Best smart home devices: Intelligent tech to level-up to the smart-life – Evening Standard

February 18, 2022 by No Comments

Best for: bringing 21st illumination into your life

Security is obviously a hugely defining factor of the smart home and while the all-seeing eye of a video doorbell or the full-on burglar-beating force of an intelligent alarm system can protect your property in ways even The Mob can’t, you should never overlook the element of lighting control when it comes to deterring criminals.

What attracts a Raffles-alike to your home in the first place? Simple: a perceived lack of activity. If you’ve left your gaff (imagine a gravel-like East End accent here) looking like nobody is at home, then you’ve made some whey-faced goon’s larceny list, you mug. Yep, it’s an easy enough system for potential property pilferers to use in order to judge whether your place is ripe for the pillaging or not, so keep them clueless.

Smart lighting, particularly in the form of the eminently affordable Philips Hue Starter Kit, can be programmed to turn the lights on in your home in random patterns to give the impression of occupation. Also, you can have them activate automatically when you return home, throwing illumination all around and keeping those who lurk in the shadows at bay.

But the Philips Hue kit can also be used to create ambiance and set the scene, transforming the feel of a room in an instant from, say, dazzlingly bright den of intense work-based concentration to low-lit lounge of lasciviousness at the touch of an app or with a whispered word to any compatible digital assistant.

Infinitely expandable, the Starter Kits are available with GU10, B22 or E27 bulbs, with white and/or coloured light capabilities, so they slot into your existing fixtures. Then, once connected to the included Hub system and with your free smartphone app downloaded, you can control the lights anyway you want, from any room, brightening or dimming, picking scenes or creating your own ambiance from the whole colour spectrum as you see suitable.

What’s more, completely programmable – as mentioned – you can even utilise bedside lamps to nudge you gently into the waking world each day by acting as a simulated sunrise and, indeed, lead you back into the Land of Nod at the end of the day by slowly dimming down.

The £90 Philips Hue Starter Kit tested here came with two smart bulbs, the Hub and a very handy Hue dimmer switch which can be wirelessly attached to walls to be used as a remote control anywhere in your home. But, be warned, smart lighting control is – as I have discovered – highly addictive and with more bulbs on order, soon the whole house will be tripping the light fantastic.

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