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The Rise of Smart Homes: Full-Scale Automation & Increased Security

Remember when the first mobile phone came out, and people no longer needed a landline? That was huge in the evolution of technology, going from a corded home phone to a personal handset which could be used on the go. Over time, these ‘personal’ phones have become more powerful than we could have ever imagined. Capable of doing everything from taking calls to booking flights, video conferencing, streaming movies, and more. It comes as no surprise then that such tech has become a part of everyday life.

In the same fashion, now we’re constantly connected wirelessly on several devices with data speeds that are exponentially faster than before (especially when you have an M1 fibre broadband connection!). The result? Consumer-friendly user spaces at our fingertips! And one step further, we have smart homes. Quickly gaining popularity across the globe, many are starting to integrate more tech into their homes. Singapore is no exception, with an upwards trend in smart home technology interest.

So, what caused this incredible leap forward in the world of technology, and why is it fast becoming the norm amongst homeowners?

What Exactly is a Smart Home?

Whether you’ve heard mentions of it or are completely in the dark about the smart technology market, don’t worry! We’ll explain it all. A smart home, also known as a connected home or intelligent home, describes a living space that uses the latest technology to control or automate different gadgets and appliances integrated into the smart home system.

The list of available smart home products is always growing, and can include:

-  Indoor and outdoor lighting
-  Thermostats
-  Doorbells
-  Motorised curtains
-  Home entertainment (e.g. smart TVs, projectors, speaker systems, audio systems, etc.)
-  Robotic vacuums
-  Smart clocks
-  Security systems (e.g. cameras, motion and entry sensors, alarms, etc.)
-  Smart speakers (e.g. Google Home, Alexa, etc.)
-  Ovens
-  Sleep trackers
-  Key/item trackers
-  Air quality monitors
-  Leak detectors
-  Air conditioning systems
-  Washing machines and dryers

There are even self-cleaning litter boxes you can automate so that you don’t have to handle the unpleasant chore of scooping daily! So, as you can imagine, setting up your home with smart technology can be a great way to simplify your life and focus on what truly matters, as all mundane tasks will be taken care of for you.

Where and when did the concept of smart homes begin?

It might surprise you to learn that home automation in its earliest form was created way back in 1966 in what was called the Echo IV - the first-ever smart home system. The Echo IV gave its users the ability to use a basic computing system to create shopping lists, switch appliances on and off, and control the temperature of the house. Then, in 1969 a kitchen computer was developed, capable of storing recipes. However, due to its extremely high price tag, it never became a commercial success – in fact, no units were ever sold.

Since the Echo IV, continued advancements in technology have resulted in a spike in popularity for home automation in the 2000s. As newer, more compact gadgets delivered better performance, almost like the domino effect, more research and development started focusing on smart technology. As a result, the tech needed to design smart homes has since become affordable.

The Top 9 Benefits of Using Smart Technology in Your Singapore Home

If you’re still deciding whether to set up a smart home in Singapore, here are 9 significant benefits that just might convince you.

1. Increased security

These days, you can purchase entire security systems that are compatible with your smart home. This includes everything from front door locks (which may come with their own internal cameras), motion and entry sensors, security cameras, alarms, motion-detector lights, and more. And all of this can be not only monitored through your smartphone, but also activated and controlled remotely. So, you can forget worrying about whether you’ve locked the door ever again. Simply open the app, check if it is, and lock it from wherever you are!

Additionally, when you’re away on holiday, you can use your smart home system to switch your lights on and off to give the illusion of being at home. This will deter burglars from trespassing, keeping your home safe from potential break-ins or thefts.

2. Safety

Have you ever headed out, only to be assailed by thoughts like: Did I turn the gas stove off?

Thankfully, with a smart home, you have the power to check through your smartphone. Leveraging on smart technology like gas and smoke detectors, smart plugs, and their accompanying mobile apps, being physically present to manage devices is no longer necessary. Now, you’re free to focus on having fun!

3. Time

These days, we seem to be busier than ever before. And because our never-ending to-do lists only seem to get longer every week, having shortcuts to reduce stress and save time can be an absolute godsend.

Smart technology in the home will - without question - save you time so you can get everything you need done each day. Forget having to pause your productivity to switch on the rice cooker you forgot to earlier, open the door when your kids get home from school, and more. Organise and schedule it all on your smartphone.

4. Money

Did you know that leaving your air-conditioner idle for 8 hours a day just because you forgot to turn it off before leaving the house could cost you an additional $56.61 each month? Add to that the lights, computers, and other electronics, and the numbers will only go up. Being able to control everything in your home from the palm of your hand means you can cut down on your utilities bill. Any appliances or electronics that have been left on can be switched off in a flash, saving electricity and money.

