Smart Home Jargon Buster

Your smart home dictionary!

Our jargon buster is your smart home dictionary that explains all of the most commonly used terms relating to the smart home sector. Looking for information or a definition for a certain product? Find it by clicking on the first letter, or grab yourself a brew and read through to teach yourself all there is to know about smart homes.

Smart Home Jargon Buster

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Alexa is the intelligent personal assistant from Amazon. Alexa was made popular by the Amazon Echo and Amazon Dot – two smart products that are capable of voice interaction, music playback, playing audiobooks, and more. The term “Works with Alexa” is commonly used for smart products that are compatible with the Echo and Dot.

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An app is a computer program that performs a certain function in the home. Your partner smart home app can control a collection of devices – whether turning your smart bulbs on/off or setting a timer on your smart thermostat.

Apple HomeKit

Apple HomeKit allows you to control your home at your command. With the Home app you’re able to securely control the accessories in your home by connecting them to the app. You can group accessories by room if you wish, or get your smart products to talk to each other in ‘scenes’. For example, by setting the “party” scene you’ve created, you could get the lights to change colour and the music to turn on automatically.

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An appliance is a device, machine or piece of electrical equipment used in the home to fulfil a certain purpose. An appliance can range from a smart thermostat, to a refrigerator and can be controlled via an app on your smartphone. They're usually operated by gas or electricity.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is an area of computer science that gives machines and devices the ability to appear human. Human intelligence can come from the device knowing its environment and acting on it – for example, smart speakers with voice control gives the impression of a human behind the device. This is artificial intelligence.


Belkin is one of our featured smart brands. Belkin’s range of cables and accessories can make your smart home safer and smarter. Belkin surge protectors ensure the safety of your devices, and the Belkin WeMo smart plugs save you energy in the home. Stay in control by connecting Belkin to your smartphone or tablet.

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Bluetooth® is a wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances from fixed and mobile devices. Lots of our featured smart home products, including Amazon Alexa, are “Bluetooth® enabled” meaning they’re capable of connecting to your other Bluetooth® mobile devices, like your smartphone or tablet.


The word “compatible” is used to describe when one computer software or device works with another to perform particular functions. The “compatibility” of a product is another way of stating other devices the main device works with. For example, Philips Hue is compatible with Nest Thermostats. Another term for “works with”.

Connected Home

A ‘connected home’ is one that uses a range of networking devices to serve different purposes within the home. The devices can work on their own or all together for a more connected ecosystem – hence, connected home. For example, a connected home could include a Sonos speaker placed anywhere within the home that connects to your smartphone via an app and plays music. Or, a smart lighting system like Philips Hue that connects to a central hub. Other smart devices, like Amazon Echo, can then connect to this ecosystem.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficient smart home products are designed to save you energy within the home. Whether you’re hoping to cut down on energy bills when using heating and hot water, home appliances or lighting, energy efficient products like smart meters can give you accurate energy readings and reports so you know where you can consume less. Energy efficiency is intended to protect the environment as the less energy a home uses, the less power plant emissions are released.

Google Assistant

Google Assistant is the virtual personal assistant developed by Google. Google Assistant is the voice assistant in the voice-activated speaker, Google Home. Google Assistant answers simple questions ranging from entertainment, all the way to complex calculations. Google Assistant is prompted by users saying “OK Google…” followed by their questions or commands. The term “Works with Google Assistant” features on smart products that are compatible with Google Home.

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Google Home

Google Home is the hands-free smart speaker powered by Google Assistant. Google Home lets you listen to music via Google Play Music, Spotify and iHeartRadio. You can stream videos and photos via Netflix, YouTube and Google Photos. Connect your Google Home speaker to your smart thermostat and ask it to turn the heating on. Google Home is compatible with smart brands like Philips Hue and Nest.

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Hive is one of our featured smart brands. Hive is a leader in the smart home market for smart heating devices, including smart thermostats. Hive’s smart home products range from smart thermostats, to smart plugs, to smart sensors. Make your home more secure and energy efficient by connecting Hive with your smartphone or tablet.

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Honeywell is one of our featured smart brands. Honeywell’s range of smart home products includes smart thermostats, smart light bulbs, smart locks and smart cameras. Stay in control of your smart home by connecting Honeywell devices to your smartphone or tablet.

