The easiest way to get a smart home going is to build it modularly – one small piece at a time. In this feature we’ve rounded up some of the simplest and most useful pieces of tech to start your journey with…
SOCKET TO ME
Smart plugs; what can they do for you? Tons and tons of things. Plug one of these bad boys into your wall outlet, link something to it via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and a surprising degree of user control will open up on the device you’ve hooked up. Basically, if you connect a TV, lamp or even your coffee machine, you can quickly craft a scene to make said device thrum into life when you return home, or you can fire them up half a world away via a smartphone. Even better, these are built to the expected standards of a normal Australian plug, plus they can be an invaluable addition if you want to minimise the sneaky standby mode power drains most devices surreptitiously enter when you think they’re actually off. Speaking of which, many smart plugs provide the ability to report on the energy usage of anything hooked up to them. Sniff out those zap-sapping freeloaders in your home, disconnect them and save money/the environment!
BEAM ME UP
The next tier up in smart home installation difficulty (if you could even call it that) is finding a means to bathe the more challenging areas of your home with a bit more illumination. Or a lot. If a smart light isn’t feasible, it’s time to look into the wonderful world of smart strips.
The Philips Hue Colour Bluetooth Lightstrip is a system that lets practically anybody go full interior designer and create impressive, colourful highlights throughout their home. The key feature here is versatility – completely flexible, these strips can be shaped, bent and snipped down to fit any nook and cranny. Conversely, any excess pieces can be reconstituted back into a strip via an included connector clip, to be used on another illumination job somewhere else. Couple that with an impressive 1600 lumen brightness, 16 million colours to choose from and the ability to control ten strips with the Bluetooth app, and the artistic opportunities are endless.
Known primarily for their smart lighting solutions, Philips also dabbles into the smart plug side of things. These are the choice for you if you prefer diminutive sized plugs and an ecosystem that supports either Bluetooth or ZigBee as connection options. Sadly, these aren’t the way to go if you want energy monitoring functionality, however, the benefits here are motion-activated sensors and a ridiculously easy to comprehend scene creator that resides in the dedicated Philips Hue app.
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It’s silly how easy Eve products are to set up. You simply download the Eve or Homeapp, use your mobile phone camera to scan the QR code that comes included, then you’re off to the races. Said app will allow you to effortlessly cobble together scenes to enable multiple devices to work in concert – anything from setting timers for lights, humidifiers, fans, or anything else your heart desires. The aforementioned option to energy monitor can be as basic or complex as you need. Keep tabs at a glance or get into some nitty gritty with projected costs and historical device consumption that can be scrutinised by the hour or as a monthly report.
Buy now at JB Hi-Fi