So you’ve gotten your smart speaker, extensively tested all of its features and asked it the meaning of life – What else is there left to do?
Quite a lot actually.
With the help of these 7 smart devices we’ll be showing you how to make the most out of your smart-setup, save a lot of time, sit back, and enjoy the feeling of robot slavery.
Table of Contents
1 – Wireless Smart Receivers
Almost any device can become a smart-device with a handy bluetooth adapter; and with the demand for Smart Speakers increasing at such a rapid rate, almost all big electronic companies and retailers are selling these things.
There is a large range of adapters to choose from (one for almost each connector and cable); for your TV, sound system, AV receiver, computer and many more. We would not recommend grabbing one of these if your devices have Bluetooth capabilities, but if you’ve invested a hefty amount into a beautiful sounding home sound system and have no AV receiver, consider getting your hands on one of these nifty gadgets.
For you music lovers; unfortunately most of these smart devices can only play music from compatible music services when using your voice, otherwise you can use in-app features like AirPlay for Soundcloud, to play almost anything on your smart speaker. But if you truely want to experience the hands-free lifestyle then consider paying for Spotify or Deezer and let Alexa/Google jam your tunes for you, on request.
2 – Coffee Machines
Probably our favourite item on this list – smart coffee machines. These magical devices create you a beautifully-brewed cup of coffee when you ask. Most of them connect to both your smartphone and your smart speaker, so no need to scream to your coffee machine in your kitchen, just use your smartphone.
You are able to set timers and schedules so you have a fresh cup of joe to wake up to every morning. And if you drink nearly as much coffee as we do, you know how much time this simple automation can save in a day.
Unfortunately most of these smart speaker-compatible coffee machines have a steep price tag on them but can be a great investment and save you some precious time in your mornings.
Depending on what you get you may need to buy yourself those special ‘coffee pods’ which can be a pain to change after every cup. So if you see yourself getting one of these machines, rather go for one with a built in coffee bean grinder – yes, coffee grinders inevitably make a lot of noise, but we personally believe this is a great trade-off rather than being stuck with the same few capsule flavours and constantly restocking those expensive capsules. Being made out of aluminium, these pods are also not great for the environment, taking a minimun of 150 years for them to breakdown in landfills.
3 – LED Bulbs & Lighting
One of the first smart products to be released alongside the smart speakers themselves -these amazing devices allow you to control your lighting from anywhere in your home.
Using either your phone or your own built-in voice, you can change the colour of your home in an instant. These nifty devices come in many shapes and sizes to really get that mood you are looking for in your home, and can dim and strobe till your heart’s content.
On the other hand, pretty much all of these devices require some sort of ‘sold separately’ hub or connector to get them up and running with your smart speaker. There are alternatives to the expensive mainstream brands that still interact perfectly with your smart speaker or lighting control app.
4 – Smart Plugs
A simple yet useful device – smart plugs monitor the heat of the devices plugged into it and allow you to control whether the device plugged in is on or off. They can turn almost any standard electronic device into a smart device. They can be scheduled to turn on or off and can also be controlled remotely by your smartphone.
Some of these plugs offer some awesome features such as energy consumption monitoring, WiFi connectivity (no need for those ‘sold separately’ hubs) and can prevent devices from surging or drawing unnecessary amounts of power.
On the other hand, some of these plugs can be quite clunky and may not be ergonomically designed for your plug setup – they may overlap onto other sockets rendering them unusable. The smart multi-plugs are probably your best bet but if you’re willing to spend the extra penny then you can go for an entire socket replacement, unfortunately there aren’t many retailers (or they are just difficult to find) for the smart sockets in South Africa, so maybe stick to the plugs for now.
5 – Smart Thermostats
There is nothing quite as nice as waking up to a heated room in Winter and not having to run to the shower, change in an instant or succumb to the beautiful heat and comfort your bed provides you with – but thanks to these smart thermostats you can wake up and get the same comfort your bed provides you, everywhere in your home.
These thermostats have scheduling, can be remotely controlled from your phone or smart speaker and have easy-to-use interfaces. You can set which zones you want to cool to save on energy consumption and have day and night temperature cycles. Some of the newer smart thermostats have automated learning and determine when your house is likely to be empty or when you are likely to arrive so it can pre-heat/pre-cool your home for you just before you arrive.
There are few retailers for thermostats in South Africa as not many people have cooling or air conditioning systems setup.
6 – Home Door-Locks
One of the cooler devices you can pick up for your smart home – smart locks are a great way to open your door hands free. Although most people are sceptical about these smart locks, there are a few proper ones that really do provide you with convenience, security and an almost key-less lifestyle. Of course we don’t recommend installing one of these locks and throwing the keys to your home away, stay cautious and keep your keys on hand.
Only a few models sync with your smart speaker otherwise they use sensors to check whether your phone is nearby or use one-time PINs that your app can generate for other people wanting to access your home. The more secure smart locks notify you when your door is properly locked and when people walk in and out of your front door.
7 – Robot Vacuums
The last piece to the ‘lazy lifestyle’ collection, the smart vacuums give you a scheduled cleaning experience. Set it to go once you leave your house and come back to a spotless home everyday. A handful of these models work with Smart Speakers, but this is bound to increase as the excitement around smart speakers grows.
These little robots do a pretty good job at navigating your home and can even tackle the treacherous dining room area where the chairs hang out. Some of the newer models are even able to re-dock themselves on their charging stations and have small front-facing cameras so you can monitor them and make sure they’re not trashing your place while you’re gone.
With technology growing at such a rapid rate smart speakers will eventually become a common household object and almost a necessity to operate and function the future ‘Smart Home’. With the recent release of these nifty products it should only be proof that smart speakers are the hub for all things ‘smart’. So make your life a breeze and get comfortable with the standard of the future.
Do you have any of these gadgets?
Scared of the possibility of your Robo Vacuum overthrowing the human race?
Need someone to answers your questions?
Well, get yourself a Smart Speaker – the household companion with the answer to all your questions.