This is the future. Being able to turn lights, heating and kitchen appliances, on with your voice, or just by your mere presence in a room, is now fairly cheaply available. Gone are the days where the only options were to spend thousands on expensive lighting systems. In this blog we will explain your options.
There are a number of options available to make your home more ‘intelligent’ – in terms of lighting and power. Depending on your budget, you can choose from Belkin’s ‘Wemo’ plug, which allows you to plug a generic light or anything that uses a plug, for that matter, and then control it through your phone. Using a wifi connection to your network, you can connect an almost unlimited number of these little guys, and typically costing £30, they are very reasonably priced. Having been using three of these units for the last few years myself, I can testify that they are excellent value for money, and very reliable.
At the more expensive end of the spectrum, is the Phillips Hue ecosystem. Put simply, ‘Hue’ is various forms of lighting, from light bulbs, to LED strips. The bulbs are available with two specifications, colour and white only. I currently own four of the white only bulbs, two LED strips and a ‘bloom’ light (a bit like an uplighter). The white bulbs are priced at £14.95 (as of 8/1/17), the LED’s are £64.99 and the colour bulbs are £49.99. Personally, I didn’t have a need for the colour bulbs, the white bulb suits my needs perfectly. All the devices connect through a hub, connected directly into your router/network. The system is available as a kit, priced at £59.95 for the white bulb only. This includes the hub, and two bulbs. Usefully, the Hue system is Apple HomeKit enabled, meaning it can be controlled via Siri.
Recently, I have been using the Amazon Echo to control my home. The Echo (£149.99) is a voice activated, personal assistant, akin to Siri. In my opinion, I find that it is more reliable and more intuitive than Siri. I use it to control Spotify, listen to the radio, add things to my shopping list, as well as controlling my lights.
It is worth noting that this blog is only a brief snapshot of what is available. It is, however, what I use in my own home, so I can testify to their quality and ease of use.