Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Best devices for home automation and smart home: buying guide

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Home automation. Today this term is increasingly widespread and used: we often find it associated with devices to be installed in our homes, whether it is complex products or simple (at least apparently) light bulbs. But what is home automation?

A quick search on the net defines home automation as the application of information technology and electronics to the management of the home, therefore the possibility of interacting with the devices connected to the internet and issuing commands that make the operations of use and simpler and more immediate management.

In this way, a concept of smart home is developed, therefore capable not only of executing our commands but also of learning: in fact, as we will see, there are not a few devices that learn and memorize our habits. Science fiction? For nothing. Today home automation is a reality capable of making our home more and more intelligent , liveable and eco-compatible. Let’s see in this guide some devices capable of improving our life and our home environment.

Alexa o Google Home

alexa o google home

Voice assistants are undoubtedly among the most used devices among those who want to increase the rate of home automation in their lives. Technically, artificial intelligence software is configured, that is, capable of interacting with us and responding to our requests.

The smart speaker is a device that connects to the internet via wifi, recognizes the human voice, processes voice requests and responds by taking information from the web. Simple to install and comfortable to use, voice assistants are getting full in our homes and are now an integral part of the home automation revolution that is changing our way of life.

Amazon Echo Alexa

Among the systems currently most in use there is Alexa , the voice assistant created by Amazon. Thanks to the ability to process and interpret the sound of the human voice, Alexa is able to perform a series of operations and provide a wide range of information. We can ask Alexa about the outside temperature, the news of the day or the ingredients of a recipe. But not only that: if connected to other devices with which it is compatible, Alexa is able to make them work on our behalf and therefore to turn on or off the house lights, start the washing machine or set a channel on the smart TV.

The main condition for it to work is constituted (as for all devices applicable to home automation) by the presence of the internet . In fact, by relying on the wifi signal, Alexa is able to connect and connect to the web to draw on information and other devices to perform the required operations. The physical part on which Alexa rests is Amazon Echo, and is configured as a smart speaker, a small speaker that is always active and equipped with numerous microphones. More recent and advanced versions are Echo Plus , capable of a faster and more direct connection to connected devices thanks to the Zigbee function, and Echo Show, equipped with a 5.5 ”screen capable of providing further information.

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Google Home

Google has also developed its own voice assistant that is well suited to home automation: it is Google Home , a smart speaker that allows you to perform a series of operations through voice command. This device is equipped with Google Assistant, the virtual assistant developed by Google, and thanks to the internet connection and compatible smart devices connected to  wifi, it helps us manage the home.

Google Home is equipped with numerous microphones and a speaker for answering and for transmitting audio files, including music, this device. It also has a simple and recognizable design, and in the upper part houses a series of touch controls, useful for immediate access to certain functions, such as silencing the voice assistant and stopping timers and notifications. On the back, however, there is a button that deactivates the microphones, an important function for those who do not want to be constantly “heard” by artificial intelligence support .

A version equipped with a convenient 7-inch video is Google Nest Hub . In addition to performing all the typical functions of Google Assistant, this device displays a series of additional information on the screen, from temperatures to the lyrics of the songs transmitted. In short, voice assistants are among the main devices for home automation in the home and work environment. To learn about the models and features of the Google smart speakers, you can consult our dedicated guide.

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Smart WiFi bulbs

Smart wifi bulbs

Among the various functions that applied home automation allows there is that of being able to control our home lights. Among the various functions, the possibility of programming the lighting of the garden lights for example or switching off half an hour after going to bed guarantee an improvement in management and considerable energy savings.

Although externally they appear absolutely identical to the others, internally these bulbs are equipped with a WiFi cell that allows you to program and manage the operation and control it through tablets, smartphones and voice assistants. Thanks to dedicated apps it is possible to turn on and off the various lights in the home even remotely, program brightness variations, change color or lighting tone.

Many bulbs can be managed directly but it is important to underline that articulated lighting systems generally need a Bridge , or a small device that acts as a control unit for the lighting system. The best Bridges on the market are able to manage systems up to 50 bulbs and are compatible with apps and Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home and SmartThings. Some lamps are sold with ready-made kits.

There are also lamps equipped with ZigBee technology , a communication protocol that does not rely on Wi-Fi but makes use of low-power digital antennas, for the creation of home computer networks. Bulbs equipped with this protocol can be managed without the aid of bridges. But let’s go in order and see some models.

There are Google Home bulbs on the market, already set to work with the vocal assistant.

