Turning on the kettle from the bedroom using your voice and seeing who's at the front door while you're in the kitchen are now all possible thanks to Virgin Media's new Smart Home packages.
Ever since early science-fiction novels predicted what our homes would look like, we posited over what the heralding of new technologies might bring.
Thankfully that future is now as Virgin Media has partnered up with Google to bring consumers into the 21st Century with the unveiling of its new Smart Home packs.
We take a closer look at the technology of the future to see what's on offer today.
What is a Smart Home?
A Smart Home is any abode that makes use of smart home technology to provide comfort, convenience, and security to homeowners throughout their everyday lives.
The smart home is anchored via a connection to broadband and can be organised through a networked device or mobile application.
Smart home capability is designed to lessen the stress of managing a household, making the everyday more manageable.
What packs are on offer?
Virgin Media has officially launched three separate ‘Smart Home’ packs in partnership with Google which will give Irish customers the simultaneous ability to boil the kettle and turn on the TV using only a voice command.
The Smart Home packs are available to both new and existing customers who sign up to Virgin Media broadband. A chosen pack can then be added on as part of a specific bundle.
Three separate packs are available across a range of different price points and include a number of different devices and features.
The ‘Entertainment Pack’ includes a Google Home Speaker, Google Nest Mini, Google Chromecast and retails for €15 extra per month for 12 months, alongside your broadband plan. Alternatively, you can pay €180 upfront.
The ‘Home Automation Pack’ includes a Google Nest Doorbell, Nest Mini, two TP-Link Smart Plugs and retails for €45 per month extra, or €540 upfront.
The third and final ‘Complete Pack’ includes a Nest Hub (with Smart Home Display), Nest mini, two TP-Link Smart Plugs, Nest Doorbell, as well as Chromecast. This retails for €55 extra per month or €660 upfront.
The smart home devices are then the customers to keep once the 12 monthly installments are paid in full.
What's more, all packages purchased come with FREE installation from a Smart Home technician - so no worries with potential set-up frustrations.
Karen Faughnan, Senior Propositions Manager at Virgin Media Ireland said:
“There is an ever-growing appetite amongst the Irish population to purchase and install smart home products and, with our partnership with Google and TP-Link, we’re making it easier than ever for those customers to create their own smart home experiences.”
How to sign up
Signing up is simple with bonkers.ie. Just choose the deal you want using our broadband comparison service and we'll help you make the switch.
You can simply add the smart home pack you desire to the broadband plan you choose and you're away!
You can also add a pack to your existing plan by contacting the Virgin Media team on 1890 940 070.
The advent of smart home technology has many benefits, the most obvious being the time and effort saved in performing manual tasks as mundane as switching on a lamp or your favourite radio station.
Out of all devices available it’s the Google Nest mini that stands out, with many futuristic features. Perhaps the quirkiest and most science-fiction-themed being the ability to speak a variant of the words: ‘I’m home’ to the virtual assistant and seeing and hearing the room come alive as if you were the titular character in Matilda.
If the idea of smart appliances intrigues you, you will, however, need to avail of a pack with TP-Link adapters, or purchase them separately. These plug adapters effectively automate appliances over Wi-Fi and are linked to the voice-activation features built into the Nest mini and Google Home Hub.
Another device included in two-thirds of the packs available is the Nest Doorbell. The doorbell, accompanied by its camera, helps to provide an increased sense of security for homeowners, with the ability to monitor traffic to and from your front door through a mobile app.
Treated as a utility in modern society, broadband is the facilitator of the smart home. The idea of a connected home provides a tangible reason for a better broadband connection, hence Virgin’s insistence on putting their Wi-Fi at the heart of this smart home technology.
Pros & Cons
One of our favourite things about these bundles is that Virgin provides a technician to set up the devices in your home - and at no extra cost.
Virgin has stated that the ‘packs are up to €129 cheaper than the recommended retail price’ if the bundles were to be purchased separately and included a technician’s installation fee.
Surprising as it may sound, this service is rather invaluable, especially when so much can go wrong with tech, voice-enabled smart-tech especially!
Although the plans are pricey at first sight, they are rather good value, aimed first and foremost at those who have already been considering ‘smartening-up’ their home.
The entertainment pack is arguably the most accessible and useful, and is an ideal Christmas gift for the Virgin broadband customer in your life.
To add any Smart Home pack to your broadband bundle just get in contact with a member of the bonkers.ie customer service team on 01 256 0540 or sign up easily online.
What are your thoughts?
We’d love to hear what you think about the advent of smart technology and its benefits in the home and whether you consider it a help or a hindrance.