Posted by Chris Martin 23 January 2014
Why your home is about to get a lot smarter: Automate your house without spending thousands
No doubt many of the gadgets and devices around your house are connected to the internet, but soon your home itself will be hooked up to the World Wide Web. And here's why.
You can give your home a proper technology makeover by getting home-automation equipment installed throughout, but congratulations if you can afford such a project. For most of us, that's just a pipe dream, albeit one that is about to become far more accessible to the masses.
There are a large number of individual gadgets out there which you can control with your smartphone or tablet. For example, Philips' Hue lights and Sonos' range of speakers. But wouldn’t it be great if you could get one complete system without spending thousands of pounds? Well you can this year.
Firms such as Archos and BeeWi have announced connected-home sets which consist of various gadgets, or 'objects', which combine to give you a large amount of control over your home. Archos' Smart Home comprises a Mini-cam, Motion Ball, Weather Tag, Movement Tag and Smart Plug. BeeWi's kit is similar including a Smart Color Light, Smart Weather Station, Smart Proximity Sensor, Smart Plug and Smart Gateway.
With these you can do all manner of things from your smartphone or tablet – things which matter to you personally.
For example, the weather tag can wake you up a bit earlier if it's cold enough because you're going to need to de-ice the car. A movement tag can notify you that a child has arrived home safely from school – then why not grab a photo to check whether they're doing homework or playing on the Xbox? Combine multiple devices and you can make your lights, or other devices, come on or turn off when you enter and leave a room. You can decide exactly what happens - and when - via the app.
Loic Poirier, CEO of Archos, said: "Archos' new lineup of connected objects exemplifies the ability to share and access information and represents our vision of creating a universe where all devices complement and work together."
The possibilities are almost endless and the best thing is that you can get your hands on this kind of equipment for a reasonable price. The Archos Smart Home starter kit will retail at £150 and you can buy individual objects for as little as £20. We'll be doing a hands-on next week on PC Advisor. Pricing is still to be announced for BeeWi's smart home gadgets. That's just two kits and we're sure there will be plenty more this year.
Not only is this stuff pretty cool (your friends and family will no doubt be impressed when they come round), there's practical- and economic benefits too. Not only does it take hassle out of living, but has the potential to save you cash. If you're a bit slack with switching things off then this gear will really help out.
By the end of this year I'd be surprised if your home isn't much more connected than it is now.