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Roman Ahrens

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A home that thinks things through

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A connected home? It’s all just a gimmick! That’s a pretty common response when you start talking about smart homes. There’s still a lot of skepticism out there about intelligent homes. However, with just a few devices you really can make life smarter within your own four walls and save yourself time, money and stress in the process.

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I can easily set "situations" in the app on my smartphone, such as raising the shutters or playing music from my speaker at a certain time.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no morning person, but my days could get off to a much more pleasant start. For instance, unlike being rudely awoken by the crashing din of an alarm clock, waking up in a smart house is actually a half-way bearable experience – as far as is humanly possible.

Depending on the “situation” I’ve set on my smartphone app, when it’s time to get up, the roller blinds will automatically draw back, for example, and music will start to play through my speakers. The best thing is that the smart plug connected to my coffee machine makes sure a fresh cup is waiting for me in the kitchen before my day has even properly begun. What’s more – and this is a classic – if I’ve once again run out of milk or cold meats for breakfast, I don’t have to rely on my sieve-like memory to make sure I buy more in, as I can just tell my smart speaker to add them to my shopping list.

Speaker, speaker in the smart home, who’s the fair… oops, what’s the weather like today?

And since the speaker is on already, I may as well ask it what the weather is going to be like today before I set off for work. Do I need a T-shirt or an umbrella?

As a cyclist, I’d prefer no rain at all, of course. That way, I’d arrive home dry at the end of the day. If you take the car to work and therefore don’t really care what the weather is like, you might still find that connecting your home and your car will bring some practical benefits. Thanks to compatible/special GPS technology, your car can tell when you’re getting close to home. That way, you can make sure you don’t arrive at a cold, dark apartment but are welcomed instead by a warm, well-lit home – perhaps even with some music playing to set the perfect mood. Virtually instant relaxation.

Having a cozy evening in front of the TV is a great way to kick back. One click in an app is all it takes to dim the lights, switch on the TV, lower the blinds and forget about the outside world – all without having to move from the sofa.

More time for other things

For me, it’s the convenience of smart homes that appeals most – wasting precious time on things that can be automated is something I’d rather avoid.

However, if you like to be careful with your money, then the opportunity to lower your energy usage (and therefore your bills) is also a great benefit. I always sleep with the window open at night – a hangover from my upbringing, if you like. Thanks to a contact on my window, my smart home knows that the window is open and automatically turns down the heating.  And when I’m going to bed, I can also switch off all the electronic devices in my house that are connected to smart plugs. That way, nothing is draining my bank account by eating up power on standby.

A connected home is also pretty practical when you’re on vacation and don’t really want to spend any time thinking about your house. A smart home can be left to fend for itself without further thought. Besides the alarm system with its movement sensors and camera, your “virtual house sitter” can also play music and switch lights on and off to give the impression that somebody’s home – even though you’re thousands of miles away without a care in the world.

For me, that’s the biggest bonus – I can waste less time thinking about my home, but still rest assured that everything is as it should be.

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