Philips wifi bulbs compatible with Google Home

The Philips Hue starter kit is an excellent starting point for those who want to equip their home with lighting with a high domotic coefficient. The package includes 3 white 9.5W bulbs with E27 socket, plus the Hue Bridge (one of the most used on the market) and the Hue Smart Button remote control.

Through the Hue Bridge, up to 50 bulbs can be controlled using the Google Home app or voice assistant.

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Novostella Google Home wifi bulbs

Among the products compatible with Google Home, a cheaper alternative is given by the Novostella 1150LM bulbs , capable of 1150 Lumens delivered for 12W of power. Ideal for medium to large rooms, these bulbs connect to wifi, are simple to set up and can be conveniently controlled with Google Home. Thanks to the app it is then possible to adjust the brightness from 0% to 100% from the app and the light temperature, by varying the white color.

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lampadine wifi Atsui Google Home

Finally, still on the subject of Google Home compatible bulbs, it is worth taking a look at this Atsui product : it is a kit consisting of 2 pieces, which can also be controlled remotely, when we are away from home, through the Smart Life app. . With the voice command, perfect for a smart home, you can turn the bulb on and off, adjust its brightness or change the color of the light according to your needs and tastes. Thanks to the 900 lumens they are excellent for large rooms and environments.

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lampadine wifi Bakibo Alexa

Among the wifi bulbs for Alexa we point out the Bakibo : with its 9W power LED it delivers 900 lumens and therefore guarantees light and energy saving. Thanks to the 16 million colors it is possible to create your own favorite color effects and change the appearance and lighting of our home or the bedroom of our little ones in a few clicks, programming a blue light ideal for sleep.

It can be controlled through the Smart Life app (downloadable on mobile or tablet) or through the Alexa voice assistant , but it is also compatible with Google Home.

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Techkin WiFi bulbs compatible with Alexa

Teckin ‘s multicolor E27 is also a smart light bulb for Alexa, it has a power of 7.5W for 800 lumens and is also compatible with Google Home. As an alternative to voice commands, it can be controlled via the usual Smart Life app. It is equipped with warm and cold light adjustment and is fully dimmable , i.e. adjustable in intensity for choosing the right atmosphere.

Thanks to the timer function it is possible to set a countdown for automatic shutdown.

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Avatar wifi bulbs compatible with Alexa

Let’s close this quick roundup of Alexa-compatible smart bulbs with the Avatar Controls E14 smart bulb : it’s a small 5W multicolor candle bulb perfect for creating the right atmosphere in a corner of the house.

Controllable via the Smart Life app, this smart bulb also works perfectly with Alexa, and allows you to vary the intensity of the light or the color tone through voice commands. It is also possible to program switching on and off according to our alarms and our daily rhythms, ensuring low consumption.

For a complete guide to buying the best smart bulbs , see our guide.

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WiFi thermostats

wifi thermostats

Among the fields in which home automation is most and fruitfully used there is undoubtedly that linked to the heating of our home. The wifi thermostat is in this sense a valid ally and allows us, with a relatively low cost, to program and manage the ideal environment for us and for our loved ones.

Thanks to the ability to accurately program the time slots and operation based on our presence or absence at home and in the moments when we deem necessary, this smart device can meet our needs both when we are at home and when we are in the office or in voyage. In this way it is also possible to avoid waste, save money and have a greener and eco-sustainable home. Let’s see some of the best models together.

Home automation Nest wifi thermostat

The Nest wifi thermostat makes the original design a strong point, but it’s not the only one of this great device. It is in fact able to learn your habits and plan accordingly: it recognizes and sets the temperature you prefer when you are at home and automatically lowers it when you are not there. In this way it significantly reduces consumption .

The Nest wifi thermostat is equipped with an app available for both iOS and Android that facilitates remote control and allows you to activate the heating when you are close to home, but it is also compatible with Alexa and Google Home, which allow control voice, for a device designed for truly intelligent home automation and one of the best wifi thermostats for some time.

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Honeywell wifi thermostat home automation

The Honeywell T6 is a wifi thermostat that guarantees efficiency and savings, two items that greatly improve thanks to home automation. By means of a simple touch display it is possible to constantly receive a series of information, such as the function mode, the current and programmed temperature and therefore allows extensive control even when the wifi is temporarily unavailable.

The Honeywell thermostat is equipped with an app capable of ensuring the management of the wifi thermostat even remotely and is compatible with Google Home and Alexa, for immediate access via voice command . The Honeywell T6 chronothermostat is also equipped with the IFTTT function, which allows you to program a function based on certain conditions: for example, we can tell our thermostat to activate if the outside temperature drops below a certain threshold or we can connect it to sensors and thermometers smart external.

