Smart home systems and devices are everywhere we look these days, but we were surprised to hear that 50% of the 10,000 BT Shop customers we surveyed recently don’t currently own a single smart home product? We know, how have these people survived having to turn lights on by themselves and pressing play on their stereo rather than asking a virtual assistant to play it for them?
Between January and March 2019 we spoke to 10,000 BT Shop customers to find out if they owned any smart home products and how they used them – and if they didn’t own one, we asked them why.
While many of us are well aware of the many benefits that smart home products have brought to our homes, there are still many people who are yet to even interact with a smart home device and don’t feel the need to, either. We all live our lives differently and for some people it’s just not important for them to automate when lights come on in their homes or to have a virtual assistant capable of telling them the weather forecast before leaving the house.
54% of customers said they were completely new to the idea of a smart home with 83% of all surveyed stating that they would be looking to buy a smart home product at some stage in 2019 (including those who currently owned smart home products and those who currently don’t).
Smart Home Week between 20th and the 26th of May 2019 is a great way of raising awareness of what smart home systems and devices are available as well as the undoubted benefits. 91% of our customers said that they saw the convenience behind smart home products and 47% genuinely believed that smart home products made their life easier.
To help you find out just how that is we’ve put together a collection of smart home scenarios so you can choose the right smart home product or system for you. Smart home products definitely make a difference to what you can do when you are – and are not – at home, helping to save both time and money. But we understand that, for someone new to the world of smart home systems and devices, it can be confusing as to just what each product does. For example, can you turn lights on and off with a smart speaker? Is a smart speaker just like all other speakers in your home? Is a smart plug just a plug socket? If you’re asking these or similar questions, head over to our smart home scenarios hub or read on for a little more detail.
What is a smart speaker?
A smart speaker is a web-enabled device that you can engage with. Capable of answering questions and performing certain tasks, the virtual assistant inside your smart speaker can provide you with all kinds of information as well as being able to play music and interact with you.
Each smart speaker, whether it’s the popular Amazon Echo or the smaller Amazon Echo Dot which have the Alexa virtual assistant, or the Google alternatives – the Google Home and the Google Home Mini – are connected to apps on your smartphone and tablet giving you access to them from anywhere with a web connection. What this means is that you can create shopping lists that you can take with you, set alarms and even programme the device and other smart home products to work together at certain points in the day.
For example, if you want the living room lamp to come on at 6pm you can connect your Amazon Echo smart speaker to the smart plug connected to the lamp and it’ll come on based on the time of day, and day of the week, that you programme. Again, we have more on this kind of setup in our smart home scenarios section.
How does a smart plug work?
With a smart plug you can schedule all of your favourite appliances to come on when you want them to. Fancy a coffee making without getting out of bed? You can, simply put your smart plug into the socket and connect your machine, then set a timer for your plug to come on at 7am and you’ll have a nice hot coffee waiting for you. Similarly, you can set when your bedroom lamp comes on and even a slow cooker meaning you can get back from work to perfectly cooked meals.
Not only that, you can adjust the timings from an app on your phone while you’re out and about, and even turn the smart plug off completely if you’ve left your hair straighteners on.