Looking for a thoughtful gift for mum? We look at some of our favourite home automation hacks to help you create her dream smart home.
Setting up a smart home for your mum will not only make her Mother's Day great, it will make every day after a little better. If convenience, energy efficiency, greater home security and – of course, a bit of science-fiction novelty – are all things Mum would appreciate, then you can't go past an automated home.
1. Set up a smart speaker
Gift Mum her own digital assistant that helps her chat to her friends, find recipes, order food, set reminders and listen to her favourite tracks using only her voice.
Essentially, a smart speaker listens for voice commands and then carries out tasks – communicating with a mobile, TV and even other smart home devices via Wi-Fi or mobile networks. Compact, affordable and convenient, they're a great source of information and entertainment when Mum has her hands busy. Set up is easy – simply plug it in, download the relevant apps and start talking.
2. Install smart lighting
Impress Mum by upgrading her home with wirelessly controlled lighting, which lets her turn on, off, dim, and schedule her lights from a mobile or remote.
Smart bulbs (both edison and bayonet options) can also connect to other devices or events around the house; such as turning on when someone enters the room, her phone comes in range of her home or someone rings the intercom.
Generally, smart lights require a home automation hub which communicates through Bluetooth®, Wi-Fi (or similar) and then connects to an app on a Smartphone, PC or tablet.
A Wi-Fi-enabled smart light even lets Mum control her lights while she's away – excellent for home security, as she can trigger lights throughout the day and night to mimic her presence.
3. Invest in smart plugs
The best home automation systems are so nifty that they make you feel like the house is running itself – and smart plugs are no exception.
These plugs fit between a power socket and an appliance, letting Mum turn it on and off from an app on her phone. It sounds basic, but scheduling appliances to turn on and off at specific times of the day is a great energy saver. When standby power from devices makes up to 10% of our energy bills (and 1% of global CO2 emissions), pinpointing those energy suckers is crucial – and smart plugs also let her know exactly which appliances are the biggest electricity vampires. Mum can also schedule the air-con to turn on before she gets home, or even organise the slow-cooker to start while at work. Coming home to a hot meal prepared by the house will definitely feel like something out of science fiction!