The 8 things smart home tech can do that you probably never knew about

We are currently in a revolution in home technology, with smart home devices changing everything from our heating systems to how we store and order food.

It’s no surprise that this smart home technology has quickly become one of the most talked about topic in the last few years, but often people are usually talking about the same benefits. Pretty much everyone is aware of voice-activated devices and that you can control elements of your house.

But we wanted to go further and take a look at the things that smart home tech can do that you probably never knew about.

Check the air quality in your home

Knowing the amount of pollen and chemical pollution inside your home is pretty helpful for families, allergy sufferers and those living in cities. Well, now there is smart home tech that can give your real time information – Awair’s Alexa-enabled sensor. Once you’ve set up your Awair sensor and enabled the Alexa skill, just say, “Alexa, ask Awair about chemicals,” and “Alexa, ask Awair about my dust levels,” to find out the level of pollutants inside your home. The tech also keeps track of humidity and temperature in your home.

Re-order things from the fridge when you run out

The latest smart fridges offer voice assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa built in, so you can add things to your grocery list instantly. They also let you ‘see inside’ your fridge remotely via an internal camera that’s linked to your smartphone app, so you can check whether you have enough milk without having to go home and check. If there’s just one product you’re worried about, Amazon’s Dash buttons (for everyday products such as coffee, batteries or washing tablets) let you reorder with one press of a button.

Water your plants when you’re away

You might think that your garden is one place that is immune from the arrival of smart home technology, but you would be very wrong. Systems from companies such as Rachio let you control your sprinklers remotely (or via Alexa commands from within the house). This means you can ensure your garden stays green if there’s a sudden hot spell (even if you’re in another continent at the time).

Save you money on your bills

Smart thermostats such as Hive devices can seriously lower your heating bills, by working out the exact times you need the heating on. Rather than switching it on full blast for hours, the thermostat ‘learns’ when you get up and combines this information with the weather forecast to turn on (and off) the heating when you need it. This can cut bills significantly. You can control Hive thermostats via a paired app or via Alexa commands such as, “Alexa, what’s the temperature in the house?”

Spring clean your home before your parents arrive

Smart vacuum cleaners can come to your aid in an emergency… like the moment when your in-laws suddenly decide they’re going to visit your home. They can be remotely instructed to start cleaning when visitors are incoming (or just when you’re on the way home).

Scare off burglars

Smart lighting systems can be used to make it seem as if homeowners are ‘in’, even when out. They allow homeowners to set up a routine which randomises when lights come on, mimicking the effect of a family being at home. Amazon Echo’s Alexa voice assistant will soon be able to help, with the Amazon Guard system (launched in the U.S. only for now), which can turn on lights around the home, and ‘listen out’ for unusual noises such as breaking glass.

Tell your children to do their homework

You can use Amazon Echo speakers as an intercom to deliver messages anywhere in the house, via Alexa. Just select the device you want to ‘speak through’ in the Alexa app, and then you can deliver important messages such as, “Alexa, announce to the house to do your homework”.

Get you ready for the morning

You can create routines for the Amazon Echo which can streamline some of the difficult things in life, such as getting out of bed in the morning. For instance, you could use a routine to turn on your smart lights, turn up the thermostat and read out a news bulletin, triggered by the words, “Alexa, start my day.” To create or customise routines for Alexa, go the Alexa app on your phone and choose the three-line menu icon, then ‘Routines’.