How To Make Your Home Smart

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Smart technology can revolutionise the way we see our homes
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Smart technology can revolutionise the way we see our homes

It's Time To Embrace Tech Around The Whole Home

From intelligent central heating to a front door that'll unlock as you pull up in the drive, these are the gadgets that’ll help smarten up every room around the house...

See who called while you were out with a video home entry system
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See who called while you were out with a video home entry system

Video Entry

Many home entry systems are now compatible with smartphones. But these standalone video doorbells from VTech snap photos of every visitor to your door, whether you're home or not. Perfect for keeping a log of who you missed while you were out, or even which delivery driver slipped that illegible 'Sorry we missed you' note through your door. And, if you live at the top of a tower block, you can keep chatting to your guests as you make your way downstairs.

Check you've locked the door with your smartphone thanks to August
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Check you've locked the door with your smartphone thanks to August

August Smart Locks

No more fumbling around for keys on a cold evening after work. These smart locks from August are operated via a simple app on your smartphone. Tap to unlock; the same again to lock up after yourself. You can also check whether your door is locked while away, keep track of who's come and gone over any given period (useful if you're having work done on the house) and let guests in without leaving the sofa.

Control your temperature with Nest
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Control your temperature with Nest

Nest Thermostat

Attach this glossy thermostat to a central wall, programme in your typical heating requirements and the Nest thermostat will learn your routine and take care of warming and cooling your home for you. Aptly enough - it was designed by the man who led development of the iPhone - it can be controlled from your smartphone and could save up to 20 per cent on your heating bill. If you want a gauge of its smartness, the company behind Nest, Nest Labs, is now owned by Google.

The humble fridge is getting smart
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The humble fridge is getting smart

Smart Fridge

Fridges that monitor what they contain and order replenishments when required aren't far from entering the mainstream. In the meantime, Samsung's range of Wi-Fi-enabled refrigerators features an LCD screen which lets you connect to a favourite groceries app for that new recipe you fancy trying. Or, you could simply look up how to cook the tofu and cauliflower languishing in the salad drawer.

The smart way to get your dishes to sparkle
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The smart way to get your dishes to sparkle

Smart Dishwasher

As well as looking smart, the Bosch 800 Plus Series dishwasher plays the part to perfection. Besides the built-in water softener that reduces limescale build-up and a flexi-form third rack for awkward items, there's also a touch-screen, full colour display that gives you system 'health' updates. You'll know exactly when your dishwasher needs maintenance, how full your rinse aid reservoir is and when your crockery is in danger of coming out less than sparkling white.

Start, stop, steam and clean smartly
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Start, stop, steam and clean smartly

Intelligent Washer

The best thing about LG's SmartThinQ washer/dryer? Its steam settings help reduce the need for ironing and get rid of hard to shift smells. Cycles can be started, stopped and monitored from your smartphone too. Out when your wash ends? Start the dryer cycle to cut the time your clean, fragrant load sits around, damp. The downside? LG has yet to launch the range in the UK. It's surely the future for this side of the Pond though too?

Save on wasted water with a handy pebble
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Save on wasted water with a handy pebble

Water Pebble Water Saver

Conscious of spending too long in the shower each morning? Well, so is the Water Pebble. Or at least, it will be once you take your first shower with it. Taking that initial soak as a benchmark, the little device memorises your ideal shower length, then indicates how much time you have left via a series of traffic light indicators. It'll also reduce the time you spend by shaving a near-unnoticeable amount off every subsequent shower, helping you save water and heating costs.

Stream, catch up and get social through your television
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Stream, catch up and get social through your television

Smart TV

Gone are the days of hooking your laptop and TV together to watch YouTube videos on a large screen. Of course, you can still do that - without the wires, thankfully - but a smart TV will connect to the internet and cut out the need for the laptop. Stream movies, TV shows, music, catch up with social media, even use your voice instead of a remote control. 

Manage your smart home with Insteon
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Manage your smart home with Insteon

Home Kit

At the moment, the market leader in easy-to-use, wireless home network tech is Insteon. Its starter kit is the ideal introduction to smart home gadgetry for those curious about it but worried about the installation. Lighting and appliances are easily added to one manageable network. Also look out for Apple's HomeKit, the Siri-operated smart home pack that's sure to be hugely popular when it eventually launches. 

Match your mood with suitable lighting
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Match your mood with suitable lighting

Philips Hue Lighting

One of the easiest areas to configure in something like Apple's HomeKit will be lighting. Until that arrives, there's Hue lighting by Philips . Ease into the day with lighting that gently brightens for a natural feeling wake-up call or set lighting to switch on and off at set times while you're on holiday. Even recreate your favourite photo lighting with a special palette tool on your smartphone.

Control your lighting through an app
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Control your lighting through an app

Belkin WeMo Light Switch

The thought of costly and complicated rewiring puts many people off when it comes to smart home lighting, but Belkin's WeMo light switches simply replace existing ones. Once in place, an iOS or Android app lets you control lights wherever you are. Cue terrifying practical jokes on the babysitter or unsuspecting members of the family.

Use technology to get your garden in bloom
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Use technology to get your garden in bloom

Intelligent Gardening System

Smart homes need clever gardens, and that's where Bitponics comes in. Carefully located sensors will monitor your prized peace lilies and update you on their pH, humidity and water levels, then feed the data into your own grow plan for the season. You'll even be able to swap advice with other Bitponics users to ensure your garden is always blooming lovely.

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