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The devices we use every day seem to get most of the attention – smart TVs, computers, game consoles and phones. But great things have been happening for the everyday stuff in our homes that we’ve gotten so used to. Whether it’s the simple tasks of turning power points and light switches on and off, keeping our homes secure or keeping them clean, there are smart devices ready to help make life easier.

smart lighting

The Automatic Tree!

It’s the time of year to set up the Christmas tree and decorate it with tinsel, trinkets and, of course, lots of lights – great fun in itself! Even those humble lights have come a long way thanks to technology, now employing LEDs for far greater safety and low power usage, along with the sort of twinkly special effects only LEDs can do.

 But even better, a smart plug lets you turn power to the tree lighting on and off either on a schedule, or with voice command – just plug it into the wall, plug the lights into the smart plug, and set it all up with Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant.

jb's top tips

  • Just about anything can use a smart plug – so you can set up Christmas music with your tree lights and have it all activate on command!
  • PICK UP: Extra smart plugs that work with your choice of voice assistant. The possibilities are endless.

Light The House

Smart plugs are a brilliant way to automate just about anything, but when it comes to the lights in and around your home, smart lights can be a brilliant upgrade that give you complete control over not just turning lights on and off, but controlling their brightness and colour, and letting you create scenes to suit the mood of what you’re doing. 

 Smart lighting is available to fit all standard light fittings, as well as in custom-sizeable strips that make for great bench or workstation lights. And it’s all controlled with your voice via your voice assistant of choice.

jb's top tips

  • Check your light fittings before you buy, to be sure you get the right globes for each one. In Australia there’s a mix of screw-thread and bayonet-cap fittings, so do a tally of what you have before buying.
  • PICK UP: Smart outdoor lighting, so you can add welcoming light all around your home that can be scheduled to turn on automatically at night.

smart speakers

Smart Stuff

Of course, a smart home needs easy access to smart assistants, which is where the cleverness of smart displays and speakers comes into play. Not only are they brilliant for listening to podcasts, music or audiobooks while you cook, work or relax, they can also be a way to catch up with friends face-to-face, discover new recipes and more. Display or no display, it’s your choice!

Smart security

Having to go and open the front door to see who’s there seems so old-fashioned when you can bring some smart tech on board to make your home more secure. One of the most popular and easy ways of making your home safer is with a smart doorbell. 

The humble doorbell might not seem like a prime candidate for a smart upgrade, but with the addition of a video camera and connection to both your network and the cloud, next-gen doorbells let you instantly see who’s at the door on your smart display, or even in a pop-up window on your TV. 

Combine that with a smart lock – which lets you unlock your door by voice or fingerprint while keeping intruders out – and you’ve got some seriously smart security without having to spend a fortune.

jb's top tips

  • Some smart doorbells have motion sensors so you can tell when someone’s at the door even if they don’t ring the bell – great for being alerted to parcel deliveries
  • PICK UP: A subscription to your doorbell maker’s cloud service, so you can view footage of who’s come to your door from anywhere in the world.

smart cleaning

Keep Clean with a Robot

No matter what size apartment or house you live in, one of the most repetitive chores would have to be doing the vacuuming. That’s where the robot vacuum comes in to save the day, quietly and stealthily. 

What was once the stuff of science fiction is now a thing you can have in your home – a small autonomous vacuum cleaner that makes its own way around living areas, mapping out where it can and can’t go and working out an ideal pattern for it to completely clean each room. 

It will then happily look after the vacuuming for you – hopping off its recharging station to go pick up dust and dirt, returning when it needs a recharge (or, in the case of some advanced models, to drop off its load of dust and head out again). Especially great for households with pets that shed a lot of fur, these are the best kind of smart tech – the kind that thinks for itself and doesn’t need too much managing.

jb's top tips

  • Give your robot vacuum a few days to learn the most efficient route around your home.
  • If you have lots of hard floors, a vacuum that has a mop feature might be worth considering.
  • PICK UP: Extra disposable dust bags for your vacuum and its docking station.

Massagers

Get the Massage

Cooling down after a good workout or unwinding after a long ride or run, your body’s going to let you know you’ve been giving it the exercise it needs. And there’s nothing better than a good massage when everything’s tensed up and sore – in fact, it can be the perfect antidote to a long workday as well. Not having a personal masseuse on hand to take care of this for you isn’t a problem anymore, thanks to the wide range of electronic massagers that are available these days.

Using powerful motors to get the job done, these devices come in multiple shapes and sizes. There are even specialised massagers for those with leg aches and pains.

jb's top tips

  • Massage guns can deliver intense vibration that isn’t for everyone – if you’re wondering which device is for you, ask a professional.
  • PICK UP: A spare battery so you're always ready to go.