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The term "smart home" might still have a futuristic ring to it, but the truth is it's never been easier to set up your own completely connected home.
In the past, there were plenty of reasons you might baulk at diving into the world of smart homes. You have been worried about the potential cost. Maybe you were concerned about trying to decipher tricky interfaces. Maybe you weren't even sure what you might want with a smart home.
The good news is that the modern crop of smart home technology is not only affordable, not only user-friendly but also has essential applications all around the house and yard.
His master's voice (control)
First off the mark, forget all about cumbersome remotes and confusing online interfaces -- they're basically stone age in today's high-tech world. All you need is your voice.
There are a few voice control options out there. Amazon has put a lot of time and effort into Alexa, its own voice agent. In Australia, it's Google that has the lion's share of the market.
The Google Home range of smart speakers are a simple way of starting your smart home journey. These are Wi-Fi enabled smart speakers powered by the Google Assistant. You can use them to play music, track your diary, get information off the Internet and, yes, control your compatible smart devices all using nothing more than your voice.
Protect and serve
Home security is as important as ever, but we've never had access to so many smart security devices before, from connected Wi-Fi security cameras through to smart locks and even smart doorbells.
If you're planning to get away over summer, a smart home can help you enjoy peace of mind that your home is safe and secure.
Smart security cameras come in all shapes and sizes but for outdoor security, you'll find a number of wireless streaming options that can handle all the extremes that Aussie weather can bring.
"Set and forget" style cameras with a long battery life can be set up to alert you when motion is detected, or you can always log in to the stream remotely or even on your own TV as we mentioned before.
Securing your home before you set off on a break provides peace of mind and allowing you to properly relax while you're away -- many well-known brands will even offer night vision capabilities.
Indoor security is an option as well, from cameras that can monitor pets and children, sending images to your phone, right through to models with remote-controlled pan and zoom that pack in microphones and even speakers!
Smart doorbells are one of the newer smart device categories. These can notify you when someone rings your bell or even just triggers the motion sensor. Some models let you see in HD who's at your door and speak with your visitor in real-time -- perfect for anyone who's getting a lot of online deliveries and likes to know exactly where their parcels are being left!
Let there be light
Head back in time a decade or two and one of the hottest home security devices was a timer than turned your lights off and on to fool people into thinking you were home. These days your lighting options are a lot smarter than that and can do a lot more than just convincing people that the house is occupied.
From simple lightbulbs that can adjust brightness and hue on command, to installed and recessed LED downlighting, right through to strip lighting that can change the ambience of your loungeroom to match watch you're watching on TV: the options are vast and you'll find the right one for your needs.
And don't forget your outside lighting as well. Yes, you can get automated lighting that switches on even when you're not home or you can easily set up sensor lights for your front walkway, giving you some extra safety -- and security -- on your way to your own front door. And it's not just about practicality, aesthetics matter as well with outdoor light. Smart lighting bollards can change colour to suit the mood and add a fun and fresh feel to any backyard event.
To find out more about Smart Home, visit Bunnings Warehouse.