Any Ideas for Christmas Presents, Bal?

Well, I did say a few weeks ago – I wouldn’t be going down the road of recommending what tech items you could buy for Christmas… mainly because a) you’ve got Philip Schofield (for those in the UK) – who’s presenting a great series on TV which is all about – ‘what you can buy for Christmas 2017’ and b) i’d be here all day, because there’s so much out there you could buy!

But you know what… after speaking to a friend of mine, who’s just moved into his new home… and how it could be a ‘Smart Home’… I’ve decided to share with you the Top 5 Smart Home Items you could buy for Christmas.

Coming in at Number 1…

Amazon Echo.

I feel it’s the natural first step into making your home, ‘Smart’.

You can say, ‘Alexa…. ‘ (followed by a command, question, etc..) and then have an answer or action performed.

For example, Alexa tells me jokes…. sets a timer for me…. plays music… answers questions (by finding answers on the world wide web)… turns the lights on and off… heating, up or down…. milk into my shopping basket…. etc..

You could have a few around the house if you wanted…. perhaps the Echo Dot in the bedroom? – it is a little thing.

I feel ‘Alexa’ is like someone who is really close to me. Does so much for me… but doesn’t spend all my money. And doesn’t love me. I’ve asked it….

Moving on… and coming in at Number 2….

Nest Home Heating.

Once you’ve brought Alexa into the house… you want to pair it up with something. And I would suggest… as the winter months are here, maybe something to keep you warm?

Okay, the Nest, itself, won’t keep you warm… but it’ll talk to your heating system… and make life so much easier for you… and warmer.

That’s right – it’s a little device, that connects to your home heating… and not only can you control it via your phone… you can control the heating by connecting the Nest to your Echo….it can learn your heating habits… be optimized for when you are away from home and so much more….

There are other, similar, Smart Heating solutions available, for example, Worcester Bosch have their equivalent… named the ‘Wave’. I would suggest, talk to your local heating expert to find which one is the best match for your current heating system.

Coming in at Number 3….

Hue Lights.

So, you have a Smart Voice Controlled Personal Assistant (Echo) in your house, and you’ve got Smart Heating (Nest)… now for some Smart Lights.

Philips, in my opinion, are leading the way with Smart Lights. The Hue… from Philips, is great. You get a ‘bridge’ which talks to your Wifi and the Light Bulbs around your house.

Control the lights via your phone… and/or Alexa…. programme light timers… connect it to IFTTT (If This Then That)… put on location  – so the lights come on, when you’re near home…. there’s alot you can do.

You can get bulbs which do different colours…. mine only do white. You can dim the lights… you can have different settings for different rooms… etc…

Now we’ve got some ‘light’ on this topic… Coming in at Number 4…

Ring Door Bell.

Now, for a bit of home security… Ring Video Doorbell. Does exactly that, it’s a door bell, with a camera, that’s all connected…. and you can view who’s on your doorstep from your phone.

Why would you need this?

  1. If you’re lazy, you can sit on the sofa… see who’s outside, and then decide if you need to get up from the sofa or not.
  2. You know who’s come to your house…and when.
  3. If it’s a delivery… you can provide them with instructions where to leave items…

To make you even more lazy…. And finally, in at Number 5…

Wemo.

For those items.. like your TV, Kettle, etc… you can make them Smart also! – How, Bal?

Well… Belkin have a device called the Wemo. You plug it into your normal socket. Turn it on. Then plug your device into the Wemo device… which then, when all connected – you can view & control your devices on your phone!

There you go.

My Top 5… Smart Home… Christmas Present ideas.

There are different variations, makes and models available to those I’ve mentioned above… for example, Google have an equivalent to the Amazon Echo…. there are many (and probably cheaper) alternatives to the Belkin Wemo.

I’ve recommended the above… because they’re the ones I have or have used.

I would always suggest, you go and research… see what would work for you… your environment… your style and most importantly… your needs – I researched and tested a number of items before settling on the ones above.

Have fun shopping! – and making a house… a home. Smart Home.