Smarten up your home with Google Assistant

Staff Writer By Staff Writer - updated August 22nd, 2019
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There is so much we can now do with Google Assistant, and so much great new tech to help us make use of this smart way to control devices and get information! We're taking we're looking at Smart Home, Smart Speakers and other technology products that you buy for yourself today, and they are all easy to use.

Barking orders to my house is now one of my favourite past times, you can use your smartphone for this and it works brilliantly, but if you want the control to be available to all members of your household, getting either a Google Home Assistant or Echo Dot Alexa Smart Speaker is the way forward right now. The advantages of Google Assistant over Alexa are numerous, it integrates brilliantly with so much technology now thanks it being from Google and that oh so popular Android OS of theirs. It's also got quite a bit of personality too - you can have a lot of fun just to have it tell you random facts or challenge you with riddles as you potter around the house :)

The Wi-Fi Plug gives you wireless control of your power sockets, this includes scheduling the smart plug to automatically turn off the power to electronics when you're not using them (like when I go off to work each day) or randomly turn things on/off to simulate someone being at home (when I go away for Easter!). You can get creative and use these to control "dumb" appliances that work with on/off, things like fans or heaters, irons or lamps. You could also another version getting its NZ certification now, and this one also features energy monitoring so we can gather more information on which electronics draw the most power, giving you the knowledge that helps to budget power more effectively, should you want to reduce your power bill each month. 

The term Smart TV was coined a while back, but it's now so much more. A lot of TV available now have smart features built-in, but you can also add a media player device such as  Apple TV, DishTV or Chromecast via HDMI and this will make them amazing! If you're looking to buy a whole new TV you'll find that the same smart features enabled by Chromecast are a part of the Android TV smart OS suite too - the trick is that Chromecast connects to a wireless network, whereas depending on which model of TV you purchase, you might find yourself needing to actually plug it into an ethernet cable. If your stereo system has an HDMI in you can often also pop the Chromecast in and enjoy control of your audio system too!

There are two stand-out products in this category, the well-known robot vacuums and fairly new smart toothbrushes. The Robot vacuum will happily roam about the house cleaning up as it goes, returning to its own home base to charge when it needs too. The smart toothbrush works in a similar way (but still needs you to pop it into your mouth), once it's in there it'll start collecting info from the sensors giving you info of where you brush, for how long, and the total coverage so you know if you've missed a spot.

The Smart Light Bulb is another great addition for your home, they're as easy to install as screwing in a lightbulb (they include the bayonet adaptors too) and firing up the APP. Once installed you'll be able to turn on/off lights in different rooms, adjust colours/hues to suit and even do all that smart stuff like have them illuminate gradually to wake you up.

Having all this wonderful tech is nothing without a good wifi network to connect it all.  The TP-Link Deco M5 is a solid solution because it's ready for fibre and also modular in its design, allowing you to add more access points (which all share the same WiFi ID) should you need more area coverage.

Thinking about making your home a little bit smarter? Shop all latest Smart Home gear today! 

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Staff Writer

For the words, not the glory!

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