I am a guy who always works with many smart gadgets, smart home products, so I can say I am quite familiar with those kinds of stuff. So, I am here to share my experience on how to turn your home to a smart home.
If you are trying to adopt smart home gadgets in your home, please trying to split it into a few section. For example, you need to control your lighting, home appliances, climate, entertainments, security, and e.t.c……Please enjoy the implementation of each section, I would treat the stuffs as my gadgets/toys.
The centre of your smart home - Smart Speakers
Smart speakers become the most important devices if you want to turn your home to smart. They are really helpful to do somethings automatically and you can just say some commands to control somethings.
I recommend using Amazon Echo devices as your smart speakers as some of them have be embedded Zigbee technology which can directly control some smart lighting by asking Alexa. Hence, I recommend you can buy one Amazon Echo Plus or one Amazon Echo Show(2nd gen.) in your home. In addition, you can also buy a few Echo Dot, Echo Show 5 or Echo Input. I may introduce them in another post.
Alexa is a voice interface which is compatible with many brands smart devices, like smart lights, thermostat, sensors, door locks, entertainments and e.t.c., so that why I said smart speaker is the centre of current smart home.
Lighting is important for your home, I tend to use the smart lights with Zigbee technology which Alexa Echo Plus supports that. There are many choices in the market. If you install an Alexa APP, you can set up the lights with an Echo Plus, after the configuration, you can use the APP or your voice to control the lights.
Most of the smart lights are plug and play, they are easy for DIY users to install or setup by themselves. If you need to turn your conventional lighting to smart lighting, there are some dimmers or switches for you, but they involves for wiring connection, and you may need to ask for verified electricians for installations.
There are 2 main choices for thermostat in UK, Hive and Nest. They are dominating UK thermostat market. Both of them support Alexa and have great Alexa Skills.
Hive supports LPG or gas heating system and some electric boiler. Hive gets a geolocation feature that it know when you are home or not.
Nest supports combi and condensing boilers, system and heat-only boilers, Hydronic underfloor systems, and Air-source and ground-source heat pumps.
Actually, I think both systems are similar.
After implementing smart lights and thermostat into your home, we may turn other things be smart, like your TV/ entertainment systems or your home security. Let me talk a little more on future posts.