With the cost-of-living crisis showing no signs of abating, many households are looking for easy ways to reduce their energy bills.
For that reason I was interested in learning more about Samsung’s new SmartThings app, which aims to help households reduce electricity consumption.
The tech giant says the app is designed to “make you more conscious of your energy use, lower your bills and ultimately save you money.”
But does it work? I visited Samsung’s show home in Chertsey, Surrey to find out.
Think smart? The new SmartThings app works by combining a home’s smart technology in one place and giving users insight into their energy consumption
A “smart home” is a catch-all term for a modern home where devices are controlled remotely by the owner, often via a mobile app.
For some people, turning a house into a smart home may mean as little as buying a smart speaker.
For others, it may involve linking many products including lighting and heating systems, cameras, computers, locks, televisions, security systems and even your refrigerator.
However, these smart tech bits often come with their own individual apps, voice commands, or remote controls to operate them, which can get complicated.
SmartThings works by combining all the smart devices in a home into one simple app.
Regardless of the brand, you can use the SmartThings app to connect all your smart tech devices, from your Philips Hue lightbulbs to your Ikea sockets and from your Amazon Alexa to your Ring Video Doorbell.
Samsung’s smart apartment included a variety of home technologies, from refrigerators that know when you’re running out of ingredients to vacuum cleaners that only turn on when you leave the house
The kitchen in Samsung’s smart home was equipped with all sorts of tech-enabled devices
Tablets and computers can also be connected to other devices via the SmartThings app
Samsung’s smart home featured a variety of smart devices, from smart fridges that let you know when you’re running out of groceries to motion sensors that prevent critical pipes from leaking in emergencies.
But if you’re like me, you’re now wondering how an app that combines your technology can actually save you money — and I’ve struggled to come up with a straight answer.
One of the ways it can save you money in the long run is the app’s partnership with comparison site Uswitch, which allows customers to effortlessly switch their energy plan when it comes time to renew.
Unfortunately, given the volatile energy market as it stands, A change of energy supplier is unlikely to get you the best deal, and with Ofgem’s The price cap is set to rise to £2,800 in Octoberthat won’t change any time soon.
The app also allows users to set budgets and track energy usage – but only if they have a smart meter
In theory, once the market reopens and switching energy supplier becomes the norm again, users of the Samsung app could save hundreds of dollars without lifting a finger.
In the meantime, the app can provide a central hub for tracking energy usage and help raise awareness of what you’re spending and what you’re spending it on. However, this function only works in households with a smart meter.
Users also get energy saving tips based on connected devices. This could help them reduce daily energy consumption by, for example, recommending the best washing program for clothes or explaining how to pack the fridge efficiently.
However, the amount of money customers could save seems to correlate with the number of smart devices they have and how much they are willing to use the app.
Customers who want to easily connect and control their smart technology from one place probably won’t notice a difference in energy consumption or overall spend.
Those who make the most of Samsung’s energy saving tips and tracking software, and implement those recommendations through consistent changes in the way they use their devices, could potentially save a few hundred pounds a year – assuming they do nothing to limit them already their energy consumption.
Unfortunately, the app has a catch before you can get started, and it doesn’t come cheap.
While they could save you money in the long run, buying smart devices can be very expensive in the first place.
I have a few smart tech devices in my own home: a handful of smart plugs that connect to my coffee maker and lights; Hue bulbs that can be turned on and off via Bluetooth and voice control; a Philips Smart TV and a Sonos speaker with built-in Alexa voice assistant in every room.
Cool Trick: Samsung’s smart fridge allows users to view the content on their phone remotely
In all, I’ve probably spent around £2,000 on smart tech over the past few years, which is a steep price to start with.
Samsung’s apartment featured a smart washing machine, two freestanding projectors and a family hub tablet integrated with the smart fridge. That doesn’t even include the robot vacuum or video doorbell.
Ideally, to get the most out of your SmartThings app you’ll need a bunch of smart tech, which could cost you close to £10,000 for the aforementioned Samsung-branded products alone.
Unfortunately, it seems Samsung’s “money-saving” SmartThings app isn’t accessible to those who need to benefit most from their money-saving tips.
And the app isn’t as easy to use as Samsung claims. While I consider myself a fairly tech-savvy person, connecting to the app wasn’t the easiest when I tried it out in my own home – as it refused to recognize my Hue bulbs or smart TV.
Smart tech includes everything from plugs to smart speakers, TVs and washing machines
For those already heavily invested in smart tech, the app could be a game changer. They could open the blinds, boil the kettle and turn on the oven just by saying “Good morning” to their Alexa.
But unless you have a lot of smart technology in your house, I can’t see how the app could help you save time or energy.
The SmartThings app shows how far smart technology can go to reduce costs and become more environmentally conscious.
For those struggling with the cost of living, it’s unrealistic that this technology could save them much in the short term.
Still, I’m excited to see how tech companies like Samsung can become more inclusive for low- and middle-income households in the years to come.
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Are you really saving money on bills with Samsung’s energy-saving SmartThings app?
Source link Are you really saving money on bills with Samsung’s energy-saving SmartThings app?