In this age of technological advancements, it’s easy to get swept up in buzzwords and phrases. There are so many different gadgets, services, softwares and developments being announced on a seemingly-daily basis that it’s near impossible to keep up with everything that’s going on. However, there are some ideas that have risen to the surface of this untenable sea of “world-changing” technologies.
Whilst many have heard the term “Smart Home” before, you would be forgiven for not knowing exactly what that entails. In short, a smart home is one in which most, if not all, electronically-powered services/utilities can be controlled remotely. This can be achieved using a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets and computers, and has truly taken homeowners by storm. Today, we’re going to take a look at a few of the best ways to bring your humble abode into the 21st century!
The Preparation Stage
Before deciding to purchase every piece of smart home tech available, it’s a good idea to first look at other things you can update. Upgrades such as digital tv antennas and wireless home security systems have shown a wide array of benefits over their traditional, analog counterparts. Plus, this will also allow you a more seamless transition into smart living, as many of these devices can be set up for remote access.
If you are the proud owner of a smartphone, you’re likely already aware of how handy Siri can be for easily accessing information. However, the reach of voice-enabled assistants goes far beyond the confines of your mobile devices. Services like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant allow you to control everything from your lighting to your heating with only your voice.
So, how do you work out which one to go with? While we don’t necessarily have time to go through all of the boons and blights of each one, there are a couple of important factors to consider for each:
The most straightforward to set up, Amazon’s Echo series of products is a fantastic starting point for anyone that doesn’t want any hassle. Adding to this, they are exceedingly user-friendly and inexpensive, making them a good idea for those that simply want to dabble with the idea of a voice-activated home assistant.
With that said, they do have their downsides. Owners have often complained of issues with the associated smartphone app, problems with Alexa’s responses, and iffy policies when it comes to third-party products. Also, the need to speak directly into the speaker is a little annoying.
Inexpensive and highly adaptive to both iOS and Android devices, the Google Assistant is a fantastic choice, especially for those that prefer to buy from companies they understand and trust. As is to be expected, the Assistant is one of the “smarter” devices on the market, given that it has access to Google’s vast wealth of information.
However, saying “OK Google” every time you want to do something can get old reeeeeeally quickly. Plus, with relatively poor audio quality and less support from smart home products than some of its competitors, there are definitely issues.
While there are other options on the market, these are the two primary voice-assistant options. Although we may have pointed out some quite annoying flaws, both of these systems are excellent additions to your home.
These are the building blocks of bringing your home into the modern age. While there are far more considerations to make, hopefully, we’ve given you a solid foundation for making purchasing decisions. Good luck!