Smart Systems

Smart systems are filtering into all aspects of modern life. From the basic smart assistant in your mobile device (Google Assistant or Apple Siri), right through to full home automation and everything in between. But is there a benefit to it all? That depends on your thoughts on tech, privacy and what you feel is a benefit.  


Most people would accept the smart assistant can be of benefit to some degree – setting reminders, adding calendar items, or having your phone read out your schedule / messages or emails on the go simply by asking. This might be seen as a nice to have but for others it may be life changing (for example someone with visual impairment or physical impairment). Smart tech also goes so much further including security, energy saving, and automation – all of which can be done easily and relatively cost effectively, sometimes using tech in your home you don’t even realise you have.


Low power smart bulbs – these allow dimming and the ability to control some or all of them via apps, or integration with Google Hub or Amazon Echo devices for voice control and automation (either scheduled tasks or routines triggered by other things). These can allow you to turn all lights off at a set time, or by a voice command or app ensuring no lights are left running wasting energy. Add to that the possible security benefit of controlling lights when away from home they make a cheap and easy addition to a home. Many can track the power used by bulbs to assist in energy saving. 


In addition to smart bulbs, there are also smart sockets or plugs. Again, these can be app managed or by voice (usually also with a physical button to manually control them). They allow control of power sockets, so a single command could turn off all your energy sucking audio visual kit, lamps etc without going from plug to plug. Some devices can also show power used through the device allowing you to see which devices are running up your electricity bill. Even smart curtain closers and automatic blinds are a reality now. 


Modern home security systems, smart alarms, security camera systems, smart locks etc are all available and integrate with existing tech. These allow you easy control over your home security when away, see the status of your alarm (or be notified when it goes off), see if someone has entered your garden or outbuilding. Smart locks allow you to remotely unlock or grant access to visitors if you are running late, or simply verify your home is locked when you arrive at work with that question in your head “Did I lock the front door?” Smart video doorbells are becoming a common replacement for old, normal bells. Many of them allow for 2-way chat via a mobile app on your phone with the person ringing your door, and automatic recording for security, but they can do much more through integration with other smart tech. 


You now get smart tech built into kitchen appliances too – Wi-Fi coffee machines that get the coffee ready for your arrival, washing machines that can be controlled by app or configured to work when energy is cheap, fridges that can list and show what you have in them etc. Some are just gimmicks for now but they are a start. 


The integration available between many vendors now allows for great control over your home and security.  


  • Ring doorbell – it is possible to automatically display video of the person at the door on Samsung TVs through Samsung Smartthings integration. Further to this, via Smartthings linked with Amazon Alexa, it can trigger routines such as turning on house lights in downstairs rooms if it sees movement on your property after a set time at night, giving the impression someone is in the house. 
  • Smart Alarm systems integrated with Samsung Smartthings or Amazon / Google could have routines set to turn on the hall light when you open the front door on arrival home at night. Some can also monitor and notify you if a door is opened or motion detected in a location even without the alarm being armed (eg. an outhouse, garage or shed detached from the house). 
  • Smart lights and sockets can be set to turn on lamps at dusk or turn them all off at a set time. When away on holiday they can be set to randomly turn on and off to simulate occupancy for security. 
  • Smart hubs like Amazon or Google can be used to do multiple tasks via one command across a plethora of devices. For example, a single Goodnight command can turn off all lights, and sockets / switches, close curtains and blinds, turn on the alarm to night mode etc.