In 2017, a smart home assistant was on everyone’s Christmas list. In fact, Amazon’s Alexa boasted that it could even help with the Christmas dinner.
The latest is Apple HomePod, which promises high-end audio, delivering a room-filling sound alongside assistance from Apple’s Siri.
Essentially, smart speakers allow you to control some of the smart devices listed below by using your voice, as well as answering some vital questions that you’d normally have to manually type into Google, such as “What is the weather like today?” and “Who would win in a fight between a grizzly bear and grandma?”
Smart Light Bulb
Light bulbs are usually the symbol for being smart or having a bright idea, so this fairly new innovation fits well. With smart light bulbs, you can raise the brightness of a room or plunge everyone into darkness simply by commanding it.
Just be warned, the novelty will wear off a lot quicker with you than it will with small children.
Ensuring everyone in your home is warm enough can be tricky when you have a large family that spends time in multiple rooms. Luckily, you can now control your heating, individual temperatures and ever-changing boiler schedule from your phone, even when you’re out of the house.
Nest and Hive are the most popular brands and some even have the clever function of automatically switching off your heating as you leave the house thanks to geofencing technology.
After hearing all the fun things that smart devices can offer, a smart plug might sound a bit lacklustre. However, they are one of the most overlooked technologies, as they enable almost any non-smart gadget to become so much more.
The possibilities are endless. Long gone are the days of breaking out in a sweat as you wonder whether or not you turned your hair straighteners off. Plus, you can programme that old lamp to turn on when you’re out, making it look like someone is at home.
You can also pick up versions that tell you how much electricity and money is being wasted on certain appliances, saving money in the long run.
The trend of tracking sleeping habits seems to be getting increasingly popular. Some devices can now be slid under your mattress, monitoring your activity and heartbeat to give you readings of how long you were in different phases of sleep.
Viewing these stats then allows you to make changes, such as going to bed earlier and feeling refreshed in the morning.
Meanwhile, smart alarms know when you’re coming out of a deep sleep and wake you with light sounds and ambient music. They’re a great way to start the day in a good mood, rather than being a drowsy grump all morning.
Who wouldn’t want a tablet built into their refrigerator? Some of the latest Samsung models give families the opportunity to create shopping lists, watch YouTube recipes and leave digital notes on their fridge doors.
And for the super savvy shoppers out there, you can now see the contents of your fridge whilst you’re at the shops. Say goodbye to frustrating conversations with your partner as you try to remember how much milk you have left.
Connected Vacuum Cleaners
Now, this is the kind of technology we’ve all been dreaming of: your own personal robot cleaner.
Dyson has recently released a model that you can use to vacuum your entire house at the click of a button or even through voice command. It’s also amusing to watch your pet cat or dog’s initial reaction to the self-moving device (hopefully they’ll soon become best friends).