‘Alexa, how do I make my home smarter?’. Oh, that’s not how this thing works. Perhaps, then, let’s do things the old fashioned way, with an article.

Though we’ve all heard the horror stories, about rogue state actors using your microwave to control your thoughts, of your home hub knowing how often you have sex and advertising accordingly, or of thieves gaining access to your home more easily than ever…it seems that a fair amount of poetic licence is used when discussing home automation. In fact, the convenience and interconnectivity of the smartest homes is something which can really oil the cogs of everyday life.

Indeed, smart homes can make life easier and more convenient; from managing all of your devices from the comfort of your couch to knowing everything is safe and sound while you’re away, having the control of your home at your fingertips is definitely a worthwhile investment. Moreover a smart home can increase energy efficiency which is good for the environment and your pocket too. What’s not to love?

So with protective arms around your data, if you’re up for making things a little easier for yourself, then read on; our 5 IDEAL ways to make your home smarter.

INTELLIGENT THERMOSTATS

Rarely does a week pass by without another think piece published about the optimum house temperature, the disparity between and a man and woman’s preferred warmth, its implication in ongoing gender wars, and subsequent reasons for divorce. Smart thermostats, to an extent, come into the conversation, fuelling fiddling and contributing to fall outs all over the house.

In reality, they’re an incredibly useful addition to the home, and one which is less likely to compromise your security and privacy than some of the more invasive additions you could make. Having one enables you to control your home’s temperature via an app on your phone, meaning you can turn on your heating when you’re heading home from work or while you’re lying in bed in the morning.

CLEVER COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS

There are now intelligent communication systems available which enable you to make the entrance to your property the start of the smart home journey. Yep, several intercom and doorbell devices now exist primarily for the purpose of home automation. 2N intercoms, for instance, allow for smart security monitoring via their hidden cameras, as well as the ability to make calls to your smartphone (‘Hey! Your pizza is outside) and open your front door, whether you’re inside or outside the home, with your voice. Wow, is there anything technology can’t do?

BRIGHT LIGHTS

Any smart home system which can mitigate some of our pad’s carbon footprint and environmental impact has got the be a good thing. Smart lights certainly come under this bracket; though they won’t be able to do your kids homework for you, these intelligent bulbs can be controlled remotely, scheduled to come on briefly when you’re on holiday to deter burglars, set to only switch on and turn off when the room is occupied, and even remember various bright-to-dim presets according to activity (‘movie mode’ for example). Ideal for reducing your energy use, this one.

SMART COOKING

Sometimes, smart technology comes along and fills a hole you didn’t even realise was gaping. But various intelligent cooking devices are now on the market, and honestly, we don’t know what we even did with our hands before they existed. The Perfect Bake Pro, for instance, is a ‘smart scale’ and recipe app which turns recipes on their head; once you’ve chosen said recipe, the scales tell you how much of each ingredient you need as you’re weighing, in process, and remind you of each step (mix, fold, beat, put in and take out of oven…you get the picture) as you go. Amazing.

Perhaps the most popular smart cooking device on the market is the Smart Wifi Instant Pot, which serves as a slow cooker, a rice cooker, steamer, cake and bread maker and many more besides. The cooker can be set from anywhere via the app, and has nearly a thousand pre-programmed features. Cooking doesn’t get easier than this.

SMART HUBS & SPEAKERS

With all that smart technology in the house, you’re going to need a hub to control it all from, right? Well, most developers make sure that their smart home products, including those thermostats, lights, communication systems and cooking appliances, are all Amazon Echo Dot, Samsung SmartThings, and Google Assistant enabled and integrated.

This means that most actions around the home can be voice controlled, if that’s your jam. Just remember that the more interconnected and integrated your home system is, the more locked in and institutionalised to your chosen provider’s web you’ll be. Proceed with caution; don’t sacrifice too much of your privacy for a little added convenience.