The Digital Home Magazine

Smart tech reviews, how-to's and more

The essentials

  • With smart home devices, you can network your home and conveniently control it via smartphone - from the heating system and lighting to all security systems. And that from anywhere in the world.
  • Many devices are also compatible with other systems. For example with smart speakers from Apple, Amazon or Google.
  • Some brand manufacturers offer different household appliances that are compatible with each other, bundled in one app and can be expanded as required.

The best smart home devices:

With just a few simple steps, you can smartly network entire areas in your home. We have selected the most important and convenient starter packages for you. Plus smart home devices that you can use to upgrade existing household appliances.

Voice assistants

Voice assistant are usually integrated into smartphones or smart speakers. Voice assistants analyze spoken words, puts them into the correct context and reacts to them. If you speak to these devices, the device answers verbal questions via its voice software or controls other smart home devices connected to the same network. The most popular voice assistants are Google assistant, Siri and Alexa from Amazon.

Smart lighting

With Smart lighting you can monitor your home lighting from anywhere in the world. Dimming, switching on and off or scheduling automatic time switches works via an app or voice commands with your smart speakers. Systems vary from Wi-Fi only single bulbs to integrated hub based systems such as Philips Hue Bridge.

Smart home heating

By committing to a smart heating system you can either control your boiler, or radiator thermostats and intelligently control different room temperatures via a mobile phone app or smart speaker. Most systems come with a base hub allowing you to upgrade gradually, adding presence sensors, motion detectors and thermometers as needed.

Smart plug sockets

With Smart plugs set you can smartly upgrade all your electrical devices from floor lamps to coffee machines. Smart plugs can either be controlled via a smartphone app or via voice commands with Amazon Alexa or Google Home. So that the smart speakers know which connection you mean, you can give each socket its own name. Some plugs also report the power consumption of the connected device, and excellent feature if you’re looking to upgrade a dumb electric device like a kettle or washing machine.

Smart security cameras

A smart solution for more security. Smart surveillance camera sets generally work wirelessly operating with batteries. The systems are controlled via an app and the video recordings are saved in the cloud. Some cameras also double up as motion sensors and luminance sensors allowing you to control plugs and lighting.

Smart home device tips

The advantages are obvious: Smart home devices not only make your home more comfortable, you can also lower your energy costs or increase your security. There is now a smart solution for almost every area in the household. The offers are almost unmanageably diverse. For this reason, a few tips and hints to make your purchase decision easier:

With or without a Smart Hub

Some devices can simply be connected to your private WiFi network, requiring only an app for control. Other devices or systems sometimes require their own network, the heart of which is a base station, a so-called hub. Depending on the manufacturer, this is also called a bridge or controller. This is basically the hub that bundles and controls the devices. However, this can be an advantage, as these systems are usually expandable and often even compatible with other major manufacturers. For example, the smart home solutions from Bosch are compatible with the devices from Philips Hue. You should learn a little about the respective home automation protocols before committing to a smart hub.

Pay attention to compatibility

And the more smart home devices you have, the more cumbersome the handling of the different apps can be. The more compatible the individual devices are with each other, the easier it is for them to be bundled in one app, for example. It is even more convenient if the products are supported by Google, Apple or Amazon. The devices can then also be controlled using their voice assistants.

Consider Security

Smart home devices are of course potential data holes or gateways for criminals. For the most secure operation possible, you should look towards larger, better known brands who have a lot to lose and therefore pay more attention to security and who provide their systems with software updates. Consider an opensource system these can have considerable benefits compared to closed source proprietary systems.

Consider longevity

Buying into a closed system can leave you out of pocket if the manufacturer goes under, or changes their pricing model. Opensource formats allow you to move your devices to other hubs if the company producing it stop offering support or change their business model down the line.