6 seriously useful smart home innovations you need in your life

Beam your home into the future with the latest and greatest connected upgrades

Smart home innovations

Sure, you might have an Amazon Echo and a few Philips Hue bulbs but is your home really smart? There's no doubt that our AI buddies Alexa, Google and Siri are driving interest and innovation in connected home products, taking them out of the early adopter/hobbyist niche and into the mainstream.

These cutting edge devices from the Internet of Things are for those looking to take their domicile on a deeper dive into smart home devices. Prepare to wow your house guests with just how futuristic your abode is…

1. HiMirror Mini improves your looks

"You need to use a different moisturiser"

The HiMirror Mini is a smart connected mirror, which does a similar job to the Naked body scanner but is specifically for your face. It warns you of "wrinkles, fine lines, complexion, dark circles, red spots, pores" and more, and suggests skincare routines and products to make you even more beautiful.

Possibly the real game changer here, however, is that you can log new skincare products as you start using them. Then, as with Naked, seeing how your scans change over time can give an insight into whether that £50 moisturiser is really doing anything for you.

As a side benefit, HiMirror will also tell you when products are past their 'best before' date. All skincare products have a shelf life, listed on the box (usually, it's that little picture of a tub with a number next to it – now you know).

Oh, and it'll also give you news and weather headlines alongside telling you that you look like crap this morning. That'll cheer you up!

2. Grohe Sense Guard stops leaks before they cause chaos

This little box could save a lot of heartbreak

Like the Lightwave sockets, this pair of products from Grohe is perhaps not the sexiest-sounding, but it's potentially way more useful than some of the more flashy and out-there gizmos for your connected future home.

Grohe Sense is a small, circular moisture sensor that can let you know if you've got a leak. That's not such a big deal; there are lots of similar products on the market. Where it gets really clever is when you add Grohe Sense Guard to your plumbing. 

This German-engineered miracle of modern technology is also able to detect leaks and burst pipes and actually shuts off your water (you are also alerted as usual, via the app). Interestingly, you can even pair Guard with a Nest thermostat and then use the Nest's out of home detection to shut off the water every time you leave the house.

Hopefully you will never have to use Grohe Guard, but it sure does give you peace of mind.

3. Smarter FridgeCam makes your fridge, well, smarter

No, you don't need any more milk

Smarter started out making connected kettles and coffee makers, but FridgeCam is a rather more ambitious product. It does one very simple thing – taking a photo of your fridge's contents whenever you open the door, and sending it to your phone. So that you can see at a glance if you need to buy milk when you're in Waitrose, basically.

However, it also does one rather more clever thing: using object recognition, FridgeCam enables you to track expiry dates and automatically assemble shopping lists of goodies that you've polished off.

It must be said these genuinely smart features are a little, erm, unpolished at present. But with a few software updates, they could become very useful.

• Buy FridgeCam direct from Smarter for £149.99

4. Magni Smartech mattress stops snoring

The ultimate weapon in the war on snore

The Magni Smartech bed (or 'integrated sleep system' if you will) has a big ol' range of features. There's sleep monitoring – everything from your heart-rate to the bedroom temperature and noise levels – LED coloured light therapy, and it's mechanically adjustable.

Surely the truly killer feature, however, is that it can detect snoring, and gently adjust the mattress position until that snoring stops. For anyone who snores or, even worse, has a partner who snores, this is another potential life-changer of epic proportions.

Unfortunately, as things stand, you will have to import this bed from Italy and pay about £15,000 for it. But that seems a small price to pay, right?

5. Lightwave RF smart sockets let you control everything

Socket to 'em

Until recently, if you wanted to make your plug sockets smart and controllable from your mobile or Alexa, you had to plug a bulky new socket into your existing ones. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not terribly elegant, is it? Lightwave RF has a much neater solution, which is to replace your sockets and light switches with new, clever ones.

Available in attractive brushed steel as well as your more standard white, they do obviously require more installation than a plug-in smart socket – you should really hire a qualified person to do it in fact – but once fitted throughout your home you will have total control over every appliance and light fitting you own. You will truly be the voice-controlling master of your domain.

We expect to see these types of sockets appearing as standard in new homes within a few years. They are the future of plugging stuff in and turning things on and off – hey, that could be their next advertising slogan!

• Shop Lightwave RF smart home products on Amazon

6. Philips Hue lights and colours absolutely everywhere

Hue's new ranges cover everywhere from the bathroom to the garden

Probably the most successful smart home products to date, Philips Hue lights just will not be happy until they've taken over your entire house… oh, and now your garden as well. 

The latest additions to the Hue family are outdoor lightstrips, 'wall mounted luminaires, spot lighting and pillar posts', all with an IP67 rating, to laugh off the threat of rain. 

The flexible lightstrip is probably our favourite, and looks great for accenting garden features, or adding a bit of ambience. The new al fresco Lightstrip doesn't launch until October, by which time the UK will be under 3 feet of water. But hey, you'll be ready for next summer. 

As well as a choice of white tones, the outdoor LIghtstrip will also muster up 16 million colours. Available in 2-metre and 5-metre models, it'll cost 'from €89.95-€159.99' (UK pricing TBC but likely to be about £80-£150).

• Peruse the whole Hue range

Hue is the fairest of them all?

You'll also find Hue cropping up in your bathroom, with the new Adore range. This comprises a mirror light, a single spot light, a double spot light, a triple spot light, a ceiling triple spot light, a ceiling panel and a 'lighted vanity mirror'. 

These use simple presets, with a bright (but still hopefully flattering) tone to suit shaving and applying make-up, down to a bath-time reading light and a relaxing, pre-bedtime glow.

Compatibility with all home AI speakers comes as standard with all Hue lights.

• Buy Philips Hue from Amazon

This article is part of our Tech Innovation for the Future series, brought to you in association with Honor.

Duncan Bell

Duncan is the former lifestyle editor of T3 and has been writing about tech for almost 15 years. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. His current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy. A cricket fan for over 30 years, he also recently become T3's cricket editor, writing about how to stream obscure T20 tournaments, and turning out some typically no-nonsense opinions on the world's top teams and players.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially like a cross between Reddit and DeviantArt, before the invention of the internet. There was also a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."