Around 89 per cent of Australians are active internet users — so if you're not using your WiFi connection to help run your home, you might be missing out on integrations that could make your life easier (and more fun!). Smart home products can save power and money. Find out how to turn your home internet connection into a world of possibilities with these ideas.
Smart Lighting to Brighten Your Life
When you mention smart homes, most people instantly think of smart lights. While the truly dedicated may have been using smart lights for a while now, the new generation of lights are substantially easier to fit and more flexible so you can create a range of useful and creative lighting scenarios in your home. Being LED, they are cheaper to run, and as you are able to schedule when your lights turn on and off, they are not only convenient, but can potentially reduce your power bills, too. You’ll never leave lights on when they’re not needed again!
- Philips Hue A60 B22 Starter Kit White Ambiance Philips is a big name in the smart lighting world and its starter kit has everything you need, including a control bridge, two bulbs, voice or app control, and an optional wall switch if you’d like to keep manual controls.
- Philips Hue Outdoor Spot Smart Light Kit Light up your home in your choice of 16 million colours with this smart spotlight, with schedules to suit your needs and the option of voice control through Apple's Siri, Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
- Philips Hue Lightstrips 2m Bluetooth Lighting doesn't just have to be about globes in ceilings. These lightstrips allow you to add illumination and colour on demand to your home lighting collection, or use them as party lights for those special occasions. They're flexible and can be cut to size to suit any need, and they also work with every other Hue device.
- Lenovo Smart LED Light Strip 2m RGBW With 60 lights across a two-metre span and rugged construction suitable for indoor or outdoor use, Lenovo's Smart LED strip will be equally at home lighting up your next evening BBQ as it is illuminating your living room.
- Nanoleaf Shapes Hexagon Starter Kit 9 Pack Lights don't have to be globe-shaped to provide brilliance, and Nanoleaf's Hexagon lights – as the name suggests – give you an entirely new way to illuminate any flat surface. Build and light them to your taste and style for the ultimate in personal wall decoration – and change them whenever you like, too.
Hot Tip: If you're replacing existing light bulbs, make sure your kit is compatible with either bayonet (B22) or edison screws (E27), depending on your sockets. You won't feel so smart if you can't plug in your new lights!
Smart Home Security Systems for Peace of Mind
The family dog may be a loyal protector, but he's no match for the best smart home security systems. Home security technology can monitor your home around the clock, delivering smart alerts and real-time video whenever motion is detected. The benefits aren’t limited to feeling more secure either – some home insurance companies reduce their premiums for households with smart home security cameras.
- Swann Wire-Free Security System 4 Cameras White Multiple cameras offer whole-of-home coverage, wireless means they are easy to install, and they’re weatherproof for outdoor use.
- Swann Spotlight Motion Security Camera White This system is heat and motion sensitive to detect everything, and the spotlight will alert you and deter unwanted visitors.
- Swann WiFi Pan and Tilt Indoor Security Camera with 32GB SD With panning and tilting from the smartphone app, as well as two-way communication, this camera operates as an intercom as well as a security sensor. It’s a good option for renters as no permanent installation is required.
- Arlo Essential XL Spotlight Camera White This self-standing camera has an inbuilt spotlight, so you get clearer video, an alert for visitors and illumination to your back door at night.
- Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera Kit White A two-pack of cameras offers much wider area coverage whether indoors or outdoors, and it has a clear 1080p capture thanks to its integrated spotlights.
- Uniden Smart WiFi Security Camera with Spotlight An affordable combination camera, spotlight and siren in the one unit, this model also has built-in two-way talk so you can monitor visitors and deliveries.
- Eufy 2 Camera Home Base Security Kit This complete smart home security system can save its video locally or to the cloud, and works with either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa support. It also offers up to three years’ battery life.
- Eufy Security Camera 2 Mini 4 Pack White If you need to monitor a lot of spaces or a wider area, this four-camera kit could be ideal. It works with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant services, and each camera is IP66 rated for high weather resistance.
- Eufy 2K Indoor Pan & Tilt Security Camera This device offers full 360-degree coverage and is smart enough to discern between people and pets. And, as it comes with a wall charger, you never have to worry about it going flat, either.