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Bticino wifi thermostat

If you want to rely on an Italian brand that has invested heavily in home automation over the years, you can try the BTicino X8000 wifi thermostat .

It combines a simple and low impact design with remarkable functionality and ease of use. From the built-in display, for which installation in the wall is therefore required, the temperature and the Boost function can be adjusted , which allows you to force the program currently in use and still switch on the heating for 30, 60 or 90 minutes, independently from the temperature recorded at that moment. X8000 has a dedicated app, but like previous models, it can also be managed via Alexa and Google Home.

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tado wifi thermostat

Among the smart thermostats, the Tado smart thermostat V3 + takes pride of place . Thanks to the app for smartphones and iPhones and the compatibility with Amazon and Google voice assistants, it is possible to remotely manage the heating in an almost capillary way. It also has geolocation, intelligent programming based on your habits, integration with the weather for automatic temperature adjustment according to the outside temperature. Check out our complete guide to smart thermostats by clicking here.

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WiFi sockets

wifi sockets

Among the devices that allow home automation, one of the most surprising and comfortable to use is undoubtedly the wifi socket. The wifi socket is a small but precious ally that can help us transform our home into an intelligent space in which to inhabit and interact with our devices quickly and smartly even when we are traveling.

The smart socket connects between the wall socket and the plug of a normal household appliance , and by connecting to the internet via wifi, it allows us to program and configure the operation of lights and appliances based on our needs. But not only that: its use is also important for the management of consumption , allowing us to save and contribute to making our lifestyle greener. Let’s see together a selection of wifi sockets

TP-Link wifi sockets

The HS110 TP-Link is a Schuko smart plug therefore suitable for household appliances with a high wattage. Thanks to the Kasa app, available for both IOS and Android , it is possible to manage a series of functions such as switching on and off, even when away from home, of the connected appliances. Thanks to Real-Time monitoring it is possible to keep an eye on the energy consumption history. The Timer allows the switching on and off at specific times of appliances and lights that can be combined in a single program.

Among the most interesting functions related to home automation we point out the compatibility with the Google voice assistant and with Amazon’s Alexa, which allows you to bypass the application and comfortably give voice commands when we are at home.

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TP-Link wifi sockets

Cheaper than the model just presented is the Tp-Link smart plug Tapo P100 . Very small in size, this wifi socket is equipped with an input for a Schuko socket suitable for a maximum load of 2300 watts and 10 A. It can be easily controlled thanks to the Tapo app, available for both Android and iPhone smartphones, and is compatible with both Google Assistant than with Alexa.

Also interesting is the Absence mode , a program that turns lights on and off at time intervals to simulate the presence of people inside the house when you are traveling.

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D-Link wifi sockets

The D-Link DSP-W115 smart plug D-Link is designed for those looking for a high quality device at the right price. Aesthetically, this socket has a refined and informal appearance, thanks to the LED that runs along the perimeter and turns on when it is in operation. The configuration of the D-Link DSP W115 is very simple and is managed through the dedicated Mydlink app , developed for both IOS and Android.

This smart socket can be controlled via Alexa and Google Assistant. Through the app it is also possible to program function profiles that come into action with a single command: for example, we can set the coffee machine, bathroom heating and radio news on at the same time as we wake up. with a single preset command . If you want to know more about the models and prices of wifi sockets suitable for home automation, consult our guide.

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Smart WiFi cameras

wifi cameras

An certainly important aspect for the care and livability of our home is related to its safety . In fact, both when we are at home and when we are at work or traveling we need to feel safe and protected. Home automation today allows you to monitor safety aspects easily and at a much lower cost than in the past. A wifi camera (therefore connected to our internet network and able to communicate with us via smartphone) in fact today is an accessible and easy device to program and manage whether it is home security or that of our office or shop.

The wireless camera is in fact connected 24 hours a day to our internet network, and through an app installed on our smartphone it is able to notify us when it detects movements inside the environment and can be comfortably consulted remotely and show us what happens inside. of our house.

telecamere wifi Ezviz

The Ezviz wifi C6N camera is a great example of what a wifi camera, thanks to home automation, can do for us. It has a resolution in FullHD with a 360 ° view able to transmit clear images both in light conditions and during the night, thanks to infrared LEDs .

Thanks to the Smart Motion Tracking system it detects movement and automatically starts video recording, which is saved on the cloud. This wi-fi camera, although inexpensive, also has two-way audio: it is therefore possible from the mobile phone app to speak with an interlocutor present in the room. Ezviz is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Home and IFTTT systems . This device is for sale at a very attractive price.

