How to Choose Your Smart Home Device
Smart home devices, such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa and the like, are becoming a staple feature of a modern home. Able to integrate multiple products, they can offer you more than a simple cooking timer and voice activated radio. When in the market for one, however, there are multiple things you should consider.
Most of these systems offer you more than just voice commands, able to be operated from your mobile phone as well, which is useful for when you’re not at home. It helps to choose a system that you can link your existing products together with, as not all smart home systems will be compatible with what you already have. Likewise, if you’re thinking about purchasing any technology in future, you should consider how it might be able to integrate with the device.
Apple’s HomeKit integrates multiple Apple devices, such as iPhones, iPads and their computers. Rather usefully, voice commands can be implemented through Siri on any device, as the devices pair with one another. The only downside is that Apple’s third party manufacturer limitations means that there aren’t as many devices that it can connect to. On the plus side, the security of Apple’s hub is better than any other. Data is also stored locally rather than on the cloud.
Making use of Google Assistant, Google’s Home hubs come in various types, with touch screens and speakers. The technology is compatible with over 50,000 smart devices, and the voice control is generally considered more advanced than other systems. Two actions can be completed in the same sentence, rather than split into separate commands, making it more proficient than other smart devices.
Alexa is easily integrated into more devices than any other manufacturer. A separate app needs to be downloaded, but it is compatible with both Android and iOS software. Like Google hubs, Amazon’s also come in different types, with some featuring touchscreens and others being a simple speaker.
How to Choose
Now that the differences are out of the way, how do you go about choosing the right device for you? It’s all about understanding what can be controlled from which system. Google’s Nest products aren’t compatible with Apple’s HomeKit, but are easily controlled from the Google Home app, which is available on both Android and iOS.
Hive heating systems are generally regarded as top-of-the-range, simply because they’re easily integrated. Amazon’s Alexa is able to pick up new thermostats, valves and light bulbs automatically. The Apple Home app, on the other hand, requires manual input, needing you to specify which room a device is in and to name each device.
The best advice when it comes to choosing a smart home device is to stick to one platform. When setting up and connecting your system, it’s easiest to schedule it all from one device. Whether making use of voice commands as and when you need them or programming actions to happen at set times throughout the day, do what works for you. Certain phrases can be programmed to trigger multiple commands as well, saving on time.