A home automation buying guide for beginners

The idea of home automation is not a new one. But in recent years there has been a huge increase in the number of smart gadgets available. They have taken the automated home from being a plaything of the rich and brought it within reach of the average householder.

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The market for home automation products is set to double by 2021, but what do you need to know to get started now?

The Internet of Things

At the core of the latest products from any smart home automation company is the so-called Internet of Things. The ‘things’ in question are devices – thermostats, TVs, light bulbs and more – which are able to connect to the internet via your wireless router. This means they can be controlled from elsewhere via a smartphone or locally by devices like the Amazon Echo or by sensors like motion detectors that can turn on lights as you enter a room.

The technology is spreading so that more and more things are now getting in on the act, from door locks and security cameras to fridges and cookers. It can all seem a bit overwhelming.

Where Do I Begin?

If you’re considering smart home automation, begin by having a look at your lifestyle. What are the things you regularly turn on and off or make adjustments too? Prime candidates will be your lights, your heating system and your home entertainment system.

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Look for devices that can let you control these devices remotely – there are plenty of smart thermostats, smart plugs and smart light bulbs on the market. Having decided what you want to control, think about how to control it.

Early automation systems usually required some sort of hub which tied you to a particular manufacturer’s systems, but this is no longer the case. Most devices now can be controlled from an app on your smartphone or from a standalone voice-command device like an Amazon Echo or Google Home that can talk to lots of different pieces of kit.

Keep things simple to start with. Once you’re comfortable with the idea of controlling lights, then you can move on to something more sophisticated. With the cost of equipment falling, automating your home has never been easier, so there really is no excuse for not giving it a try.

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