Appliances & Gadgets to Build Your Own ‘Smart’ Home

IKEA smartlights
Photo: IKEA

Not only do smart appliances provide added convenience for home owners, they often come with  features that help you lower your household power consumption. With the annual Black Friday sales just around the corner, it’s a good time to consider adding a few of these devices to your home. Here are some recommendations from team MyNiceHome to get you started!

Smart Lights

Majority of smart lights comprise LED light bulbs, which are more energy-efficient and last longer than typical incandescent and fluorescent lights. Smart lights also come with a variety of nifty functions such as motion detection, remote control and adjustable brightness.

IKEA smart lights
IKEA’s TRÅDFRI affordable series provides remote control to your lights!
Photo: IKEA
Philips hue smart lights
In addition to energy-saving properties, the Philips Hue smart lights also come with ambient lighting features
Photo: Philips

Brands that are popular with local home owners include Philips and Xiaomi. Both brands are known for reliability and offer a wide variety of smart lights that could fit into any home. When deciding which brand to go for, do compare prices, ease of use, warranty period as well as compatibility with your other smart devices.

Smart Water Heater

Water heaters are amongst the top household appliances that consume the most amount of energy. More so for storage water heaters, which are usually always switched on to provide a ready supply of heated water. This is where smart technology comes in. Besides tracking your water consumption rate, smart water heaters can be scheduled to switch on according to your daily routine. They can be remotely operated and notify you to take a shower when the heated water is ready.

Smart water heater
Smart water heaters: Andris2 Top (left), IntelliHeat (right)

Some examples include Ariston’s Andris2 Top, a WiFi-enabled smart water heater that comes with an energy-saving algorithm that takes note of your daily showering habits, to prepare heated water when needed.

Similar to the Andris2 Top, Trentio’s IntelliHeat water heater helps to monitor your water usage. Its double-heating element also ensures quicker access to hot water.  

Smart Curtains

It’s no secret that with Singapore’s tropical climate, cooling a room requires a substantial amount of energy. While curtains are meant to block out sunlight, the latest features now allow curtains to be drawn remotely. With controller apps on your smartphone, smart curtains can be set to open or close automatically depending on the time of the day, or as scheduled to fit your daily habits.

Smart curtains
Photo: Somfy
Smart curtains
Smart motors can also be easily attached to existing curtains
Photo: Somfy

Even if you’ve already bought your curtains, worry not – there are off-the-shelf products that can instantly make your curtains ‘smarter’. Local favourites include Somfy and Aqara Curtain Controller from Xiaomi – these can be easily attached to most curtain railings. Both appliances are also supported by a smartphone app for scheduled operation. When deciding which brand to go for, again think of the prices as well as compatibility with your existing smart devices eco-system.

Smart Living

Punggol Northshore Residences
Northshore Residences I at the Punggol Northshore District

As more home owners start to adopt a smarter and more sustainable lifestyle, there has been a boom in smart appliances and solutions available in the market. To meet evolving lifestyle aspirations, HDB has gone one step further to develop smart-enabled public housing, with the first being Northshore Residences in the Punggol Northshore district.

Designed from ground up to be intelligent and energy-efficient, Punggol Northshore district comes with features such as smart lighting and fans in common areas that activate and adjust automatically in response to human traffic and ambient temperature data captured by sensors, hence optimising energy usage. A network of sensors deployed throughout the estate also collect data that are analysed and used to improve on estate maintenance.

Homes within Northshore Residences I and II are also equipped with smart sockets. These sockets allow homeowners to monitor the energy consumption of individual appliances, while the distribution board within each unit also has smart energy meters which track power consumption in different parts of home – all through an app.

Public housing will only get smarter in the future – you can get started on the smart and sustainable movement now by adding some smart devices to your home!