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Hue (brand)

Abbreviation for 'Philips Hue'.

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Hue (colour)

Hue is a word used to describe the colour or shade of something, i.e. when talking about the colour of smart light bulbs. Some smart light bulbs can change hue via the partner app in order to set certain moods. For example, when it's time for a bath after a long day, change to a relaxed subtle hue.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a collection of devices that work together when connected to the internet. Connected IoT devices collect data that’s then able to create actions. For example, your smartphone can connect to your smart speaker and play music, then, with voice commands, you can ask your smart speaker to turn on your smart lighting. You need to make sure your IoT devices are compatible with each other and connected to the internet in order for this to work.


IFFT (If This Then That) is a free web-based service that lets people create and use chains for statements called ‘applets’. An applet is triggered when a specific action or change that occurs – for example, you can set your smart lighting to turn on when you walk through your front door. If “this” happens, then “that” happens.

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Nest is one of our featured smart brands. Nest’s smart products range from smart thermostats to smart alarm systems. Nest thermostats work with a range of smart products, including Amazon Echo, Google Home, WeMo switches and Philips Hue. Connect your Nest thermostat to your smartphone or tablet and change the temperature without getting up.

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Netgear Arlo

Netgear is one of our featured smart brands. Netgear Arlo’s smart products are widely used for smart monitoring at home and include HD wire-free security camera systems. View live and record videos anytime via your smartphone or tablet.

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A network is a group of connected devices all working together to perform certain functions. Smart home is a good example of adding a range of devices to your home network – from smart lights, to smart speakers, smart TVs and more.


Noise-cancelling headphones reduce unwanted noise and sounds using active noise control. When it comes to smart speakers, noise-cancelling microphones filter ambient noise. Say your smart speaker is playing music and you’d like it to recognise your voice while the music’s playing – the noise-cancelling microphone filters out sounds so your voice is still heard.

Partner app

A partner app is a downloadable app on your smartphone, tablet or TV, designed to work with particular smart home product, created by the manufacturer. For example, in the Philips Hue app you can control your Philips Hue lighting around your home. You can also use certain smart home products within another partner app. For example, you can add your Philips Hue bridge to your Amazon Alexa app.

Philips Hue

Philips Hue is one of our featured smart brands. Philips Hue lighting is popular in the smart home and can be controlled via your smartphone or tablet. Philips Hue smart bulbs come in a range of colours – all in the same bulb. You choose the hue via the partner app. You can also set scenes. When you’re watching a scary movie, turn the lighting red for a scary ambiance.

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Power Surge

A power surge is an abnormally high voltage lasting for a short period of time that causes a spike in your home's electrical current. Surge protectors, from brands like Belkin, are brought into the home to protect your devices from lightning strikes and power surges.

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Ring is one of our featured smart brands. Ring’s product range is designed to keep you at the forefront of the security of your home. Ring Video Doorbells show you who’s at your front door at any time. Stream the video and audio from your Ring doorbell to your smartphone and tablet and answer the doorbell from anywhere. You’re always at home with Ring.

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Samsung SmartThings

Samsung SmartThings, created and developed by Samsung, lets you monitor, control and secure your home from anywhere, any time with just the app, your hub and your things. SmartThings is a platform for Smart Homes that uses Internet of Things (IoT) and allows you to control, automate and monitor your home environment by connecting all your smart devices to one central place.

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Siri is the voice-assistant in Apple Inc.'s iOS, watchOS, macOS, and tvOS operating systems. Siri answer questions, makes recommendations and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of internet services. Siri adapts to different users, languages, searches and preferences. Siri is supported in the Apple HomePod smart speaker.

Smart Alarm System

Smart alarm systems are designed to keep your home safe. Smart locks, smoke alarms and motion sensors can connect to your smartphone or tablet so you can access your systems from anywhere. Smart alarm systems give you peace of mind and added protection at home.

Smart Bulbs

When it comes to smart lighting, smart bulbs can be controlled from your smartphone or tablet via the partner app. You can set smart bulbs to turn on at certain times, change colour and hue whenever you choose, set scenes, and even connect them to other devices in your home. For example, if you connect your Philips Hue smart bulbs to Amazon Alexa, you can ask Alexa to turn them on.

