Whether you have a large open-plan modern house or a quaint period property, there’s no denying the charm of home automation. Like something out of a science fiction novel, it’s now well within the realms of possibility to be able to simply ask your house to ‘play some music’, ‘turn off the kitchen lights’ or even ‘close the garage door’ and it will obey.
Achieving this level of space age home automation doesn’t have to be a difficult task. We’ve rounded up a list of 5 of the world’s best home automation devices that not only bring amazing automation to your home, but are easy to install and reliable.
The Amazon Echo is arguably the best ‘first step’ into the world of home automation. Think of it as the ‘hub’ to which all of your other automation devices can connect to. You don’t NEED a smart hub to control the other automation devices around your home, but a centralised point of control is always helpful.
The Amazon Echo comes with your own virtual assistant called Alexa, who will answer any questions you ask of her and supply information whenever you ask for it. Alexa can play music from your Amazon music or spotify playlists, call you an Uber, some fast food or update your calendar, simply with voice interaction.
The Echo goes one step further with the integration of other automated systems. Providing they are installed in your home, the echo can turn off the lights in certain parts of the house, turn on the heating, put your favourite film on the television or lock the front door.
The Amazon Echo is a perfect choice for those of us that are already using other amazon services like Prime, Video, Music, Audible etc. The Echo plays nice with other ecosystems like Google and Apple, although similar devices are available from both Google and Apple.
The Nest Thermostat takes one of the most frustrating parts of living and makes it simple. Heating your home unnecessarily can be expensive and uncomfortable. The Nest, gives you the power to control your home’s heating via a simple smartphone app or via your smart hub.
The Nest Thermostat simply requires you to use it like a normal thermostat for a week, during that time it learns your patterns and preferences and begins to set out the perfect heating schedule for you –Heating the house to your preferred temperature before you get up for breakfast.
The Nest knows when you’re not home and can automatically drop the temperature to save energy. Is someone going to be home? You can use the Nest app to increase the temperature for when they arrive. Going on holiday? The Nest thermostat will automatically pause your hot-water schedule to save unnecessary water heating costs.
A perfect little quality of life upgrade for your home is automated lighting. You don’t need to get out of bed to turn off the lights that you’ve forgotten, you don’t need to worry about leaving lights on at work or whilst you’re on holiday, the Phillips Hue system can do it all for you.
Phillips Hue is a smart bulb system that can be automated to any of your needs, they can tie in to your Amazon Echo smart hub and even the Nest Thermostat, or simply control them using their own app.
Set the colour, different lighting modes, schedules and even synchronise them to music or randomise them for holiday security.
The Ring Video Doorbell does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s a doorbell that does video. Whilst that might not sound too interesting, it comes with some huge features that make it the perfect home addition for both security and luxury.
The Ring doorbell can alert your smartphone or computer when the doorbell button is pressed or when the integrated sensors are set off. This allows you to see, in high definition video or infrared night-vision, who is at your door and with the 2 way communication feature and noise cancellation, you can talk to your visitors.
You don’t need to be home to enjoy these features either, the device will alert you if someone’s at your door even when you’re at work or on holiday. You can now see who has called for you whilst away and even have a conversation.
It even comes with a lifetime protection in case it ever gets stolen.
The fridge that revolutionises the kitchen! This chilling monolith can tell you what’s inside, where ever you are. You could be in a different country and find out whether the milk is going to be in-date when you return. You can even order groceries directly from its interface, listen to your favourite music, plan your calendar and watch your favourite shows.
The fridge has your usual water and ice dispenser on the front, and extra storage trays for different temperature or humidity dependent items and comes with an app where you can view the fridge’s content, set reminders based on expiration dates, build a shopping list and share photos!
If you’re out doing your weekly grocery shop and can’t remember if you’ve got red peppers or green in the fridge, check the app and see!