5. Advanced customisation options

There are plenty of ways for you to customise your living space with a smart home automation system. From setting up comprehensive lighting systems with different colours of your choice, to a thermostat that will change the temperature in your home according to the time of the day, you can even have your favourite soothing music playing when you arrive home, and more. Get creative with smart technology!

6. Remote monitoring

Many home security systems will only send you an SMS notification should there be any untoward activity while you’re out. However, you’ll find that smart home security systems have their own smartphone apps, which allows you to see what the cameras see in real-time.

This isn’t just a benefit for home security, either. If you have an elderly family member who you’d like to keep an eye on, set up a camera in their home to check in on them and make sure they're alright. And because many of these cameras have a two-way internal speaker, you can even have a conversation with them. Might seem like an odd mode of communication, but hey, it works.

The same applies to parents who’d like to keep an eye on their little ones. Whether your kids are alone at home when you’re out at work, or your toddler is taking a nap in another room, these devices can be leveraged on to ensure the safety of your loved ones.

7. Comfortable living

As mentioned, when heading off to work in the morning, we’re often all too careless and may leave the air-conditioner on. When we finally arrive home, it’s freezing cold, and there's an increased likelihood of a leaky air-conditioner. But with a smart air-conditioner connected to your smart home, you can simply head into the app and make adjustments accordingly.

Plus, switch on the Robovac remotely so your floors are nice and clean, close the blinds, and set your smart TV so it's ready to play your favourite show when you get home. Even preheating the oven without having to be there, doesn't it all sound amazing?

8. Environmentally-friendly

When you have everything hooked up to your smart home, you can easily switch off any and all gadgets, appliances, and electronics like lights that you’re not using. So, you can take pride in doing your bit to live greener and help the environment.

9. An overall better peace of mind

The combination of all the previous points means you’re able to live a much more stress-free life, saving yourself a little bit of time in the process. Not only will you be able to keep your family safe with the added level of security, but you can also remotely switch off potentially dangerous appliances and gadgets on the fly. You can’t put a price on the peace of mind you’ll get!

Keeping Your Smart Home Secure

By now, you’ve probably realised that having a smart home set up in your Singapore abode is the way to go. But before jumping in headfirst and signing up for an M1 Fibre broadband plan with a smart home package add-on, it’s important to understand how to ensure you’re keeping your smart technology secure from any potential digital threats.

Here are a few top tips to keep your smart home as secure as possible:

  1. Secure your Wi-Fi network
    The first thing you need to do is either set up a strong password or frequently change your Wi-Fi network password. Upon initial setup, pretty much every router under the sun has a default password. And it’s amazing how few people change this! If you’re not sure how to change it, a step-by-step guide should be available either in the box the router came in. You could also Google your router’s make and model. Otherwise, reach out to your digital services provider and ask for assistance.

    Note: Even if you don’t end up getting a smart home setup, we 100% recommend changing your Wi-Fi password if you haven’t already!
  2. Update your account passwords
    Aside from Wi-Fi passwords, it’s so common for people to use the same password across multiple accounts. This makes a hacker’s job incredibly simple as they’ll be able to hack one account and get instant access to all the others.

    Update each account with its own unique password - yes, different passwords, not the same password for all accounts - and use a password manager to keep them all under lock and key.
  3. Review default settings on each device
    For every device you add to your smart home, make sure you head into the settings and check the default security and privacy settings. Make any changes that you see fit to further secure your smart technology.
  4. Ensure software/firmware is updated regularly
    It’s something that many people avoid doing for as long as they can. Updating software and/or firmware may be a bit of a pain, but without the latest update, you might be left vulnerable to a security flaw or bug that has been fixed.

    Generally, the manufacturer will push notifications for you to update the software/firmware. However, you may occasionally need to head to their website to check and see if a newer version has been recently released.
  5. Purchase smart devices from reputable suppliers
    While you might come across smart technology that’s priced incredibly low, you need to remember the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’. And that doesn’t just mean the quality of the product, either. From customer service to added benefits like customer rewards, you’ll want your supplier or service provider to check all the boxes.

    Buying from a reputable supplier like M1 means you’re getting premium-quality products at a great price without having to worry about any of that.

What Makes the M1 Shop’s Smart Home Packages Superior?

As Singapore’s preferred digital services provider, we at M1 work tirelessly to maintain its reputation of delivering the best value for money to our customers. Offering a range of options at varied price points to meet your budget needs, you’re sure to find a suitable package.

The smart home technology packages available from the M1 shop each offer an exceptional level of quality while also remaining highly affordable.

Check out our latest smart home packages at the M1 shop today. Alternatively, to find out which of the packages would best suit your home or to learn more about our fantastic smart technology available, feel free to visit your local M1 shop and chat with one of our friendly customer service operators.