing array of smart products, the home is now more connected than ever before as adoption of connected devices and appliances continues to rise.

So, if you’re among the many who are looking to upgrade to a smart home, here’s a quick insight on adopting smart tech without breaking the bank.

A smart home definition

Ready to upgrade to a smart home?

A smart home is a property that is automated to adapt to its natural environment. It sees appliances and fixtures or fittings (like blinds, lighting and security systems) connect with each other on a network to operate automatically or on demand.

In addition, many of these items have sensors which enable them to respond to their surroundings. This allows things like lights to turn on when it gets dark or when a person enters a room.

Ultimately, a fully streamlined smart home will be controlled by one central hub and/or app. Meanwhile voice assistants (Google Assistant, Siri, Bixby etc) and smart speakers (Amazon Echo, Google Home etc) allow the hub and smart home to be controlled by voice command.

Traditionally smart homes were costly to install due to the networking infrastructure and wiring required, but that’s all changing as smart technology improves and becomes more wireless and mobile.

The rise of the smart home

Smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home have been among the main drivers of smart home adoption.

In 2018, 28 per cent of US households owned a smart speaker, according to Statista. This year that’s expected to rise to 40 per cent and by 2025 it will increase to 75 per cent.

Countries like Australia are also seeing increasing take-up of these devices. At the end of 2018, 5.7 million Australians owned smart speakers, accounting for 29.3 per cent of the adult population, according to Voicebot.ai, and adoption is increasing.

Meanwhile, voice assistants like Google Assistant, Siri and Alexa are also contributing to the smart home rise. These assistants, which are available in smart speakers, smart phones, tablets and computers allow people to control their smart homes and appliances by voice command and they are improving at a rapid rate.

In fact, at CES this year, Google unveiled major smart home improvements for Google Assistant including easier smart home set-up features, scheduled actions, and compatibility with an extensive suite of additional smart home products.

Breaking it down

Ready to upgrade to a smart home? Google Assistant

Smart home technology is generally broken into a series of areas:

Lifestyle and ambience – Including music, TV control and lighting

Security – Such as automated locking, security cameras, door intercoms, and alarms

Environment and temperature – Air-conditioning, heating, motorized blinds, automated ventilation, skylights and windows
So where do you start?

Where to begin

If you’re looking to embrace a smart home, education is critical. There are a wealth of products out there all claiming to be smart, but some don’t play ‘nicely’ with others.

But to get you started, here’s a few tips…

Know your network

Smart home products communicate through a series of different languages (or networks). These include mesh networks like Z-Wave and Zigbee, through general Wi-Fi and also Bluetooth.

If you’re looking for a full smart home set-up, Z-Wave is the technology you’re probably looking for.

It’s based on a mesh network that gets stronger when more appliances are added, and communication between devices occurs independently of the internet. It’s also considered more secure than the open-source mesh network that is Zigbee.

The hub

The best smart homes rely on one single app to control them, and chances are you’re also going to want to add voice activation so you can control your home with a simple voice command.

Controlling your home generally starts with a hub that connects all your devices together in one easy to use platform. Some smart home hubs are like routers, while others are simple apps like Apple HomeKit.

Google Home is considered a hub, along with Amazon Echo and its accompanying Alexa app. There are also further options like Nest, Samsung SmartThings Hub, Fibaro and many many more.

The key things to look for in a hub include the language it speaks (network), compatibility with devices and how many you can feasibly connect. This allows you to add things over time.

Meanwhile, also consider which voice assistant they work with – some are compatible with Google Assistant, others with Alexa and others with Siri or Bixby.

Compatible appliances and devices

Once you’ve settled on the communications network and hub, you need to opt for appliances, sensors and activators which are compatible with them. This ensures devices on a network talk to each other.

It also allows you to set scenes where a series of actions within a home are triggered. Ie: lights come on music starts and the blinds close all at once.

Then start by focusing on the areas you see as the greatest priority, whether that’s lighting, security, entertainment or temperature control, adding smart products to your home as you see fit.

The final word

The smart home is no longer a futuristic fantasy. It’s coming to a home near you. The key to adopting it affordably is by starting with a solid network and hub, then expanding into the products and features that suit your needs.

Stokehouse St Kilda

April 13, 2022
Renowned as ‘everyone’s favourite beach house’, Stokehouse offers an unparalleled dining experience overlooking iconic St Kilda Beach in Melbourne. With its laid-back charm and a vibrant atmosphere, the venue prides itself on providing an award-winning food and wine experience coupled with a welcoming feel. The stunning restaurant and bar fit-out is designed by Pascale Gomes-McNabb, and features glass lighting installations and floor-to-ceiling windows with uninterrupted views from wherever you sit. Together the experience evokes the quintessential feel of an endless beach holiday. With a space that caters to events, fine dining and casual get togethers, Stokehouse is acclaimed as ‘the Melbourne dining experience’.
Read More

Scape Living at Franklin

March 10, 2022
Located in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, Scape Living at Franklin provides luxe apartment living with a difference. With beautifully designed spaces for long and short-term stays, the complex offers a range of studios and apartments that are ideal for a getaway or as a base to embrace the work/life balance in Australia’s most culturally exciting and livable city. In addition to a choice of apartments, Scape Living at Franklin features a luxury lounge with a fireplace, an exclusive dining room, a collaboration lounge, a film screening room, and fitness facilities.
Read More

Spotlight on POS – Square features

March 3, 2022
For retailers, restaurants, cafes and a whole host of businesses looking to set up a quick and effective Point of Sale, Square is a highly popular software option. Easy to set up and affordable to use, the software offers a suite of features needed to run a business. So, let’s take a quick tour of those features and how they help businesses manage sales, inventory and so much more…
Read More

What’s the go with GaN chargers?

February 28, 2022
When you think about tablets and mobile devices' technological innovation, the last thing that springs to mind is the charger you use to keep your device powered. However, like all areas of the tech world, chargers have come a long way in the past decade, and one of the latest innovations to hit the market is the GaN charger. So, what exactly is a GaN charger and how does it improve on other charging methods?
Read More
1 2 3 18
Need Some Help?
We are open from 8.30AM AM to Midnight PM CT, Monday to Friday. If you have any questions please contact us.
chevron-down
Shopping cart
There are no products in the cart!