Smart homes

 Homes of the future will have a mind of their own.

We share the investment buys that’ll pay for themselves, and clever home decor that’ll make your life easier (and greener).

Home automation

Home automation is fast becoming one of the biggest trends in making your life easier and your home smarter, with tech companies like Apple, Google, and Samsung investing in home automation to bring improved technology indoors.

It might seem like a daunting concept, but with Homemation’s Control4 Smart Home range, you can control everything from your temperature and lighting to your home security system, using your tablet or smartphone, anywhere and anytime. The only thing you need before installing a home automation system is a secure and stable high-speed internet connection.

The Homemation experts share more…

You don’t have to automate every room or device in your home. Identify what you’d most like to automate, for instance, lighting, music, or security, and start there.

In terms of cost, home automation is a bit of a splurge. However, the total cost depends largely on your
budget and needs:

  • The Control4 controller costs R9 590. Depending on how much you’re integrating, you may need a larger or additional controllers.
  • Control4 4Sight annual subscription costs R2 590.
  • Home automation systems use high-speed internet, so factor that into your budget.
  • Factor in the cost of altering your lighting with a trusted electrician, and installation costs with a certified Control4 integrator.

READ MORE: LIGHTING 101

This home automation system coordinates the devices in your home so you can create a personalised
experience that maximises your comfort, convenience, and peace of mind. You can even schedule your devices:

  • Set your bedroom shades to open with the morning sun.
  • Lock your doors and arm your security system from anywhere, and remotely access security cameras and receive instant alerts.
  • Control your lighting.
  • Control and schedule your thermostat; cool or warm your space before you arrive home.
  • Control your music and home theatre system.

Smart home buys

Tech whizz Nafisa Akabor shares her top three smart home buys below.

1. Home budget app

Go green and track your household expenses the paperless way with the Home Budget app for smartphones and PCs. It’s an easy-to-use app with a simple interface that comes in a ‘Lite’ version, which gives you a three-month trial
before deciding if you want to pay for it. Track every single expense under your roof through colour-coded graphs, and share it via PDF or a CSV (Excel) file.

Upload receipts where necessary, set payees, view reports, and compare spend over 12-month trend reports. Price: R65 on Android, R99 on iPhone, R200 on Windows, R300 on Mac. Contact: Anishusite.appspot.com

2. Sunstream pro kit 

World Panel has come up with a nifty solar charger called SunStream that allows you to stream power directly from the sun, using a USB charging cable. The panel needs to be placed into direct sunlight, meaning it won’t work on a cloudy day – ideal for typical South African weather conditions.

As the name suggests, it streams power, so the device itself does not hold any charge for later use.
It is durable in that it can withstand a few knocks, and is waterproof. The SunStream Pro Kit charges
gadgets, tablets and smartphones faster with its 1-amp output. It weighs700g and is USB 2.0 compatible.
Price: R950 Contact: WorldPanel.co.za

3. Sensibo smart air conditioner 

Turn any air conditioner into a ‘smart appliance’ with the Sensibo Smart Air Conditioner kit by controlling it through an app, and in the long run, reduce your energy consumption. Installation is simple; it takes two minutes and no drilling is required. Control multiple air conditioners via a smartphone app by setting seven-day scheduling and timers. Monitor temperature and humidity remotely, but ultimately reduce your electricity costs. Additional pods available for more AC units under one roof. Price: R3999 Contact: MyiStore.co.za

The grass is always greener when…

…it isn’t actual grass! As a result of climate change South Africans are becoming accustomed to irregular rainfall. From severe drought to flash floods, your lawn’s probably experienced some damage after this extreme weather. Whether your lawn’s dry and patchy, or has washed away in some places, Easigrass artificial grass will transform your garden completely.

Reasons to switch

  • Municipalities are still imposing strict water restrictions and fining homeowners for over-using water, and with rising water tariffs you’ll want to use as little water as possible. Easigrass doesn’t need to be watered at all, so you’ll save precious water and money, while enjoying a lush lawn no matter the season.
  • Easigrass comes in nine artificial grasses resembling popular local grass varieties, so it’ll blend in well with your indigenous and drought-tolerant plants.
  • Switching to artificial grass is an upfront investment, but lowered water bills and savings on garden services, mowing, fertilisers, and weed killers help this investment pay for itself.
  • Intense rainfall in shorter periods of time can result in improper drainage of natural grass, causing soggy, muddy grass and damage from run-off. Easigrass uses a specialised compact grit base with a geotextile weed barrier on top of your soil to act as a ‘waiting area’ for water when soil’s flooded during heavy rainfall. This system also makes Easigrass perfect for pets. Visit Easigrass.co.za to learn more.

Feature: Candice Curtis with additional contribution from Nafisa Akabor and images supplied.

 

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