Around two-thirds of Australian taxpayers get a refund every year. On average, that refund comes out at just over $4,000 per person.
If you’re among them, you’ve done the hard part of getting your tax return lodged. Now all you have to do is decide how to spend it!
This year, why not keep the spending smart — literally? Smart technology makes your home run more smoothly, offer a pleasant living environment and make your energy use more efficient. And let’s be honest — it’s also a lot of fun.
To give you some inspiration, we’ve rounded up some of the best smart technology on the market.
No more worrying about who’s at the door. Today’s smart doorbells mean you can see who’s there even when you’re not.
Smart doorbells are fitted with a front facing camera that sends HD video to your phone or other device when someone stops by. If you’re watching the video live, you can send voice messages, meaning you can have a conversation with the visitor. Alternatively, you can use the app to preset messages, such as ‘please leave the package at the door’. The video footage will automatically record to the device, so if there’s a break in while you’re away, you can replay it later.
If you’re renting, the Eufy wireless doorbell is your best bet because it can be mounted on the external doorframe without much impact. The Eufy has 2K camera resolution, impressive night mode and 16GB of storage, making it a solid choice for home owners as well.
For those who want a more comprehensive security system, consider a smart outdoor system like the Arlo Pro. It’s weatherproof, high resolution and stores images to the cloud for 30 days after recording. It will connect to most home hubs, so like a smart doorbell you can see what’s happening outside from the comfort of your couch.
Smart speakers have been one of the most popular categories of smart tech since their inception. And no wonder. These clever devices do much more than play music: their virtual assistants will tell you the weather forecast or the news headlines, and act as a control centre for other smart tech (like lights and temperature controls).
Big players in this field include the Amazon Echo and Google Nest. For impressive heft, take a look at the Amazon Echo Studio. It’s larger than the standard Echo, and comes with more features.
The Studio acts as a smart home hub, so you can connect a range of other smart home devices. The Alexa voice assistant allows you to set alarms, play music and turn on other equipment just with your voice. What really sets the Studio apart, though, is the 3D directional audio that ‘bounces’ sound around the room so it feels like it’s all around you.
If sound quality is your main focus, though, you can’t go past Sonos. The company is rightfully known for the rich audio in its wireless speaker range, and its debut smart speaker, One, carries that promise through.
Smart climate control
Make your home as comfortable as you can with a smart thermostat. The classic in this area is the Nest Thermostat, now on its third generation and smarter than ever. You can turn heating or cooling up or down from either the device or the app so your home is comfortable before you even walk in the front door. Even better, the machine learning functionality adjusts to your routine. Forgotten to set the temperature? No problem: Nest knows when you’re due home so it will do it for you.
The Ecobee is another strong contender in this market. Explore the Schedule function, which lets you set a heating and cooling schedule for when you’re home, at work or away for the weekend. You can access current weather forecasts to help you decide what temperature to set it at, and Alexa voice command so you can even play music.
The range of smart tech is expanding all the time. To keep you feeling safe, snug and secure at home, consider the following:
• Smart smoke detectors, to let you know if there’s a house fire even when you’re nowhere near home.
• Smart locks, which will help you monitor who is going in and out of your home. You can set them to accept voice triggers, assign entry privileges to guests (or tradespeople), or simply use your phone to grant access.
• Smart lights, which can be controlled from an app on your phone. You can set different mood lighting for different rooms, and turn on lights before venturing downstairs to investigate that strange noise.
Most smart technology is designed to integrate with other devices. You can start with the technology that attracts you the most and add more if and when you choose. Many people start with a home entertainment system, but if security is your focus, there are plenty of options there as well.
Before you know it, your fridge will be alerting your phone to let you know you’re out of milk! Oh wait…you can already do this!