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Electronics & Home Entertainment

Step-by-step guide: Turning your home into a smart home

A blue bedroom with mood lighting.

Homeowners everywhere are opting for home automation and ‘smart’ options when it comes to their gadgets. Why? It’s convenient, of course, and also fun! Who wouldn’t want to control things like their morning coffee, lights, or home security with ease? If you would like to turn your home into a smart home, read on – below we outline the technology available and the steps involved in setting it up.

Your digital home assistant

A smart speaker tends to be the smart home entry point for most and with good reason. Smart speakers are in essence digital home voice assistants. The two best-known ones are the Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Their popularity means that they’re compatible with a lot of existing tech and apps, which may make it easier for smart home newcomers to navigate. A digital home assistant will allow you to control connected smart devices with your voice, set reminders for your week, set timers whilst you’re cooking, listen to the weather or the latest news headlines and much more. How to set up: Setting up your new smart home assistant is easy. Plug in the device, download the corresponding app (you will need a smartphone for this), and connect the device to your Wi-Fi using the newly installed app. You’ll then hear the digital assistant’s voice prompting you to complete the rest of the installation.

No more vacuuming

Make dreaded weekly vacuuming a thing of the past with a digital iRobot Roomba. Compact and quiet, the Roomba is a lifesaver for anyone with pets, kids, or a habit of getting crumbs on the floor and not cleaning them up. These round robots come equipped with a great navigation system that adapts to your home’s layout, plus different brushes and suction settings. How to set up: Roombas come with docking stations that need to be plugged into the wall. This is the Roomba’s resting and charging point. You’ll also need to download an associated app, which will allow you to control your Roomba remotely.

Smart TV

The good news is that most TVs on the market now are ‘smart’. What that means is that the TV can connect to your home’s Wi-Fi, allowing you to use it for app streaming and internet browsing. There are plenty of models available, ranging from the average-priced, like this the Hisense Smart TV, to top of the range models like the LG G1 Gallery Series Smart TV, which also doubles as a piece of art when not in use. How to set up: You’ll need to connect your smart TV to the internet first of all. Most smart TVs are Wi-Fi enabled, so you can connect wirelessly. This option works best if your TV and router are in the same space. Simply choose the Menu option on your remote and select Network Settings, where you’ll see the option to connect to the internet.

Smart home security

With a smart security camera, you’ll never have to worry about your home again. Indoor and outdoor models are available. Opt for an indoor one if you’d like to keep an eye on your children and pets; an outdoor one if you’d like visibility of your home’s front; or get both for ultimate peace of mind. How to set up: Attach your cameras above the spots you’d like monitored, like your front door. Smart cameras are controlled through an app, which you’ll need to download before using your new smart home security system.

Smart lighting

Smart lighting is an attractive entry point to the smart home system as it doesn’t require a central hub. You can easily control the lights in your home from the app on your phone - wherever you are. Smart lighting gives you greater flexibility too. Depending on how you’re feeling that day or the mood you want to set, you can change the colour, dimness and even add effects - like the flickering candle effect. How to set up: Choose a smart light bulb that’ll match your light fitting, bayonet or socket, and swap out the bulbs. Either download an app to control the bulbs or connect it to your existing digital home assistant through Wi-Fi.

Pet camera

If you don’t want a home security camera, but you would like to keep a watchful eye on your pets and give them treats throughout the day, then a smart pet camera is for you. Easy to set-up and control, the pet camera allows you to interact with your pets when you’re away. You can communicate with them and feed them treats, meaning your pet doesn’t get lonely. How to set up: Most pet cameras come with suction cups, allowing them to easily stay in place. You’ll need to connect it to your home’s Wi-Fi and get a corresponding app to control the device. Make your home smarter Turning your home into a smart home couldn't be easier. Start with a lightbulb or two to see how you like smart features before investing in one of the many smart gadgets that are sure to make your life more convenient.