How to start automating your home

The idea of home automation has been around for many years; however, it is only more recently that it has become a practical possibility. This is thanks to the widespread availability of reliable domestic Wi-Fi networks and broadband internet.

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This has led to a wide selection of ‘smart’ devices coming onto the market. For people considering home automation, it can be difficult to know where to start. Home automation is not only about convenience but can also help us to make our homes energy efficient.  As a first step, think about what you want to achieve.

Start small

You don’t have to do everything at once; in fact, things are evolving all the time and it may be best not to. Most people choose to begin with something relatively simple, such as smart lightbulbs or a dimmer that can be controlled remotely via a smartphone app. These are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, so you can get a feel for how the technology works. Some manufacturers offer starter kits with all the things you need to get going, which can be a good introduction.

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What is important is to ensure compatibility. If you are just starting out, this doesn’t matter too much; however, you need to make sure any extra products you buy in future are backwards compatible with your older kit. This is particularly true if you want to add voice activation via a digital assistant.

Adding sophistication

Once you start to become comfortable with the technology, you can begin to add more sophisticated products, such as smart thermostats and security systems that let you monitor and control your home remotely or home cinema systems that enable you to customise your viewing experience – lights, sound, etc – with voice commands. When you start to consider this level of sophistication, you may need to get expert help from a home automation company such as to ensure everything is properly configured.

One important thing to consider is the ecosystem of your devices. This is generally governed by the type of digital assistant or home hub you choose, as you need to be sure that your other devices will ‘talk’ to it. You will usually find compatibility information listed on manufacturers’ websites and it is always worth checking before you buy to avoid expensive mistakes.

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