7 Ways Students Can Affordably Give A Uni Dorm a Smart Home Upgrade

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Today we’re looking at ways to make your college or university room smarter, much smarter. We’re looking at ways to make it safer, easier, more cost effective and more fun. This is the affordable blueprint to a rockstar dorm room.

The evolution of autonomous technology connected via the Internet of Things (IoT devices) have started to take hold in the home in a big way, with the Consumer Electronics Show in las Vegas highlighting that 2016 is to b the ‘year of the smart home’. This technology transcends nicely into the college dorm room, where its range of features make it easy to upgrade your security, make life easier and also hack the heck out of the space to give yourself rockstar college digs. Lets dive in.

Upgrade your lighting with Phillips Hue, giving you a lighting system so good that its bad

Phillips Hue is pretty rockstar, so much so that we talk about it too much here at HomeTechStar. However it is very cool.


Essentially you have a central hub and a range of lightbulbs. The Hub connects with your Wifi network, and it in turn talks with the light switches. You replace the light switches with the Phillips Hue app, meaning you can remotely control your lights from anywhere. A more boring use case is flicking your lights on when you’re out, to either confuse your mates or make potential robbers avoid your place because its light up like a Christmas tree.

More exciting use cases include making the lights move to the beat of your tunes and movies, as well as the huge range of mood lighting that you can trigger when required, especially when ‘entertaining’.

Use Amazon Echo to change the playlist with a simple voice prompt

Amazon, you know that old bookshop online? They’re making a big play for the hardware market, not least around the smart home.

That play is headlined by their Echo product, which is in theory a music player but in reality much more. It uses the Amazon Alexa voice prompt tech, similar to Siri on iOS, meaning you can talk to the Echo in order to rejig the playlist.


Again, it gets better though as Amazon have connected with a wide range of other smart technology, meaning you can now voice control that too. So yes this does mean you could be lying in your bed and start commanding innate objects like your kettle to boil, the shower to turn on, the tunes to start and other such joys, all without moving.

Use The Robot vacuum cleaner to ensure you never have to clean again

If there’s one residing memory of my three wonderful years of college, it is the pit of a ‘home’ that we lived in. As blokes, cleaning wasn’t top of our agenda. We weren’t especially keen to buy a vacuum cleaner, because that would eat into beer budget. We could stretch to a mop, but none of us would stretch to use it. The place was an old worn out dump, and we weren’t about to upgrade it. Step forward technology.

Robot vacuum cleaners have to be one of the most purpose build and utterly perfect pieces of technology for the student. Take the Deebot D77, the latest in an impressive line of Deebot smart hoovers. What makes it so ‘smart’?

Firstly, it can navigate around obstacles and knows where its already been, meaning it can genuinely navigate its way around your dorm room, and save you the job of cleaning.

However it gets better.

It has the capability to automatically empty its dust bin, meaning you don’t even need to clean up after it! You can even set it on a timer to that you schedule when it starts to coincide perfectly with your lecture or seminar, meaning the vacuuming won’t disturb your Fifa sessions.

Get a smart TV to avoid having to ‘chill with Netflix’ around a laptop

We see and hear a lot of advice to use Google Chromecast to connect a TV, which is shrewd, however smart TVs are now pretty much the same price as HD TVs. What’s more, 4K is about to become a thing during 2016. The only vendor in the market in the UK anyway who has 4K content is Netflix, which is a pretty good fit right? They have an £8.99 UHD tariff, and you can now blag a 4k Smart HD TV for under £400. In our opinion, this is quickly becoming worth it, especially as BT Sport is now broadcasting games in 4K. Putting together a top class entertainment system costs hard currency, but it will pay you back quickly. All those pub sessions to catch the game or money out on movies, verses doing it at home and having the lads bring the beer round. £400 over a year becomes a serious bargain.

Use Nest Cam to get 360 degree security

University and college security is a real issue, and frankly its one that is still taken too lightly. This is concerning, with the ranges of petty theft right through to sexual assault still too common on university and college campuses.

Smart home security systems can seriously help here. They’re affordable and much easier to get up and running, and then to take down and move with you compared to traditional CCTV systems (who was going to put one of those in their Uni bedroom?!). These are a different beast – much more disguised and hidden, and they put the content directly onto a companion app on your phone. Most have free online storage too, so if your phone was to go missing in a robbery too, you would still be able to catch the culprit. The Nest 360 is a great shout, largely because it does what it says on the tin – it covers all angles.

Netatmo Presence home security system

Get a smart slow cooker to create rockstar meals on a pauper budget plan

Eating well at university is a challenge, and there is a misconception that students are all about pot noodles, pizza and kebab. Of course these have their time and place, but most students that I knew and know are actually very aware of eating right, and plenty play sport and or go to the gym, so looking good is important and clearly pizza does little to help you there.

Step forward your grans old favourite – the slow cooker, with a smart upgrade. Seriously, these things are bad as$. They make killer chilli, pulled pork, slow cooked beef, casseroles and other nutritious and cheap food. You can buy the rougher cuts of meat too, saving more cash. The smart upgrade makes them fit in with lifestyles which aren’t as predictable as your grans (diner at 7pm, every single night…), menaing you can remotely control when they kick in, and you ca even dial it down to ‘keep warm’ mode, meaning your end of night binge just got an upgrade.