To South Africans, the concept of smart home automation is one that is mind-boggling – to say the least. Smart home automation and related smart home devices might seem a daunting challenge to most. The common perception is that it requires a level of tech guru that the average Joe simply doesn’t possess. That consensus is usually closely followed up by the tendency to already start stressing about making payments before the bank comes to repossess these overpriced luxuries that are only destined for the wealthiest 1%.
I mean, let’s face it. Up until recent times, the only time we’ve seen these types of products are in the movies or when watching our favourite YouTuber. Well, we here at Smart Speakers are here to tell you that times have changed and the future looks bright. Scratch that, the future looks SMART.
Gone are the days that you need to be importing these types of products and earning massive salaries to flip the bill. We’ve gone through the liberty of doing the leg work to ensure every South African has access to the latest products at more than affordable prices. We’ve even ensured that the products available are those that can seamlessly connect with one another and subsequently transform your home into a fully functional smart home at a fraction of what you might expect to hear. Crazy right? No, it’s the reality of the situation! The tech train has left the station and those who don’t onboard are getting left behind.
What Exactly Is A Smart Home?
Before we continue, for those of you unfamiliar with this groundbreaking concept taking the world by storm and finally arrived on the shores of Mzanzi, let’s take a look at what it actually is.
Smart homes can essentially be described as having a home setup including multiple appliances or devices that are connected to each other via an internet connection and can be controlled remotely from anywhere in the house using a mobile, tablet, or laptop. The range of smart devices available to connect include but are not subject only to:
Smart speakers – we offer products priced at merely R699 ranging from Google, Apple, Amazon and more.
Smart security systems – lights, door locks, indoor/outdoor cameras, motion detectors, window sensors, garage door openers, smoke detectors, etc. Click here to view our Connex Connect range pertaining to many of the mentioned security products.
Smart TV transformers – transform any TV into a smart TV for as little as R649 with products such as the Google Chromecast 3rd Generation or the Amazon Firestick TV with the option to get one with 4K capability.
How Do They Work And Who To Choose?
One of the most important questions to ask oneself once you embark on this journey of home automation is which brand you ultimately want to use in order to ensure you benefit at full capacity regarding seamless integration and ease of use.
The three main competitors currently in the game are (not listed in any specific order):
Apple is a relatively new entrant in the game of smart home devices as opposed to its counterparts. However, there is no denying it’s aesthetically pleasing designs and premium sound engineering regarding its available smart speakers. We expect nothing less from such a reputable brand. Currently, the situation, unfortunately, stands that Apple does not have all it’s services available in South Africa and a limited range, making them in our opinion an excellent choice for quality speakers, yet not ideal for overall home automation. We highly recommend the Apple Home Pod.
The brainchild of billionaire businessman and entrepreneur Jeff Bezos, Amazon has surely made its mark in the world of smart home devices. Boasting with products including the Amazon Echo Show 5 Display Screen, the Firestick 4K TV, or even the Amazon Echo 3rd Generation. Amazon has definitely shown its ability to excel in a diverse range of products in the streaming and audio category, all at very affordable prices. What makes it so enjoyable is the easy user interface offered through the use of an app that possesses artificial intelligence in the form of Alexa. Simply connect your speaker to the lights via the app and instruct Alexa to “turn off the lights”. The only downside is that although fairly developed within South Africa, Amazon still doesn’t offer its full range of features you might find overseas. View the full range of products here.
We saved the best – in our humble opinion – for last. Google is basically fully integrated within South Africa and possesses the most developed form of artificial intelligence currently available on the market, Google Assistant. Google Assistant’s programming functions so seamlessly it distinguishes different ways of speaking and delivers the full spectrum of answers only it’s motherboard can conjure. Despite the main focus of its projects being centered around functionality, Google manages to produce products that are sleek in design, yet pack a punch regarding sound quality, all at very reasonable price ranges. The Google Home App allows one to effortlessly link devices and Google’s wide variety of categories regarding home automation makes it our personal favourite. View the full range of products here
Main Image: IoTEvolution