(Pocket-lint) - The idea of a smarter home is becoming more desirable, whether it's to help reduce your energy bills or just because you want to be able to control certain factors from the comfort of your sofa, using your smartphone or tablet.
If you want a smarthome however, you have to change a few things, so here we have rounded up seven starter products to get you well on your way to having a smartphone-controlled home.
First up, you'll need to look at your lighting as getting up to turn the lights off is a task no one can be bothered to do once they are comfortable.
There are a number of systems available now and a few coming in the future that will allow you to control your lights from your smartphone, but one of the first to hit the scene was Philips Hue.
The Philips Hue system has expanded significantly since it was first introduced but the original Hue allows you to connect up to 50 bulbs and control them using an app on your smart device.
There is a bridge that connects the bulbs to your wireless network and therefore your smartphone or tablet and from the app you can do all sorts of things such as adjusting the Concentrate setting, whereby all your selected LED bulbs will change to a certain tone and brightness to keep you alert.
There is an Energise setting to provide you with bright and vibrant light, a Reading setting to give you the perfect white light for reading and a Relax setting for a soft glow.
These settings can all be selected from the comfort of your sofa, but Philips Hue will also enable you to replicate any colour using the bulbs, as well as use them as a security feature when you are on holiday because you don't need to be at home to turn them on.
ALTERNATIVES: Five smart lighting solutions
Next up you'll need to look at your heating system. As with smart lighting, there are plenty of smart heating solutions available too, some of which will do more than others.
You'll need to decide what it is you want from your heating system, except for the ability to control it from your smartphone or tablet, and you'll also need to consider the type of boiler you have as you won't want to be replacing that too if you can avoid it.
One of the systems available is Honeywell's Evohome, which will connect to your boiler and existing radiators to allow you to create and control 12 individual zones from a central console or smartphone app.
Each zone can have multiple radiators within it and you can control the zones down to a set degree in temperature, meaning you could make one radiator really hot to dry a top for example.
The Evohome system comes with several preset settings that will let you to reduce the temperature of the entire house or override the system, which could be handy if you have a day off and want the heating to work as you have set it for a Saturday.
ALTERNATIVES: Five intelligent heating systems
READ: Honeywell Evohome review
Heating and lighting are a good place to start in creating a smarthome but if your budgets can stretch a little further then smart appliances is another area to consider.
There aren't many appliances on the market yet that can be controlled using your smartphone but both LG and Samsung have models, while other brands just offer smart features such as automatic detergent dosing.
The Samsung WW9000 washing machine comes with a 5-inch LCD display on the front of its very space-like looking design. From the display you can control the temperature, spin speed, rinse settings and select other options, but the Smart Control feature is what sets this appliance apart from other 600mm white boxes that wash your clothes.
The Smart Control feature allows you to control the WW9000 remotely using an app on your smartphone. From the app you can monitor the wash cycle, start or pause a cycle, receive notifications on how long the cycle has left, or set it to tell you when a cycle is complete.
The WW9000 also has a detergent and softener compartment within the drum so it is hidden away and the machine will automatically work out how much you need so if all goes to plan, you should save a bit of cash on detergent too.
ALTERNATIVES: Five smarter washing machines
Cleaning is a chore not many enjoy so if there is a smart alternative to doing it all yourself, and you're willing to spend the cash to get it, then a robotic vacuum cleaner should be next on your smarthome shopping list.
There are plenty of options on the market, with Samsung, LG, Neato, Miele and iRobot all offering their own models, among others.
The LG Hom-Bot Square will clean for 100 minutes before it returns to its charging dock to refuel and it comes with a whole host of clever features to make your house spic and span.
There are over 90 voice alerts to let you know what it is up to and there are seven automated Smart Cleaning modes on board, including My Space that will allow you to pre-define an area you want the robot to clean specifically.
While the current Hom-Bot Square is clever, there is a new one set to arrive shortly that will allow you to text it using LG's Home Chat service so it might be worth waiting a couple more months for this one as you will also be able to see what the robot can see through its Dual-Eye 2.0 camera when you are out via the app.
ALTERNATIVES: Five robotic vacuum cleaners to do your cleaning for you
READ: LG Hom-Bot review
If you are someone that finds themselves worrying about whether you have switched the iron off after you've left the house, or you simply want to reduce your energy bills, then a device to allow you to wirelessly control your plugs is also a good thing to pop on that growing list.
There are a couple of options when it comes to smart power with both Belkin and Elgato, among others, offering devices that will allow you to switch off plugs remotely to make sure you never leave any electronics on by accident again.
The Belkin WeMo Switch works in a similar way to an adapter by plugging into a standard plug socket with the plug of the device you are powering then plugging into the Switch.
From the free WeMo app, which will work over Wi-Fi or a mobile network, you can turn the WeMo Switch on or off from wherever you are and you can also set it to work on a schedule too.
The WeMo Switch is part of the WeMo modular system so you can have as many of them in your home as you want, meaning every plug socket could be controlled remotely, but it will cost you.
A smarthome is not complete without some music and if you don't want to get up to turn off your lights or turn down your heating, chances are you aren't going to want to get up to change the track either.
While Sonos is probably the most well-known multi-room wireless speaker system, a number of alternatives have arrived on the scene recently including an options from LG and Denon.
Sonos is a system of hi-fi wireless speakers and audio components that are available in a number of shapes, sizes and outputs from the PLAY:1 to the PLAYBAR, all of which can be combined to deliver the sound you want or used independently.
Each of the speakers, no matter which room you have them in can be controlled from any smart device using the Sonos Controller App and you can stream music from your favourite services whether that be Spotify, Pandora, Deezer or Rdio.
The app will allow you to browse and play your music, as well as stream songs to each room, group rooms together or hear the same track everywhere in the house, all without having to move from the sofa.
Last but not least is smart security. If you have kitted out your entire home with smart gadgets, it's a good idea to keep an eye on it when you aren't in it just to make sure there are no unwanted visitors. Or you might just want to keep an eye on your pet.
There are a number of companies that offer smart cameras to watch your home when you can't, including the Withings Home, a smart HD camera that will be available soon.
Withings Home not only looks good and features environmental sensors to help you create a healthier home too, but you can monitor what is going on from anywhere.
There is live recording so you can see instantly what is happening in your house via the app but the smart HD camera also allows you to zoom in to see what is going on and you can get notifications sent to you when certain events happen, such as someone walking into the room.
Additionally, Withings Home will take a photo and a five second video everytime it thinks something noteworthy has happened, storing it for two days and creating a Home Diary with what it has collected.