Getting Smart with Home Automation
What if all the devices in your life could connect to the internet? Not just computers and smartphones but everything: lights, speakers, clocks, doorbells, cameras, windows, blinds, heaters, cooking utensils, pet feeders, you name it. And what if all of those devices could all communicate with each other, provide you with information and follow your commands? Forget the what ifs… It’s happening now. It’s the Internet of Things (IoT) and its integral to the future of smart homes and home automation.
Home automation is (as it sounds) all about automating the ability to control day-to-day household items, with a simple push of a button (or even better a voice command). There are many different smart home product categories, whether you’re planning on kitting the whole house out or are just sick of trying to find the light switch in the dark, there’s something for everyone.
Some activities are simpler and less expensive than others, for example to set up a lamp to turn on and off at your whim, it’s pretty simple and relatively inexpensive. However, other devices like advanced surveillance cameras, will require a more serious investment of both time and money.
From lights that turn on with a clap to pet bowls that feed themselves – the possibilities with home automation are near on endless…
Your Smart Home
We’ve rounded up some of the top home automation devices that could make your home work smarter, not harder.
Alexa is an intelligent personal assistant developed by Amazon, capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic, and other real time information, such as news. Alexa can also control several smart devices using itself as a home automation system.
Fun fact: You can even plan a vacation by simply asking!
“The ultimate digital photo frame” – but that’s not all. Google Nest can: provide you hands-free help from the Google Assistant, play videos and songs on YouTube, jump start your day with personalised routines, and manage all of your home automation devices.
Fun fact: Google Assistant gives you up to 11 voices to choose from, from John Legend to Insecure’s Issa Rae!
Sonos’ debut smart speaker is a cleanly designed, feature-rich and great-sounding device that brings together the best of both ecosystems. You’ve got ever-improving voice assistants, like Alexa and Google Assistant, and then you’ve got Sonos with its own multi-room smarts. If you’re prepared to pay the price premium over Amazon’s or Google first-party speakers, the One is best smart speaker bar none.
Fun fact: Trueplay is a feature that automatically customizes the audio settings for the layout of the room!
2020’s smartest baby monitor – see and hear your favourite little one, from across town or across the world. A camera above the rest that can: track sleep and provide guidance, send real-time temperature notifications, enable two-way audio (for midnight lullabies and a reassuring hello), keep cords away from little fingers.
Furbo is an interactive smart dog camera that lets you see, talk, and toss treats to your dog from anywhere.
Fun fact: This smart device has been seen on Paul O’Grady for the Love of Dogs…
The Nest Thermostat is an electronic, programmable, and self-learning Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat that optimizes heating and cooling of homes and businesses to conserve energy.
Fun fact: Since 2011, Google estimate that it’s saved over 39 billion kWh of energy in millions of homes worldwide.
Pegged as the best budget smart light bulb available, the Wyze Bulb is perfect for illuminating your space, big or small.
Fun fact: You can even set the mood; adjusting the warmth to cool-white for your morning coffee and dim soft-white for a relaxing evening.
The most powerful, accurate and efficient sous vide cooker in Anova’s range, ensuring food is never under- or overcooked but at the perfect texture for you, every single time.
Fun fact: Anova are the first manufacturer to provide a Wi-Fi version of an immersion circulator!
Brava is the cooking solution that will quickly become your go-to for consistently great tasting food, stress free. Brava pairs revolutionary cooking technology with a chef-powered service to bring out the best in your ingredients and make cooking at home easier, faster and tastier than ever before.
Fun fact: The Brava uses less energy to cook and entire meal than a conventional oven uses just to preheat!
So, what is Hyperfast Broadband?
The term Hyperfast broadband is used to describe internet speeds of 500Mbs or higher. We are currently building Fibre to the Premises networks (FTTP, or FTTH – Fibre to the Home). This is a relatively new broadband technology which can provide much faster, gigabit-capable broadband speeds. Fibre to the Premises means that the fibre broadband internet connection from the local exchange is connected directly to the router in your home, which is much faster than the old, Victorian copper telephone line used by many other broadband providers.
Our Hyperfast broadband reaches speeds of up to 900Mbs, with an symmetrical service – meaning that the download and upload speeds we offer are the same (upload speeds are important if you’re zoom calling, live streaming and uploading large files). Our Hyperfast service relies solely on fibre cables to connect your home to the service (no copper). This means it is able to deliver a much more reliable, faster, future-ready broadband service to your home.
Currently, only 20.33% of homes in the UK have access to full-fibre, Hyperfast broadband (FTTP). Majorly trailing behind the rest of Europe, with 10 countries already surpassing 95% FTTP coverage. Although there has been a significant push in the full-fibre rollout over the last year from ourselves and a number of other alt-nets, which has helped to drive the market forward at a remarkable pace, the UK still currently ranks 3rd from bottom in FTTP rollout in Europe – so there’s clearly still a very way long to go.
In terms of broadband speeds, the UK currently ranks 47th out of 221 countries. *
Isn’t that what I have now?
Typically, the ‘Superfast’ service provided by other internet service providers, still relies partly on copper cables to transmit the connection from the cab (the green cabinet at the end of your road), to your home. Due to the nature of the material, copper is extremely unreliable in carrying broadband signals – meaning that you may not always get the speeds you pay for and can result in intermittent service (translating as the buffering wheel of doom you may get when streaming). Other providers do not offer a symmetrical service – so although you may get a ‘decent’ download speed, your upload speed is likely to be considerably less.
Why do I need full-fibre, Hyperfast broadband?
With our homes ever-evolving, so must our broadband connectivity… Good news! It is.
Full-fibre broadband is not just good for now, but will equip you for all your future broadband needs.
As our homes become smarter, the more bandwidth will be needed to ensure home automation devices can run in your home smoothly. The more devices you have connected to your internet service, the slower it will run… So if you have limited bandwidth it’s likely your connection will struggle to keep up with the massive brainpower used to interconnect all of the devices to your network.
We are continuing to build our full-fibre networks across the East of England, to ensure rural communities can access future-ready, gigabit capable broadband. To register your interest in our Hyperfast rollout and see if our network is available in your area, please enter your postcode here.