A smart home is a modern phrase that describes a home that can be remotely controlled and handled in various ways - from individual appliances to water, electricity and even heating, smart homes provide control like never before.
A smart home stops you from ever needing to run back home to check the tap is off, allows you to check your home through a camera and enables AI voice-assistants to let you know when dinner needs to come out of the oven.
As with most things these days, the internet plays a big role in connecting everything together, with devices connecting to a communication network that gives you control via smartphone apps over WiFi and mobile data connections.
If you’ve landed on this page, then you might be wondering what a smart home can do for you? For a seasoned pro, you might want to look elsewhere but if you’re a smart home novice, then our smart home beginners guide will steer you in the right direction.
Below, we’ll walk you through all the essentials that you’ll need in order to make your home smarter and more efficient for your needs. The what, the why and the how, as well as pointing you in the direction of additional content that will help once you’re past the basics.
How does a smart home benefit me?
For starters, a smart home doesn't mean that you need to have completely new crazy gadgets or robots at your every beck and call. You can if you want, but it’s not necessary.
The starting approach for most smart homes is simply a process of upgrading existing appliances and gadgets, perhaps moving from manual inputs to a more automated process. Smart light bulbs (which allow for scheduling and customisation of light levels), smart thermostats (remote control of central heating) and smart security systems (alarms and CCTV footage direct to the device of your choice) are simple upgrades to make your home ‘smarter’.
Appliances like smart fridges have even got to the point now where they can automatically make you aware of food that’s close to its expiry date and send you a grocery list of food that’s running low and needs to be bought.
Indoor climate controls can automatically adjust your indoor temperature, gently increasing it if it’s a particularly cold day or even reducing it if it detects no one is in the property.
Modern technology makes living more comfortable. If you’re heading home after a cold December afternoon, you can use your smartphone to tell your smart home to turn the heating on for a certain time, allowing you to step out of the cold and into the warmth of your cosy smart home, without needing to waste money heating the space when you’re not there.
Smart homes are all about convenience and efficiency, just imagine never having that dreaded feeling of forgetting a pint of milk again or having to wait half an hour for your heating to warm up after walking the dog? While it seems like small gains at first, a fully functioning smart home can help you and your family to be more efficient with life and have more time for the things you love doing - saving you that second trip to the shops.
Where should you start with a smart home?
Rome wasn’t built in a day and unless you have access to an immense source of wealth your smart home won’t be either. We recommend that you take it step-by-step by exchanging solutions in your home that you know will optimise your daily life.
The answer will ultimately depend on three things:
- Your time
- Your budget
- Your enthusiasm
Purchasing a single connected home gadget will get you started, but if you want to enjoy the delights of a voice-controlled smart home, then you’ll need to choose an ecosystem.
For those who want to take the delights of a smart home beyond just individual manufacturers and their apps and instead have one inter-connected home that works seamlessly through one system, then you’ll have to take the plunge on one of the three big smart home ecosystems:
- Amazon Alexa
- Google Assistant
- Apple HomeKit
But which one is best for you? Each has their quirks and benefits, but all three can make controlling your home a breeze, it just depends on which one speaks to you the most. Talking of which, each system has its own AI which will assist you with tasks.
Amazon’s devices are powered by Alexa, Google’s series of products is under the Nest/Home umbrella and its assistant is originally named “Assistant”, while Apple’s HomeKit is powered through Siri, which if you have an Apple iPhone or iPad you’ll be well aware of already.
VELUX ACTIVE with NETATMO - The smart home sunlight solution
VELUX has also launched its Smart Home solution that works with all Vario by VELUX opening rooflights and VELUX INTEGRA®: VELUX ACTIVE products.
VELUX ACTIVE uses the latest in smart sensor technology and helps to keep your home healthy. Using a plug-and-play system that is capable of monitoring the temperature, humidity and CO2 concentration inside your home, it also improves indoor living conditions like air quality, ventilation, sun screening and automates numerous tasks.
For those looking for a simple way to upgrade to a smart home, VELUX ACTIVE is perfect as the installation is child’s play. It’s simply a case of taking the products out of the box, plugging it in, pairing it up with your smart device and then away you go.
The VELUX ACTIVE has features that can make a real difference in your home. For example, our heat protection algorithm can close a shutter or blind before a room gets too hot, or even be aware of incoming weather and adjust accordingly, stopping the room from overheating. Also, it can adjust the angle a window needs to be open and adjust to ensure your indoor environment is at an optimum comfort level.
Are you ready to go onboard with the smart home journey? You don’t have to go all in to begin with, but by starting to upgrade small appliances that will make a real difference you’ll begin to understand the joys of a smart home and before long, you’ll know exactly what you need to make a smarter home for you and your family.
Why not get in touch? Talk to us about how VELUX ACTIVE and connecting VELUX INTEGRA® series of products can help you to build a smart home that you’ll love.