A smart home is any regular home that uses smart products to carry out automated functions – like turning on your lights automatically.
A smart home can have different levels of “intelligence” – that is, you can have one smart product in a single room of the house, or you can have a multiple products in every room and outside as well. It all depends on how automated and smart you want your home to be.
Smart homes make every day smoother with automated functions that activate how you want, when you want – all controllable from your phone.
Because everything's automated, you can set and forget, and even skip the little time-consuming actions – like turning off appliances.
A lot of smart products can be set to timers or schedules, which means you don't have to remember to switch things off to save power.
A smart home is a more secure home thanks to self-locking doors that log every entry, video doorbells with real-time notifications, and more.
Keen to learn more about what smart homes can do? Find out how to automate your home lighting.
Smart products work like any other appliance or gadget, but with extra features thanks to wireless technology. They also work differently depending on the wireless technology – or ‘protocol' – they use.
Protocols are the wireless technology used by smart products, like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee and Z-Wave. They dictate how the product connects to you (via your phone/tablet), other products, and your home network.
On a basic level, protocols mostly work behind the scenes. So how you control each product will be largely the same, no matter what protocol it uses, i.e. you'll likely control it on your phone via its app.
However, different protocols mean different “languages” for each product. So if you want all your smart products to sync up and trigger other complex smart functions, you'll need to get a smart hub to act as a central control box – or a translator, so to speak.
Learn more about protocols in our smart home glossary, or find out what smart hubs can do in more detail.
Smart speakers are voice-activated assistants that control smart products and do other helpful things, like schedule diary appointments, or tell you the weather forecast for the day.
You don't need a smart speaker to control your smart products, but they're handy if you want to control them using voice commands.
It all depends on what you'd like to improve or simplify in your home. Do you want to boost your home security? Or maybe you'd like to get a few smart products to enhance your entertainment space?
If you're not sure, a good place to start is to get a single smart product, for example a lighting or security product and then expand your smart home as you're ready.