- Ring Indoor Security Camera White With the choice to install it as free-standing or fixed to a wall, the Ring Camera can be set up to cover any angle you want. Subscription options let you save to the cloud, and you can easily view your camera feed in real time via your smartphone or on an Amazon Echo device with a screen.
- Google Nest Cam Outdoor or Indoor Battery 3 Pack The weather resistant battery-powered Nest security camera can differentiate between movement of people and vehicles – and you can choose which you’d like to be alerted to. And with three cameras in the pack, there’s multiple options for monitoring in and around the home.
Hot Tip: Tweak your smart home camera's field of vision (if it allows it) to avoid a deluge of false positives from passing cars or the like.
Bright Sparks: Smart Plugs for Any Device
Not every gadget in your home is automatically smart, but the beauty of a smart plug is that it can turn any device into one that’s easily controlled, whether it's setting a lamp to light up at night or a timer to regulate your kid's console gaming time.
- Brilliant Lighting Smart WiFi Plug with USB This will control a single device while also charging phones or other USB-connected gadgets. It also works with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa or IFTTT for voice-based control.
- Brilliant Smart 4 Port Powerboard 4 USB Why control one device when you can control four? What's more, with four USB A type ports you can also connect and charge more devices from the one handy powerboard.
- Brilliant Smart Double Adaptor with Dual USB With simple WiFi connectivity and power for up to three devices – including one USB connected gadget – you can easily create your own smart routines for just about any electrical appliance.
- Philips Hue Smart Plug White If you're already using the Hue smart lights, why not add the discreet Hue Smart Plug to control power to other devices without needing to install additional apps or setup routines?
- Brilliant Lighting Smart WiFi Plug with Energy Monitoring Don’t settle for just switching a device on and off when you could also monitor and record its power usage over time. This device will ensure you're not wasting energy, saving you money in the process.
- Lenovo Smart Plug White SE-341AA This plug is a low profile, surge-protected switch to make any lamp, heater or other electrical device smartly controlled.
Hot Tip: A smart plug can help control the energy costs of your Christmas lights display with scheduled timers to switch them on and off.
Video Doorbells: Great Security for Deliveries
The three little pigs went through plenty of houses before they worked out how to best that big bad wolf, but they would have had a much easier time if they had used a smart video doorbell. They're the double hitters of the smart home device world, providing a simple security camera at your front door as well as a way to answer the door whether you're home, at the shops or much further afield.
- Ring Video Doorbell 4 Whether you're home or away, Ring's doorbells are a cinch to install and simple to run from your smartphone using the Ring app. The Ring 4 has a 160-degree view with customisable motion zones and high-quality low-light detection, as well as convenient notifications to your phone.
- Ring Video Doorbell Satin Nickel (2020 Release) This product is an easy-to-install video doorbell that lets you answer the door from your smartphone. The rechargeable battery lasts a long time, and if you've got an Alexa-enabled smart display such as the Echo Show, you can access your doorbell's camera from there, too.
- Google Nest Doorbell Battery With the ability to tell the difference between people, packages and vehicles, you’ll always know exactly what’s happening outside your front door – day or night, thanks to its HDR (high dynamic range) camera with night vision. Smart alerts keep you informed of any arrivals and with a Google Nest Aware subscription, you can also access 60 days of video history.
Hot Tip: Some smart doorbells allow for permanent wired access, which is great if you don't want to stress about batteries running out, but remember to allow for the costs of an electrician to install them.
Hot and Very Cool: Smart Home Temperature Control
Heating and cooling our homes takes up a huge chunk of our power bills, around 20-50 per cent of our total household energy costs. So it makes sense to use smart technologies to more accurately control and measure your home's heating and cooling, to ensure you're getting value for money.
- Sensibo Sky WiFi Controller White Never worry about losing the air-conditioning remote again with this voice-controlled smart system that lets you manage temperature, schedules and humidity at a command.
- Tado Smart AC Control V3+ Tado's Smart AC Control V3+ works with any AC that has a remote control. It gives you a clear visual picture of your temperature settings and can even detect if there's an open window nearby (which could be wasting heating or cooling power).