Shop for any home appliance these days, and odds are it’ll be a “Smart” device. From Smart TVs to Wi-Fi-enabled fridges and intelligent dishwashers, figuring out which devices will actually make your home smarter can be a daunting task.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of smart home technology that can truly make your life easier. Read on for our top picks.
Let’s start with the obvious: the smart speaker. Popularised by the original Amazon Echo, smart speakers have only grown more versatile over the years and now boast an extensive array of features to streamline your day-to-day routine.
The “smart” aspect of a smart speaker comes from its voice assistant, typically Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri or the Google Assistant. Through simple voice commands, you can ask these assistants to read you the latest news headlines, report the weather, estimate travel times, order you dinner, play music and much, much more. The best part is that Amazon, Apple and Google are updating their voice assistant technologies all the time, adding new features and improving the voice recognition to feel even more natural.
2. Smart lighting
Tired of flipping light switches? Fed up with fretting about whether you accidentally left the kitchen light on in your rush to work? Then you might want to consider installing a smart lighting solution in your home.
With smart lighting, you can turn individual bulbs on or off and control their brightness from a simple app on your phone. If you’d prefer a hands-free option, many smart lighting systems also support voice commands via a compatible smart speaker.
Smart lights are useful even when you’re not at home. Not only can you check the status of your lights to ensure you didn’t accidentally leave them on, but you can also schedule them to turn on and off at certain times to make it look like you’re at home when you’re on holiday.
3. Smart locks
If you’ve ever misplaced your keys and found yourself locked out of your house, you’ll definitely want to look at buying a smart lock. Instead of relying on physical keys, smart locks connect to an app on your phone. This lets you lock and unlock them from anywhere in the world, provided you have access to the Internet. It also lets you check the current status of the lock as well as track the comings and goings of any visitors.
Smart locks are especially handy for larger households as you can manage who does and doesn’t have access from a simple interface within the app. There’s no need to head down to your local locksmith to cut a fresh set of keys – you can add and remove people from your access list immediately and even limit their access to specific times of the day.
4. Smart plugs
You don’t have to replace your existing electronic devices to incorporate them into your smart home ecosystem. By simply hooking them up to a smart plug, you gain the ability to turn them on and off remotely through an app on your phone. You can schedule their activation, too, setting your air conditioner to automatically turn off at night or killing the power to all your lamps while you’re working 9 to 5.
This alone can help you manage your energy usage, but some smart plugs also let you monitor the power consumption of individual appliances. With this information, you can identify which devices are costing you the most and either adjust your usage or replace them with more energy-efficient alternatives.
Women Love Tech would like to thank Matt Sayer for his contribution.
Matt Sayer is a writer for Finder, covering all things technology and telecommunications. Along with reporting on events like CES and Mobile World Congress, he has produced comprehensive guides for popular products like smart speakers and graphics cards. He has a Bachelor of Computer Science from RMIT University and is passionate about helping Aussies leverage technology to better their lives.