THE DIGITAL Home
Compiled by Jemma Slevin
As the world gets seriously techy we focus on the digital home, and wow what an exciting place this is. Technological developments and new products are being brought to us thick and fast, here we focus on our favourites, the ones we feel are here to stay, to take us into the future….
The smart home has arrived — the internet is gradually making its way into everything from appliances to thermostats, and you’ll soon be able to control most things in your house from your phone.
But letting WiFi connected things into your house is a big step — they can watch you at all times and know a great deal about your most intimate life. So it’s worth getting one you trust and believe in.
Some of the smart home gadgets on the market can be a little complex and pointless. But a number of them blend into your normal life — making things easier and smarter, rather than getting in the way.
Nest thermostat: £199, Nest
Nest’s technology learns when you like your house to be warm or cold, and adjusts the heating accordingly. And if you don’t like that, all options are accessible from an app or your computer.
Belkin WeMo switch: £29, Currys
Smart electricity switches are simple — but they can be hooked up to anything to make them internet-enabled. Plugging a lamp will mean you can turn it on and off over the internet, for instance, and you can hook it up to other services like your thermostat or your phone’s location so that they’ll go off and on when you arrive and leave.
Philips Hue starter kit: £149, Currys
Philips’ Hue lights (and compatible ‘friends of Hue’ options) can be turned on using an app. You can change the colours and brightness, and sync them up with other apps so that they’ll flash when your phone gets a notification, for example. It lets you control up to 50 lights at a time.
iRobot Roomba 620: £330, Amazon
Prepare for the robot age by investing in a Roomba. It will drive itself around your home, hoovering up as it goes whatever the surface, and then drive itself back to charge before starting all over again.
Echo: £149.99, Amazon
The Echo a Bluetooth speaker powered by Alexa, Amazon’s handy voice assistant. Alexa works with a number of smart home devices directly, as well as with If This Then That (IFTTT) to control plenty of others via “recipes” you can create yourself. It’ll take some work, but you can use Alexa to control most of the gadgets in your house by the sound of your voice. If you already have a favorite speaker, the inexpensive Echo Dot can connect to it and add Alexa functionality. There are now tons of skills that you can enable from the store to really make use of this device and have it truly imbedded into your family’s day to day needs. Check out some of the more unusual ones here.
Samsung Family Hub Fridge, from £3499 at Currys.
The Family Hub™ is a revolutionary new refrigerator with a Wifi enabled touchscreen that lets you manage your groceries, connect with your family and entertain like never before. This fridge has three built in cameras that take a photo every time the doors close. You can use your phone to access photos from anywhere, so you always know what you have and what you are missing.
You can also keep your family connected as the Family Hub is at the centre of it all. Coordinate everyone’s schedules, leave notes ad remonders – even show off pictures of the latest family holiday!
The icing on the cake is that whether you’re having people over or spending some serious time in the kitchen, the Family Hub is there with your favorire music and TV shows.