The guide to smart home lingo

Published: March 13, 2019

The tech world may seem like a jargon minefield at the best of times! We’ve demystified the smart tech language with a list of the 15 most common terms you’ll come across.

Controller – A device used to tell your smart tech what to do. It may be a voice activated speaker or an app on your tablet or smartphone.

Geofencing – A virtual perimeter or boundary you’ve set up around your home. Trigger actions from your smart tech when you enter, exit or are within a certain distance from the “geofence”.

Group – When various devices are linked together to perform a task. For example, you may “group” all your living room tech so it can be switched off with the simple push of a button.

Home automation – When technology in your home can carry out tasks using your voice, or the push of a button on a smartphone or tablet app. The tech is described as being “connected” or “smart”, which simply means it can be controlled using an internet connection.

Hub – The electronic heart of the smart home. This is a way to connect all your smart home technology together so it can be controlled from one source.

Internet of Things – Often abbreviated as “IoT”, this refers to basic objects connected to the internet. Devices that would otherwise be dumb, such as a light bulb or watch, can collect and share data using sensors or some sort of digital intelligence.

Multi-room audio – When music or audio can be played wirelessly using several speakers across a number of spaces. You may have speakers set up in different rooms, controlled by an app or your voice (using WiFi in place of physical wiring and drilling).

Scene – A series of smart technology actions triggered by one command. For example, you may program a routine for your lights, appliances and security for when you arrive home, leave for a holiday, go to sleep and much more.

Nero hub

Schedule – When you set your smart technology to perform a specific action at a time of your choosing. At a basic level, you may set lights to turn on and off.

Sensor – A detector that recognises changes in its surroundings such as temperature, movement, light, noise and more.

Skills – Conversation actions for voice activated speakers. They allow your speaker to collaborate with other devices or apps using shortcut phrases such as “send a WhatsApp message”, “turn off my lights” or “recommend a podcast”.


Smart devices – Simply any object that can be connected to WiFi to become intelligent and perform advanced functions. A common example is a “smart TV” which can be used to browse the internet and stream movies.

Smart plug – A compact attachment for a standard AC outlet or power strip, used to connect any plugged in devices to the internet so they can be controlled remotely.

Voice activated speaker – Also called ‘smart speaker’, this is a compact digital speaker containing a ‘voice assistant’ that does all kinds of things. It is connected to the internet and smart technology in your home, responding to your voice commands without the need for touch screens or buttons. Examples include Google Home, Amazon Echo, Apple Homepod and Sonos One.

Voice assistant – A WiFi connected digital interface housed inside voice activated speakers. It receives verbal commands, handsfree without the need for a screen. Examples include Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri.

Smart plug

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