Smart Device

A smart device is an electronic device that generally connects to other devices or networks wirelessly. Common types of smart devices are smartphones, phablets and tablets, smartwatches and fitness trackers. Also another term for a device with Artificial Intelligence.

Smart Grid

A smart grid is an electrical grid which includes a variety of operational and energy measures including smart meters, smart appliances, renewable energy resources, and energy efficient resources.

Smart Heating

Smart heating puts you in control of the central heating in your home, wirelessly via your Wi-fi-enabled smartphone or tablet, or manually via the control panel/ dial that sits on your wall. Your smart thermostat then talks to your boiler. Central heating systems are compatible with smart brands such as Nest, Hive and Honeywell, and popular services such as Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa.

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Smart Home

A smart home is a home equipped with lighting, heating, and electronic devices that can be controlled remotely by your smartphone or computer. Smart home devices can include smart speakers, smart bulbs, smart TVs and smart cameras. Take a tour of our smart home.

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Smart Lighting

Smart lighting is a simple, energy efficient way to light up your home. Home lighting automation requires controls and demands to trigger your smart home lighting to turn on - which can be done via your smartphone. Create lighting schedules and timers, change colours and brightness, and save energy with smart lighting control systems.

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Smart Light Switch

A smart light switch is installed in your home so you can control more than just a smart bulb. Say you want to control the whole lighting system in your home, by re-wiring and adding a smart light switch you can control an ecosystem of smart bulbs, instead of just one. In most cases, Wi-Fi bulbs are used so you can connect them to your home network, therefore your smartphone. Your smart device acts as your light switch.

Smart Meter

A smart meter can digitally send energy readings to your smartphone or tablet. Smart meters help you get more accurate energy readings so you can see where you’re using the most energy, spending the most money and actually wasting energy. Most smart meters come with home displays and send you monthly reports so you can get a full view of your energy usage.

Smart Sensors

Smart sensors in home automation are mostly used to detect theft, movement, noise, fire, water leaks, and even the air using IoT. Smart sensors give home owners peace of mind and alert them when something out of the ordinary happens at home while they’re at home or away. You can detect windows and doors opening, leaks, smoke. Smart sensors also include smart cameras and smart video doorbells as they can detect movement and send alerts to your smartphone or tablet.

Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats put you in control of the central heating in your home. You can connect your compatible smart thermostats to your smart devices so you can set timers, save energy, heat your water, and even use location settings to automatically turn the heating on with remote heating control. Smart brands like Nest, Tado, Honeywell and Hive are popular smart heating brands.


In terms of computing, streaming means to transmit or receive data over the internet. For example, you can stream music from your smartphone to your smart speaker. Or stream content from your smartphone to your TV.


Tado is one of our featured smart brands. Tado’s smart thermostats allow you to control the central heating in your home from your smart device. You can receive reports that show you the home temperature throughout the day, as well as your savings. Save energy, money and heat your home the way you want to via your smartphone or tablet.

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TP-Link is one of our featured smart brands. TP-Link’s smart home products include smart bulbs, smart cameras and smart plugs. Their smart home range provides entertainment for home users who want to connect their smartphones to the lighting in their home. Set timers or set lighting to music. Plus, get peace of mind with smart plugs and smart cameras you can control from anywhere. Never worry about leaving the iron on again. Take a look at TP-Link’s brand store.

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User Interface

The user interface (UI) is the space where humans (users) and the computer system (machine) interact resulting in the machine feeding back information. The aim is to produce a user interface that makes using the device easy, self-explanatory and enjoyable, then produced the desired result.


Wi-Fi (or WiFi) is a technology for wireless local area networking with devices based on the IEEE 802.11 standards. Devices that can use Wi-Fi technology include personal computers, games consoles, smartphones and tablets, digital cameras, smart TVs, smart speakers, smart light bulbs, and much more. Wi-Fi compatible devices can connect to the Internet via a WLAN and a wireless access point. If compatible, you can connect your smart home products to your Wi-Fi network and use them with other Wi-Fi enabled devices, creating your own ecosystem.

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Express delivery available on selected items

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Our people are on hand Mon to Fri 9am - 5pm

15,000 products available

The latest technology from the biggest brands