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Getting started with Connected Home over IP

Zigbee Alliance Connected Home over IP webinar screenshot, showing how multiple leading smart home providers have "converged" to help make this standard.

An announcement in December 2019 was welcome news to many in smart home circles: that all the major smart home manufacturers and developers were getting together to produce a standard way for smart devices to speak to each other. This is called Connected Home over IP. Connected Home over IP will see Amazon, Apple, Google, … Read more

Is The Google Mini Dual Voltage? (And Why This Matters)

Official UK power adaptor for Google Nest Mini 2nd generation, showing: "AC adapter Model G1030 Input: 100-240V-0.4A 50-60Hz Output: 14V=1.1A LPS"

If you are travelling or you bought a cheap Google Mini from abroad, you might be wondering whether you are safe to use your Google Home device in another country. Yes, the Google Mini is dual voltage – it supports input electricity from 100V/120V (depending on model) up to 240V. Therefore you should be fine … Read more

Why does my Amazon Echo make random noises?

Phone screenshot showing all activity on registered Amazon Echo/Alexa devices.

Having a smart voice assistant like the Amazon Echo is great due to all the smart home features it offers, but sometimes it seems to ‘wake up’ by itself and play a random noise or sound. Sometimes this sounds like a genuine notification (even though there’s no reason for the notification), whilst other times the … Read more

12 Awesome (And Easy) Ways To Achieve Home Automation

A marketing image of the 2019 ecobee SmartThermostat black model with the temperature being displayed on screen.

Home automation can be achieved in a range of ways. With so much smart tech available nowadays, you can pretty much look around your house and find ways of automation everything you see. But having loads of choice is both a blessing and a curse: it’s easy to never automate anything around your house because … Read more

Full Guide: What Is Home Automation And How Does It Work?

A mobile phone screenshot showing all devices controlled by the Amazon Alexa app, including Fire sticks, Echo Dots and Echos.

“Home automation is the future”, they say. But what exactly is ‘home automation’? We might think of a coffee maker that automatically brews your coffee when your alarm goes off, or a light bulb that emits different color light depending on the time of day. Home automation does include these things, of course, but it … Read more

New Video – How To Play Free Music (With Zero Ads) On Your Google Mini

YouTube video thumbnail - play free music on Google Mini (no ads) - four awesome methods.

I have posted a new video on YouTube covering how to play free music (with zero ads) on a Google Mini/Google Nest Mini device, which is part of my ‘Does the Google Nest Mini Need a Subscription?‘ article: Video Transcript Hey YouTube, it’s Tristan from Smart Home Point here. I wanted to speak to you … Read more

Does Google Home (& Mini) Need a Music Subscription?

Google Play Music logo

The Amazon Echo offers over two million songs as part of Amazon Prime, but Google doesn’t have a similar membership scheme. Also the ‘small print’ of the Google Mini and Google Nest Mini says that “subscriptions may be required for certain content”. But what exactly does this mean? If you bought a Mini and don’t … Read more

11 Reasons Why Smart Thermostats Are Pointless

Two Google Nest thermostats in store, the Learning Thermostat 3rd Gen and Thermostat E.

“My smart thermostat has really improved my home life” – said no one ever. When smart ‘learning’ thermostats burst onto the scene in 2011, they did so to great fanfare. After all, they are smart. They learn. They will massively improve your home life… or so the marketing promised. The reality is a lot more … Read more

The Definitive History Of Smart Home Devices

Part of the advert poster for the Thor-32, an "electric washing machine with Thor All Metal Swining Wringer". The washing machine is pictured, with some cables and a motor visible at the bottom.

History is littered with incorrect predictions of what smart homes of the future would look like. Whether it was the LA Times Magazine predicting in 1988 that we’d all have robot butlers (I wish this had come true!), or Intel scientist Dean Pomerleau predicting in 2009 that we’d soon be controlling computer systems with our … Read more