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D-Link wifi cameras

The D-Link DCS-8600LH wifi camera has a high quality photo sensor, a 4x digital zoom and is equipped with night vision and is ideal for outdoor use (it is water and dust resistant), although you can safely install in a closed environment. It is equipped with a motion detection system and immediately sends a notification to our smartphone.

This D-Link IP cam is compatible with Alexa and therefore can be controlled via voice command .

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Ezviz external wifi cameras

Home automation, as we have said, helps us in the management of everything that can be connected to the internet, concerning the home, inside and out. The possibility of controlling what happens in our garden, or in the yard of our company’s warehouse from the comfort of your smartphone , becomes an absolutely priceless service.

So let’s see another ezviz wifi camera suitable for outdoor use. This is the Ezviz WiFi ezTube . Simple to install, this device guarantees protection from dust and water and is equipped with two-way audio, which allows us to listen to noises and possibly interact. Thanks to the quality of Full HD and the infrared sensor it is possible to record even at night up to 30 meters away clearly and clearly.

When it detects an abnormal movement the ezTube sends a notification to the app and in real time via internet connection it transmits what it is recording.

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external D-Link wifi cameras

If the protection of the perimeter of your home is a priority, you can take a look at the external wireless video surveillance kit designed by D-Link.

It’s called DCS-2802KT , it has a Full HD video recording quality with a sensor equipped with a 140 ° viewing angle and consists of two cameras, battery or cable powered. As for the previous outdoor models, these cameras are resistant to water, sun and dust, equipped with LEDs for night vision and capable of recording set time periods on Micro SD , smartphone or cloud. The recording is also activated automatically when the camera detects motion. In this case, a siren integrated in the base station is activated based on the movements detected or remotely via the app. Click here to consult our guide on wifi cameras.

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Motion sensors

wifi motion sensors

We conclude this excursus on home automation with motion sensors : these small precious devices are mainly used with a safety function, but are often also used for the automatic switching on of lights at home or at work. Let’s see how they work briefly. The sensors are designed to turn on when they detect movement in a more or less limited and large area depending on the model. Movement is perceived through various technologies: passive infrared, ultrasound, microwave or vibration.

All in all, it is an economical product and very easy to install, thanks to the wifi connectivity and the simplicity of connection with the wifi bulbs. In this way it will be easy to turn on certain parts of the house only when necessary and to use the lights as a deterrent for intruders or malicious people.

Philips motion sensors

Philips Lighting Hue infrared motion sensors allow you to control the lights in your home. They can be placed anywhere since they are equipped with wifi connection and battery power, it automatically connects to the Philips Hue app and integrates with the Philips Hue lighting system and with the bulbs we have already talked about in the dedicated chapter.

You can connect up to 12 sensors to your Philips Hue bridge and thus ensure complete coverage of the whole house. Thanks to the excellent reactivity, the lights turn on immediately as soon as the sensor senses the passage of a body. The shutdown is adjustable. Also excellent for children who will no longer be afraid of going through dark corners of the house: home automation helps in this too.

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Echo Flex motion sensors

An Amazon certified motion sensor and therefore compatible and designed specifically for Echo Flex is the Third Reality .

Echo Flex is a device equipped with an electrical outlet that allows you to use Alexa in several places in the house and is therefore particularly useful for large, variously structured or multi-level environments. Thanks to the integrated USB port , it allows you to recharge your phone or add a device from another manufacturer, such as a night light or a motion sensor.

With the Third Reality sensor it is possible, thanks to the Alexa app, to personalize messages such as “Welcome back home” or “Movement detected in the living room” when a movement is detected. You can also control smart bulbs that automatically turn on when motion is detected (and turn off if there is no movement for a period of time you specify). Simple to install, this sensor has a wide range: capable of detecting movements up to 6 meters away. No batteries needed: the sensor is powered directly by the Echo Flex (which is purchased separately) so you no longer have to worry about changing the batteries.

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motion sensors Ecoolbuy Smartdoor Sensor

A different system from those seen so far is represented by Ecoolbuy Smartdoor Sensor . The philosophy of this motion sensor is decidedly different: the sensor is in fact composed of two parts that must be installed close to each other and can be applied, for example, to a door, a window, a drawer or a wardrobe that you want to remain closed. . The alert comes into operation when the two parts move away, therefore when the door or window is opened while the control system is in operation: at this point on the dedicated app , available for Apple and Android, you will receive a notification and you can act accordingly. Ecoolbuy Smartdoor sensor is a motion and alarm sensor compatible with Alexa and Google Home.

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