Johannesburg: Smart homes are becoming more affordable, and with less than R200, anyone can turn their home into a smart one.
In brief, a smart home consists of devices connected to one another and accessed through a central hub. They can include wi-fi-connected devices, from vacuum cleaners to washing machines and TVs.
More connected devices are being released, and smarter products are making home automation and efficiency in a household more of a reality than they were in the past.
The central control point of smart homes comes in the form of a hub where instruction and commands are relayed. These can be through a speaker hub like Google Nest or Amazon Echo but are also easily controlled through a PC, smartphone or tablet.
While many apps accompany high-end smart home products, some of the more popular apps include Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Apple’s HomeKit. The plus side of using these apps is that most of them can work with one another.
However, choosing an ecosystem is important when setting up a smart home or purchasing smart products. As a rule of thumb, choosing an ecosystem around the operating system of your smart home is a good starting point.
For example, suppose you’re setting up a smart home and own an iPhone. In that case, it is best to make sure that smart home products purchased are compatible with iOS and, in the case of Android users, make sure products are compatible with Google Home.
However, setting up a smart home might seem costly, with larger smart appliances fetching high price tags. However, a smart home (in theory) doesn’t require a range of devices. Just one product lays a good foundation for building a connected home.
With less than R200 starting a smart home is possible with just a single light bulb and building from there.
Scores of electronics, DIY and online stores stock a range of light bulbs which will happily have you on your way to building a great connected home.
What is a smart bulb?
A smart bulb, priced from around R169, offers convenience to its user by allowing them to control it from a smartphone. They are installed by simply screwing in a light bulb and are compatible with most fittings in the home.
Depending on the brand, each bulb has its own app, which can also be connected to a parent app like Google Home or HomeKit.
Aside from being able to turn on and off via an app, scheduling and voice command, most smart bulbs offer dimming functionality, allowing the user to go from 1% to 100% brightness, depending on the amount of light needed for a room.
Some smart bulbs can also change colour to create more ambience. Other pricier smart bulbs even offer speaker functionality, allowing you to connect your smartphone to it and play music through the speaker.
While there are many brands available, ensuring the smart products are compatible with your device is important. Fortunately, most of the smart bulbs available are compatible with all mobile operating systems.
Once you’ve installed your smart bulb, your home is on its way to becoming a smart one. After this searching for products compatible with your ecosystem will allow you to continue adding new devices.