The rise of smart assistants from Google and more has been a huge leap forward for the smart home dream: a house that makes your home-living better, with all your appliances and devices attuned to your own unique needs. So if you’re on the fence or wondering what this is all about, don’t - this primer’s for you. This year’s the year to take your humble abode into the 21st century!

Reason #1: Getting started is easy!

Though the idea was first brought up in science-fiction in the 20th century, the first wave of smart home devices didn’t arrive till the turn of the second millennia, when the concept of The Internet of Things entered the mainstream. Home appliance-makers developed  WiFi-enabled products, increasing their usefulness to consumers - for example, the smart refrigerator that could tell you the freshness of your stored foods, or the Roomba that swept floors for you.

The only problem at the time was what it took to actually own one: you needed to have quite a bit of disposable income, and also the phone space, as each smart appliance would have its own clunky proprietary app to download.

The Internet of Things: a term coined by MIT researcher Kevin Ashton in a presentation to Procter & Gamble in 1999 to represent the network of physical devices that could be connected to the internet, gathering and analysing information on a large scale to better the way we live.

The rise of affordable smart assistant devices (like the Google Home Mini pictured) that connect and manage our home devices has made it easy for everyone to have a smart home.

Thankfully, the technology has become more affordable with each improvement, with smart assistant devices like Google Home along with smart power outlets like Belkin’s Wemo® Switch being examples of such recent innovations. These devices allow you to convert your current appliances at home into smart devices or voice-control them from a single hub, without having to put holes into your walls (and wallet.)

Reason #2: You’ll be living better.

The smart home isn’t about making us couch zombies, but improving the way we live. Smart security devices auto-lock the doors when you leave and will only open to those you authorise, preventing potential security issues like breaking in with illegally-minted keys. Home control centres coordinate rapid emergency responses in an unfortunate event of a burglary, bringing peace of mind.

Moreover, for those of us with elderly or infant dependents at home, smart devices like motion cameras and health-monitoring sensors can help us better care for them. They can tell us where people are in the house and what they were last doing (useful if caring for dementia sufferers or young children), or track certain vital signs (like under-mattress sensors for infants when they sleep).

Such are the advancements today that going with smart home devices isn’t the lazy option anymore, but simply the better one.

Reason #3: The convenience is real.

Automation is of course, a big part of the smart home philosophy, and with good reason. Being able to remotely control or schedule the switching on/off of your lights or air-conditioning is a neat feature for most, but for the disabled, such smart home devices are lifesavers. And these gadgets also have the effect of helping you shave dollars off your utility bills: for instance, the previously mentioned Wemo® Switch also lets you know (via its app) your appliances’ energy efficiency.

The Wemo® Switch Smart Plug  easily plugs into power outlets, giving any appliance in your home the ability to be app-controlled and hooked up to your WiFi. (Image credit: Belkin)

But automating tasks doesn’t lie exclusively in the area of energy-saving devices, they can help us in a pinch too. For instance, when you need to call a taxi, make a quick online grocery run, or schedule a meeting, you won’t need to fumble around on your phone anymore - just ask your home assistant or tap a button to get it done. Really, we’ve only just scratched the surface!

Reason #4: Because its pure coolness.

You can play 43 games and more with Google Home, from the Battleship-style Sub War to the D&D-esque 6 Swords (don’t worry, you won’t be judged for your Stranger Things cosplay.) (Image credit: Next Day Blinds)

But let’s face it - after all these great practical applications that you’ve read, the truth is that everyone just wants what the Jetsons (or Star Trek) have - a super-cool futuristic smart home. But here’s the thing: program your fitness band to trigger the lights and brew coffee when you wake? Automatically sync your lamps to the mood of your home playlist? Have your home play game master to your party of friends?

Check, done, and check. The future is already here.

Before you jump in:

Setting aside some time to plan your wish list and goals will be a good first step. Before that though, it’ll be useful, necessary even, to make sure you have a speedy broadband connection to keep all your smart devices ticking. StarHub HomeHub Plus does just that, bringing you ultra-fast fibre broadband, fibre TV, mobile broadband, a home phone line AND a FREE Google Home Mini in one tidy bundle - it’s everything you’ll need to get started on your smart home today!

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