Smart Stuff

It seems that everything these days is given the moniker “Smart” but what does it really mean?

Well, in a nutshell, its an easy way of saying that the device/object/thing is interactive, usually via WiFi or bluetooth and more than likely via a mobile app. The idea of the connected home has been a fantasy since the 60’s, but now it is slowly becoming a reality.

Here I will run through a few of the most popular and some unusual smart devices available today.

 

1: Okidokeys Smart Locks

 

okidokeys-lead

So some might hesitate at the idea of an electronic lock, but they have been around for a while and seem to pass muster. The new part here, however, is the ability to unlock with your mobile device. The advantage here is that you can grant temporary access to trusted parties, i.e friends, neighbours feeding the cat etc and revoke at any time – all remotely.

Price: between £110 – £163

More Info: https://www.okidokeys.com

2: Philips Hue Connected Lighting

 

huesmartcontrol

 

Philips introduced the Hue system over a year ago and it has had an exclusive deal with the Apple Stores. This lighting system is very popular because it consists mainly of colour changing bulbs, meaning that you can use your existing light fittings and lamps to create beautiful atmospheric lighting. The boon of Hue is that you can control the overall design of a room – the bulbs are aware of each other and you can create schemes and gradients using the mobile app – even grabbing colours from your photos. There are also modes that assist with relaxation, concentration and sleep.

 

Ambilight-+-Hue-colour-copy

 

 

hue-130806-2

Recently, Philips also introduced two new members of the hue family, lightstrips – perfect for behind televisions, desks, kitchens etc and Bloom, a connected lamp that flood lights whole walls. All of the hue devices are connected via a little box that you plugin to your home router known as the bridge. Its very simply to set up and can create beautiful light-scapes.

Price: £49.95 – £179.95

More info: http://www.meethue.com/en-GB

 

3: Withings Body Analyzer

ws-50-background-lb

 

Withings create several health based devices that all have corresponding apps. The first one is the Withings Body Analyzer. This clever little scale is able to record your weight, body fat percentage and also your heart rate. Interestingly, the latest version, also checks your air quality, measuring CO2 readings and the temperature every 30 minutes.

Great for families, you can setup multiple profiles to track goals and measurements separately. Withings has its own tracking app but there are lots of apps that their devices are compatible with.

 

Price: £129.95

More info: http://www.withings.com/en/bodyanalyzer

 

4: Belkin Wemo Switch

 

c26-UK-BELKIN-F7C027Q-2-l._V402084711_

 

The Wemo Switch by belkin is simply an adapter that you plug any electrical device into allowing you to remotely control the power from your mobile, wherever in the world you are. You can schedule switches to come on and off at set times. There is a version which comes with a motion sensor to trigger power based on movement and there is also a new version called “insight” that will allow you to track individual expenditure for each device you have connected to a wemo insight adapter. They work in tandem and you can use many throughout your home.

Price: Starts at £39.95

More info:  http://www.belkin.com/uk/Products/home-automation/c/wemo-home-automation

 

5: Parrot AR Drone

18652084_500x500_1

 

Whilst not quite a domestic essential, the AR Drone from parrot is a boat load of fun. The quadrocopter is controlled via an app on your iOS or Android phone and has an on board camera to record video or take stills. Perfect for checking out which neighbours have swimming pools!

Price: £279.95

More info: http://ardrone2.parrot.com/