I’m sure you have asked yourself this question, What is a smart home and do I want a smart home?
Well let me try to help as much as I can with an explanation….
As we have all heard of the Amazon Echo being a great smart piece of home technology, it is not for everyone and can scare a few people but hopefully this Rant Time post will ease your mind. With today’s lives we try to cram as much in a day as possible and sometimes just having that helping hand from time to time can be a life saver. This is just one form factor made by Amazon to help turn your ordinary home into a smart home. Keep in mind, the technology of the word “Smart” isn’t something new in today’s world with nearly every mobile, tablet and even watch on the market, being classed as a smart. If you remember mobiles prior to Blackberry, when the Nokia 3310 and Sony Ericsson T-10 was the most popular, we went thought the same issue when smart phone technology started to take over the market. Everyone had this fear that Skynet from Terminator was about to start and our phones would take over our lives (which to a point has kind of come true!). But at the same time we have never been more connected to what’s happening in the world than we are now.
So what is a smart home?
Well the simplest way to answer this is to say, it’s a home with functions. These functions range from basic tasks like asking the Echo to set reminders, or remember something to more connective tasks like turning on a home light, depending on the level of tech you have in your home. Or it can be a simple task such as connecting to a news feed and telling you the latest information. As smart home tech advances, we will start to have more functions that would help us access information faster.
If I buy an Amazon Echo can I just use it?
This is a bit of a tricky question as it all comes down to what you want to use it for. If it’s for basic things like sending notes to your phone or making reminders then yes, any of the Echo products will work straight out of the box for you but just make sure you have a internet connection.
If you are looking to activate plugs, lights and other household devices, then you would need to make sure they are compatible, check to see if they have Bluetooth or WiFi connections.
Belkin make a wide range of wall plug sockets you would need to use if you want to turn on items like a TV, hi-fi, computers etc
While philips and TP link make good smart bulbs that connect to most smart home devices via wifi.
So how does it work?
Once you have connected your Echo to WiFi, you get to give it a name (let’s say you named it as Alexa). Now that is set up, you want to command Alexa to turn something on or off for you, e.g. bedroom light. Now using a verbal command with Alexa the AI, you can ask Alexa to turn on or off the bedroom light by clearly saying “Alexa turn bedroom light on” or vise versa.
This will then trigger a function within the device which will activate that command and in return turn on or off your bedroom light.
Amazon Echo Price range £49.99
Amazon Echo Price Range £89.99
Amazon Echo Price Range £99.99 – £199.99
Does it make a difference what device I have?
At this current moment in time, smart homes are still kind of new and are being updated on a regular basis to fit in with today’s tasks. If you are new to smart home tech, I would recommend you starting with the basic £49.99 Echo Dot (speakerless) as this price point will help you decide if smart home tech is something you want to invest in. But if you’re going all out and only want the best, then I would say weigh your pros and cons about each device, find out what they do and what you need them to do.
Remember this choice should be based on what you need your smart home device to do, not what it can do and you have to work around it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what the £49.99 Echo Dot can do compared to the £189.99 version.
Hopefully this post will help you decide if smart home technology will aid your lifestyle or not, regardless of the outcome it would be great to hear your thoughts in the comment below.
Thanks for checking out this post!
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