Maintaining a home

Living room ideas for a connected home

10 September 2018

This article has been written by hipages, a platform that provides a better, smarter way to connect you with trusted, local tradies to get your home improvement job done well.

Smart home automation has been available for a couple of decades—if you had deep enough pockets. Now, new technology in the form of smart hubs is making connected living accessible to the average homeowner. 

As long as you have access to wi-fi, you can introduce basic automation into your home with a smart hub. These are reasonably priced and enable you to streamline your life in all kinds of ways, right from the comfort of your living room.

Entertainment systems, smart doorbells, electric blinds and awnings, connected lighting, video calling, smoke alarms and home security, and more; a smart hub puts control at your fingertips. They’ll even chat to you and answer your questions!

Choosing a smart hub

There are a number of smart hubs on the market, with the best known being Amazon Echo and Google Home (and its little sibling the Google Home Mini). Amazon Echo, launched in 2014, was one of the first to hit the market. Powered by a voice-activated virtual assistant named Alexa, the device is a compact smart speaker you can use to play music and stream podcasts, that can also be used as a home automation device. It allows you to set alarms, turn lights on and off, and even watch real-time videos of your little ones playing in the pool while you prepare dinner. Google Home followed in 2016. It allows users of its smartphone app to control connected devices, including thermostats and lighting, using voice activation. Simply ask your Google Home to turn on the lights or the television and voila!

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Integrated entertainment products

Once you have your smart hub perfectly placed in your living room you can add other automated devices, such as a smart television and speakers, that can be fully integrated with your hub.

Connecting a smart television to your smart hub can offer a truly immersive experience. Simply speak up to ask your hub to play a particular show or movie, turn subtitles on or off, or pause a show and then resume it.

You can also connect to Spotify using smart speakers and ask for your favourite tracks to be played, depending on your mood. Next time you’re doing housework, your pumped-up party playlist is just one voice command away.

Improve your home security

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Home automation can also be integral to making your home more secure. Several security products are now available that are designed to connect with Echo, Home and other smart hubs.

  • Nest home safety and smart security products can offer you peace of mind by allowing you to remotely view your home from anywhere, anytime, via indoor and outdoor cameras that send alerts to your smartphone if any movement is detected. When you’re home, you can also check who’s at the front door before you open it. Nest will also detect smoke in the air and send you an instant alert in case of fire.
  • Another system that connects to your smart hub is Philips’ Hue range, which can control all your lighting. Turn lights on and off, dim them or change the colours as you wish, via a smart phone app or voice activation.

Make sure all your systems and add-ons such as cameras are set up correctly and all cabling is concealed neatly by consulting an electrician.

Fully integrated home automation

You can gain amazing levels of control over your entire home environment with a fully integrated smart technology system. Your windows can open and close in response to weather conditions, you can have an automated roof that slides open over your bedroom on starlit nights or your dining setting can be made to disappear under the floor, so you can use the dining room as a yoga studio during the day. 

You can also set up all your systems so that, as you drive into your driveway, the garden lights turn on, the fountains start bubbling and outdoor speakers start playing your favourite operatic aria, while inside your heating or cooling system has ensured that your home is the perfect temperature as you step indoors. Virtually anything is possible!

If you’re thinking of installing a fully integrated home automation system, you’ll need to consult with an accredited integration professional, such as a C-Bus pointOne member, who will tailor a system to suit your requirements and install it for you.

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