Smart homes: where to start

Not sure how to get started in the world of smart products? No problem, we can show you how you can easily start making your home smarter – one helpful smart product at a time.

What is a smart home?

A smart home is any regular home that uses smart products to carry out automated functions – like turning on your lights automatically.

A smart home can have different levels of “intelligence” – that is, you can have one smart product in a single room of the house, or you can have a multiple products in every room and outside as well. It all depends on how automated and smart you want your home to be.

What can a smart home do for you?

1. Make your life easier
Smart homes make every day smoother with automated functions that activate how you want, when you want – all controllable from your phone.

2. Save you time
Because everything’s automated, you can set and forget, and even skip the little time-consuming actions – like turning off appliances.

3. Save you money
A lot of smart products can be set to timers or schedules, which means you don’t have to remember to switch things off to save power.

4. Give you peace of mind
A smart home is a more secure home thanks to self-locking doors that log every entry, video doorbells with real-time notifications, and more.

Keen to learn more about what smart homes can do? Find out how to automate your home lighting and your home security.

 

How do smart products work?

Smart products work like any other appliance or gadget, but with extra features thanks to wireless technology. They also work differently depending on the wireless technology – or ‘protocol’ – they use.

What are protocols and do they matter?

Protocols are the wireless technology used by smart products, like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee and Z-Wave. They dictate how the product connects to you (via your phone/tablet), other products, and your home network.

On a basic level, protocols mostly work behind the scenes. So how you control each product will be largely the same, no matter what protocol it uses, i.e. you’ll likely control it on your phone via its app.

However, different protocols mean different “languages” for each product. So if you want all your smart products to sync up and trigger other complex smart functions, you’ll need to get a smart hub to act as a central control box – or a translator, so to speak.

Learn more about protocols in our smart home glossary, or find out what smart hubs can do in more detail.

What about smart speakers?

Smart speakers are voice-activated assistants that control smart products and do other helpful things, like schedule diary appointments, or tell you the weather forecast for the day.

Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Apple HomePod are all smart speakers – and they all use their own personal assistant, like Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri.

You don’t need a smart speaker to control your smart products, but they’re handy if you want to control them using voice commands.

What should I get to begin with?

It all depends on what you’d like to improve or simplify in your home. Do you want to boost your home security? Or maybe you’d like to get a few smart products to enhance your entertainment space?

If you’re not sure, a good place to start is to get a single smart product, for example a lighting or security product and then expand your smart home as you’re ready.

Make your home smart

Find our more about how you can turn your house into a smart home or view our full smart home range.

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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