The smart house. What’s it all about?

New to all this smart home business? Don’t worry about all the techy talk; let’s get back to basics.

Modern living room with bay window, grey sofa, TV, fireplace, green armchair and Hive smart devices around the room

What is a smart home?

Smart homes are actually much more straightforward (and simple to set up) than you might think. Short answer: any home can be a ‘smart home’.

Whether you live in a cosy old cottage, a ramshackle farmhouse or an apartment up in the clouds, all it takes to create a smart home is a broadband connection and a smart home device or two.

What is a smart home device?

It’s an electronic device that you can control over the internet. Like a light you can turn off from anywhere, a plug you can turn on with a tap of an app or a smart home camera that live streams straight to your smartphone.

What are the benefits?

Smart home devices give you peace of mind

Imagine being able to check if you left the iron on when you’re on the way to the airport using your smartphone. Or having your lights turn on and off automatically so it looks like someone’s home. Or looking at your living room from your sunbed.

Smart homes make life simpler

Helpful things, like getting a lamp on the landing to turn on automatically when you’re on the way to the bathroom at night, then turning off five minutes later. Or using a smart plug to suddenly turn things like TVs or kettles into smart house appliances.

Using smart products can save money

For example, with smart devices you can check all the lights are turned off from your phone or make sure your heating is only ever on when you need it.

Which smart home system should I get?

One of the great things about setting up a smart home is that you don’t have to buy lots of things straight away. A great way to create a smart home for beginners is to start with a smart light or a smart plug and see where it takes you.

But if you do want to take an all out approach, you can get bundles of products that work well together – like our very own Starter Pack. It’s a great starter pack that comes with the kit you need to get your lighting and appliances just right from wherever you are.

What is an Alexa smart home?

Firstly, let’s clarify what… or who… Alexa is.

Alexa is at the heart of the Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot. It’s the voice that tells you the weather forecast, plays music and generally helps out where it can. You can also use Alexa to control devices like smart house alarms, plugs, heating etc. with your voice:

‘Alexa, turn on my light.’


‘Alexa, set my living room to 20 degrees!’


That sort of thing.

So when you hear people talking about Alexa smart homes, more often than not they’re talking about homes that you can control with your voice.

Did you know?

Hopefully that gives you a clearer idea of what a smart home is all about.

But one more thing for the road. The first person to envision all this stuff was a Swiss architect called Le Corbusier. He described the house as a ‘machine for living in’ way back in 1923.

Under a century later, that metaphor is now a reality.

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