Smart tech isn’t the future – it’s the here and now. And while some of us still feel a bit self-conscious asking our TV to change the channel, there are lots of practical ways to use smart tech to manage time and money and make life easier. Here’s a look at how it can help you take your everyday to the next level.

Plan for a connected home

Smart tech could mean anything from a single internet-connected device to a completely connected home with appliances and gadgets you can control and monitor remotely. You could do anything from dim the lights to dispense dinner for your dog, all via apps.

It’s worth thinking about your budget and priorities before you spend on smart tech. Look at every room to see what you might want – for example, smart monitors for a child’s room, smart speakers for the living room, or connected kitchen appliances. And while there are lots of fun things that smart tools can do, there are also opportunities to save and manage money.

Be smart with utilities

Devices like smart thermostats give you control over your household, wherever you are. You can keep your home at the perfect temperature – and turn the heat down if the day turns unexpectedly warm. These systems can require some investment, but a cheaper option is to pick up a smart plug for around £20. It can turn any appliance into a connected one, and lets you do things like turn on the kettle before you get out of bed, and save on bills by monitoring your TV’s energy use. You might be surprised by how much it uses while on standby.

Help around the house

Voice activated virtual assistants let you go hands-free with many tasks. You could choose your favourite playlists, get step-by-step recipes, text a friend while cooking, or entertain children with free, fun educational apps. They can also be your personal assistant, and remind you of important events, birthdays or payment due dates.

Smart with money

Tech also gives you the tools to keep on top of your money. Mobile alerts can tell you when you’re near account limits and help to avoid unplanned overdrafts with a text straight to your smartphone. And with our mobile banking app, you can manage your money wherever you go.

Tech on the go

AI-powered apps learn to serve you better as you use them, and can help you manage your time with a productivity tool, or learn a new language during your commute. Cars are also getting smarter. While the jury may still be out on self-driving cars, you can get traffic updates and directions with a few voice commands.

secure

Staying secure

There are lots of smart tech ways to stay safe. Connected security cameras and smoke detectors could help you monitor and protect your home and your possessions, even when you’re on holiday. When it comes to security, it’s also worth considering:

Mobile payments: Do a little research before trusting third-party apps with your data or payment details. You can also find out about how we deliver secure mobile banking.

Connected devices: Our tips on protecting your computer, smartphone and tablet can help provide peace of mind.

Child-proofing: Easy-to-use parental controls, from broadband filters to smartphone passwords can help make the connected world safer for the whole family.