Home automation can be a fantastic proposition however it is often thought of as very costly. There are ways that, through the wonders of modern technology you can automate your home with out a large price tag and without a a re-wire. These small changes are secure, can save you move and easy to understand - you don't need to know all the ins-and-outs of smart home tech to be able to start creating a home that caters to your lifestyle.
Hue lights to wake you up
Morning isn't always everyone's favourite time and so getting up can be a massive hassle. Especially when we get in to the winter where it can be pitch black when we wake up. The hue lights are fantastic at creating a comfortable way to wake up, they can slowly engage around your room according to your alarm. Providing a much more natural way to end your sleep, no more screeching alarm calls - wake up with sunshine (well, sort of!)
We-mo switch (alternative to hue lights)
The we-mo switches are another way to automate individual switches, like the grown up version of the timed lights our parents had these can be set to be on all kinds of timers. With IFTTT you could even arrange that the lights at home turn on when you walk through the front door. This can be good if you suffer from anxiety or if you work long hours and want that instant homely feeling.
Mydlink™ Home Smart Plug (alternative to hue lights)
Similar to we-mo switches these can be programmed in a variety of ways with your lights. IFTTT again provide a variety of different ways these can work with the Hue lights. Automate your home in a way that works for you, you don't have to jump in right at the deep end.
These are one of the prettiest and newest products on the market. They are a retro-fit product and it is best to get them installed by an electrician however they get an honorary mention due to their easy to install nature and versatility. You can turn individual switches and relays on from around the world (if you so wish!), the automation possibilities are endless.
Nest smoke alarms
We have just put these in a clients home in Knightsbridge, they won out over traditional smoke alarms for a number of reasons. Our client isn't in the UK all the time and the last thing they need is to have a smoke alarm going off for hours at a time driving their neighbours crazy. This way they can check in and turn the smoke alarms off from anywhere in the world. They also use light as well as sound to alert people of fire, this is great with ageing relatives or disabled family members.
Bonuses: light up option for late at night. Carbon monoxide can not only be a killer but can also produce some of the strangest physiological side effects. (If you want to hear more about what some of those could be and are a fun of podcasts you can hear more or the Lore podcast)
(Note: these can be wired or battery powered)
Hue lights and nest smoke alarm - magic
If you go for both the hue lights and a nest smoke alarm you can program the lighting to turn red when carbon monoxide is detected. Keeping you and your family safe at all times and without any of the screeching! This can also be a great addition if you have deaf or hearing impaired family members!
Nest have even started doing camera's. Branching out from their thermostats and smoke alarms to keeping people safe from intruders. Nest cam isn't the prettiest of the home security devices but it does integrate nicely with their other products. The motion activated nature means that it works for multiple different uses. You can see all the recipes you can make of IFTTT here. D-link also has a similar product that senses motion but doesn't record video (you can check that out here)
Another way of watching who comes and goes from your home, this nifty little product can even get to know who everyone is with facial recognition. Letting you know when mum has popped by or if the dog walker has come. Keeping you up to date with the day to day running of your home in a non-invasive way. The netatmo is also a sleek looking product. One of our fave automation pieces was being able to receive and email screenshot if the Netatmo doesn't recognise someone who has entered your home!
Modern technology can help you keep your family safe and the planet a little greener by only using the kinds of lights you need at the times you want. Smarter energy use = a better planet for our future.
This is essentially a home security device, it can be used as a baby monitor (or pet monitor) but the great thing about it is that is also can detect Air Quality and Volatile Organic Compounds. Little extras that make all the difference if you're trying to live a greener lifestyle. You can see other ways to automate your home with Withings here
The samsung washer isn't just a green product, it has a lot of the other smart technology we are becoming very comfortable with. It can turn itself on when you leave the house and save your washer usage history by appending every new cycle so that you have a much clearer view of how much water your family is using.
Just a little fun extra
Turn your old smartphone into a video monitoring camera and have if start recording when you leave home. Reusing old items it a great way to go green!
If you would rather have someone else do the installation for you don't worry you are not alone 66% of home owners (according to the Digital Homes Report) would prefer to have a professional install these kinds of technology. If you are looking for a professional for home automation you should definitely start by contacting CEDIA, they are the industry standard for smart homes and can point you in the right direction.