Connected homes are fast becoming the thing to have as more and more devices appear hoping to make your home life easier, simpler and smarter. There is everything from appliances to heating, lighting and other gadgets available, all of which can be remotely controlled from anywhere you are using your smartphone and an internet connection.
Achieving a smarthome can be done in stages and it doesn't need to cost the earth. We have looked at getting a smarthome for under £500 and under £1000 and now we are bumping the budget up to £1500. Here are five devices to get you started in making your home a little smarter if you have some more cash to splash.
Honeywell Voice Controlled Thermostat
The Honeywell Voice Controlled Thermostat allows you to control your heating using your voice, the Honeywell Total Control app or the coloured interface on the thermostat itself. After saying "Hello Thermostat", the Honeywell system will listen to your next command and it will learn from you too, much like Google's Nest thermostat does.
The Honeywell Voice Controlled Thermostat will adapt and optimise your home over time to deliver the right temperature when you need it. There are all sorts of features on board including a seven day programming function, over-the-air updates and auto, manual override and frost modes. The Honeywell system also has set activity points every day, such as I'm waking up at or I'm going to sleep at, to make programming more intuitive.
For smart lighting, Philips Hue is one of the most recognised systems out there but while it is the one we have chosen here, it's worth remembering it isn't your only choice. The Philips Hue system consists of connected bulbs and a wireless bridge, which can be controlled using an iPhone, iPad or iPod from wherever you are. The starter pack comes with three bulbs and the bridge, which can control up to 50 Hue light bulbs, so you can buy more bulbs individually depending on how many of your lights you want to connect.
You'll be able to create light settings based on your favourite photos, or photos you have uploaded, and there are millions of colours to choose from. Hue also has a party mode that makes the bulbs flash in time with your music and you can set timers to help you wake up every day. Of course you'll also get the ability to turn the Hue bulbs on, off and dim them to suit the mood you are trying to create.
PRICE: £149.95 for the starter pack, £49.95 for individual bulbs
The Netatmo Welcome joins the list of several smarthome cameras available, all of which have their various advantages and specialised features. Netatmo's option is one of the more expensive options out there, followed closely by Withings Home but we opted for the Welcome here because it allows you to customise user profiles thanks to its facial recognition technology.
The technology means that Welcome will recognise faces from various angles and build a profile relating to that person. You have to teach Welcome who is who so it learns but for each profile you build, you can alter the recording preferences. For example, if you want to know when your partner is home from work but you don't want their every action to be recorded when they are home, you can select this, making the Welcome camera far less intrusive than others available.
Panasonic Smart Home system
Panasonic announced its Smart Home system earlier this month featuring a range of components that all link to a central hub using DECT ULE, rather than Wi-Fi. This was previously the standard technology used for home phones and it is said to be more secure than Wi-Fi as it won't be detected when scanned for with any Wi-Fi device. The system includes cameras, sensors, plugs, motion detectors and sirens and they are available in a number of kits.
You can control all the devices from a smartphone or tablet, giving you remote access to cameras (with two-way communication), the ability to turn lights on and off, set home and away profiles, or have alerts when someone opens the front door, for example.
PRICE: £229.99 for a monitoring and control kit, containing the hub, indoor camera, two window/door sensors and a smart plug. You'll be able to expand the system with individual elements too, such as an extra smart plug for £39.99, an indoor camera for £79.99 and an outdoor camera for £99.99
Denon HEOS HomeCinema and HEOS 1
No smarthome is complete without a device to wirelessly stream your music from your smartphone and there are now plenty of options to choose between, including Sonos, LG and Sony. Denon introduced its HEOS multi-room audio system last year and updated it with the HEOS 1 and the HEOS HomeCinema soundbar and subwoofer in June this year.
The HEOS 1 is a splash and humidity proof wireless multi-room speaker that is available with what Denon calls the HEOS 1 Go Pack accessory. The Go Pack adds a water-resistant design and Bluetooth capability (so you can listen to the Heos 1 anywhere a Wi-Fi connection is not available), along with a rechargeable battery in order to provide up to six additional hours of music and entertainment. The HomeCinema soundbar and woofer allow you to to upgrade the sound of any flat TV, as well as work as a speaker alongside the rest of the HEOS range.
PRICE: £199 for the HEOS 1, £79.99 for the HEOS 1 Go Pack and £599 for the HEOS HomeCinema soundbar and subwoofer