10 of the best... smart home technology devices
Smart home technology is something I've had a growing interest in over the past couple of years. I love reviewing home appliances and other tech products here on Design Hunter and have covered everything from a fridge whose contents you can view via your smartphone (so you can check if you've run out of milk while you're at the supermarket) to a washing machine that can be remotely controlled via your smartphone.
Building upon their previous study of Smart Home trends Barclays recently commissioned YouGov to undertake research to identify attitudes to Smart Home technology across the UK, and the results are quite interesting.
While more and more of us now have smart technology within our own homes it seems there's a downside too. People are becoming increasingly concerned about security and the potential risk of cyber crime.
Despite these concerns however, the internet of things is definitely here to stay. As new devices come onto the market more and more of them can be connected up to our home networks and operated via our smartphones.
So for anyone about to set up a new home and wondering what to invest in, which smart home technologies are here to stay and which will prove most useful over their lifetime?
Here are ten of the best.
1. Smart Heating
Devices like Hive and Nest offer smart home temperature control via a thermostat you can control with your smartphone, allowing you to set a schedule so you always come home to a warm house.
2. Home Voice Control
Amazon Echo and Google Home allow you to ask questions and get real time answers via a hands free voice activated system. They can be used to obtain weather and traffic information, set alarms or even create to-do lists. You can also use them to play and control music from your favourite streaming service via an integrated speaker.
3. Smart Home Entertainment
Many of us now have smart TVs within our homes, but some of the more interesting new home entertainment products focus on creating mood and ambience and projecting pictures into our homes as well as streaming content. The Samsung Serif TV has a curtain mode that applies a filter over the content to create an abstract impression of what's going on behind which can be used to create a minimalist mood in your living room, and the Sony Portable Ultra Short Throw Projector, which can be controlled via your smartphone, allows you to cast content onto any surface in your home.
4. Intelligent Lighting
With the Phillips Hue range you can control lighting from anywhere to create the desired ambience for your home. The system allows you to adjust the brightness, change colour and set timers.
5. Home Monitoring & Security
Home monitoring systems like Samsung's Smart Things allow you to remotely check what's going on in your home from anywhere via your smartphone, allowing you to reassure yourself that everything's OK. By connecting the system up to sensors, lights, locks and cameras you can monitor when people arrive and leave, see what your pets are up to or check whether the windows or doors have been left open.
6. Smart Doorbells
Ding is a clever little doorbell, chime and app combo that turns your phone into an intercom, so that you don't miss answering the door. It's made up of three key elements - a doorbell button, a chime that sits within your home and a smartphone app. When someone presses the doorbell the chime dings and also places a voice call through the Ding smartphone app, allowing you to talk to the person at the door anywhere.
7. Smart Washing Machines
We've been impressed by our Samsung Ecobubble washing machine. It boasts a range of state of the art features, including sensing technology that measures the size of the washing load (and then calculates and dispenses the optimum amount of detergent accordingly) and a memory that learns your washing habits and remembers your favourite programmes.
8. Digital Showers
Digital showers introduce smart home technology into the bathroom, allowing you to personalise your shower experience and mix the water to your preferred temperature. You can also control the flow of water, allowing you to save money if you have a meter installed.
9. Robot Vacuum Cleaners
Another product that's definitely made life a lot easier for us is our robot vacuum cleaner. I was sceptical about the idea at first - until I tried one! The Samsung Powerbot has an onboard digital camera and a range of smart sensors that enable it to scan and build up a map of your home, including furniture, walls and stairs. It then uses this mapping system to follow the most efficient route around the room, avoiding obstacles and cleaning as it goes.
10. Sleep & Well-being Devices
Samsung Sleepsense is a device designed to help you understand your sleep patterns and learn how to improve the quality of your sleep. In essence it's a flat disc with a contactless sensor that you slip under your mattress. It senses your body movement, respiratory rate and heart rate to map the quantity and quality of your sleep. In the morning you receive a report through the Sleepsense app on your smartphone, along with personalised tips and recommendations from a sleep expert.
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You can find out more about the nation's changing attitudes to smart home technology in Barclays Mortgages Smart Home Survey 2017, which also includes a list of simple precautions you can take to protect your devices from hackers and keep your home safe.
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Barclays.