Editorial

WHERE DOES SMART HOME TECHNOLOGY INFLUENCE OUR LIVES

Smart Home technology has impacted many areas of our lives. It makes our homes safer and just simplifies many daily tasks. But it is more than just putting a screen everywhere.

It also makes it easier for us to play Cookie Casino. But in which fields did it have the most impact?

TO LIVE HEALTHIER

Blood pressure monitors, scales or fitness trackers with apps help to manage important values more easily and are even compatible with each other in some cases. For example, the correlation between sports units and weighing results can be read in just one app.

But it’s not just athletes who benefit from intelligent analysis; networked gadgets also make life more comfortable for seniors.

ENTERTAINMENT

Home automation creates a whole new dimension of entertainment. For example, a smart TV with lamps, speakers, blinds and many other household appliances can be controlled centrally by voice assistant. The command “Alexa, activate the living room cinema” then ensures, for example, that the shades are activated and the TV and sound system are switched on at the same time. This means that no one has to get up to operate wall switches or lower the shutters.

Smart Home and Multiroom

Of course, this also applies to a networked Multiroom system. Users who want to access their own music collection centrally can store their files on a NAS server (Network Attached Storage) and thus make them accessible to all family members. The private NAS server is practically the “cloud for home”, where other files such as photos and videos can also be stored. Using a networked TV, these can be viewed directly from the couch.

Smart speakers, such as Amazon Echo or Google Nest Audio, allow users to set up a multi-room system at low cost. However, users must also use a compatible music streaming service for this. If several Echo speakers are distributed around the house, for example, the music stream can be played in all rooms simultaneously. This is especially practical for the next house party.

Smart Home and Streaming

If you don’t want to invest in a Smart TV, but still want to keep up with the latest movies and series from the Internet, streaming sticks are a good alternative. Powerful packages are offered, for example, by Apple TV or the Amazon FireTV Stick. The Amazon model allows controlling compatible household appliances via Alexa, while Apple’s Siri takes over this task. However, users should keep in mind that remote control via streaming stick only works when the TV is on, which means the focus should rather be on entertainment functions.

SAFETY

When motion, smoke, glass-break and water sensors work together with sirens and surveillance cameras, no danger escapes them. Anyone who wonders whether all the windows and doors are closed when they’re out and about can easily check on their smartphone. Networked alarm systems consequently give their own four walls a high standard of security and, as our test showed, are now affordable for everyone. With a smart home system, you can also create your own routines. For example, if the smart smoke detector detects smoke in the home, the smart home control panel can instruct the Philips Hue lamps to light up red throughout the home. The prerequisite is that the smart home system and Philips Hue are compatible with each other.

It also makes sense to use surveillance cameras, which can notify their owner by text message or send HD-quality images to the owner’s smartphone in the event of an alarm. In the event of an attempted break-in, the user can then inform the police or a trusted person.

Sometimes a monthly subscription fee is charged for storing the video recordings in the manufacturer’s cloud. Those who register each camera individually often pay more than users who choose a combination offer or buy the devices directly as a set.

How does a smart home help save energy?

The possibility of saving energy through intelligent networking is particularly attractive for smart lighting and heating control. Because WLAN thermostats for underfloor heating systems react intelligently to environmental sensors such as brightness, movements or temperature, unnecessary heating is avoided. The manufacturer tado from Munich, for example, also relies on geofencing technology: the WLAN thermostat switches off automatically when no one is at home and heats up in an energy-saving manner as soon as an occupant approaches the house. Competing products such as the Netatmo radiator thermostat use a different strategy. They analyze the heating behavior based on the occupants’ usage habits and adapt to them after a self-learning phase. By the way, remote control of the heating via app means that temperatures can still be adjusted at any time if spontaneous changes are desired.

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