Get smart in your home
From automated blinds to a coffee machine that’s set to make your favourite cup as soon as you wake up, the smart home of the future is here — and it's not just for the younger crowd, promise.
A shower that turns on as you open the bathroom door — and uses voice commands to reach just the right temperature. A coffee machine that wakes up when you do — and pours your preferred cup. Lights that are activated as you enter and leave rooms. Heating that adjusts to your body’s needs, without you having to touch a button. A TV that tracks your viewing patterns and suggests fresh content for you based on what you like. Hang in there, there's more... A fridge that monitors how much milk you have, ordering more for you so you never run out. A device that detects water leaks, from your washing machine or in your bathroom, so you can fix the problem before it’s too late.
It sounds like something from The Jetsons, but actually this is the reality of the smart, automated home — a place where your home communicates with you, saving you time, money and effort. The connected home is your own personalised, curated sanctuary.
While all this might seem overwhelming, smart home automation is really just about using technology to help your home better suit your needs. It could be as simple as a voice command to add bread to your shopping list or cooking by following auditory instructions; using gestures to turn devices on and off; or installing motion sensors to alert loved ones if you become ill. In short, your home can be as high-tech or as lowtech as you like — and it's easy to dabble in these devices, or go all out with full-blown automation. The future is in your hands.
Where to start
A good place to begin is a smart speaker or ‘home hub’. These devices will allow you to create shopping lists, keep track of your diary (and anyone else in the family who is connected), listen to the news, ask about the weather, make phone calls — some even do the shopping for you by connecting to an online delivery service. A home hub can sync your devices, connect to security cameras, heating and even lighting.
Think about what you currently own. Are you an Android user (do you use a Google or Samsung phone) or an iPhone? Make sure everything is compatible with each other. If you already have a smart device, such as Telstra Home Hub or Google Home, you may want to buy more products in these ranges, so they can 'speak' to each other.
What do you need most?
Beyond the speaker or home hub, think about your habits when it comes to using other smart devices. How often are you at home? If you like your creature comforts, invest in interiors: smart lighting, heating and entertainment. And if you're a frequent traveller, security may be your biggest concern.
Think about the way you live. Do you like to spend hours cooking up a storm in your kitchen? A smart fridge might be for you (see right). If you’re a gardener, there are some smart gardening systems available, with more on the way.
Do an audit of the devices you use most often; you might invest in smart versions of these to start. And if you’re safety conscious and the sort of person who's always wondering if you left the iron on, you can add a smart plug to your devices to turn them off remotely or think about products such as the Telstra Laundry Leak Detector.