Starting Out With Smart Home Tech? A Smart Plug Is Your Easiest In

smart plugOne of the handiest and easiest Smart Home devices to set up is the Smart Plug. Because it’s either off, or on, it’s easy to get to grips with and will allow you to familiarise yourself with the principles of how Smart devices work. This week you’ll be connecting your smart plug, next week you’ll be securely installing and enjoying a complete Smart Home environment!

They’re handy because they allow you to control all the little devices you have around your home which wouldn’t normally be smart or be controlled remotely. So if you have floor lamps, desk fans, electric heaters, or a radio or TV which you’ve had for years but don’t need to be replaced, you can at least make them on-and-offable via a phone app, smart speaker, or home hub.

Each Smart Plug manufacturer is different, but the idea behind the settings on your new Smart Device remain the same, so if your device isn’t exactly the same, you should be able to figure out how to get the same results from your device notwithstanding.

Step 1, Download The Smart Plug App

First of all, it needs something to connect to, so download the plug’s user app to your phone or use a universal app which can detect and control any number of different Smart Home devices. Once you’ve got the software choose ‘add a new device’ from the menu and you’ll be offered a range of different items which can connect via the app, all other devices that the manufacturer makes. Choose the Smart plug and then plug the plug into the wall. The plug will tell you, usually via a blinking LED that it is in pairing mode. The app on the phone should detect this as well and you can now connect them. Once the smart plug is connected to the app you will be asked to give a name to the device. Don’t call it ‘Smart Plug’ but instead call it the object you want to control, and remember whenever you unplug the device, unplug the Smart plug to, or things will get VERY confusing! (You’ll likely have to pair your Smart Plug to your app each time you remove it from the socket, so best to decide where you want everything to stay before you start installing a raft of new Smart Plugs!) Read more

Looking For a Luxury Lifestyle? Try Living In A Smart Home!

Touch sensitive digital heating control panel mounted on a light coloured wall.Smart Home Technology offers a level of convenience and control which most home-owners haven’t seen for over a hundred years, when it was common for the affluent to have housemaids and servants living in the house. Instead of having people hovering around waiting for your commands, now we have technology such as Smart Speakers, Home Hubs and a slew of other devices which can all be controlled from a central station or an app on your phone or computer.

But at what cost? All that convenience which is afforded by connectivity comes at a price. If privacy is a big deal to you then the thought of having devices which have been shown to use recordings of consumers without their permission always listening is anathema. If you shop regularly online, or pay bills over the phone, as many more of us are doing all the time, then the thought that your data or conversations could be stored and shared, revealing your financials and personal information would put you off of investing in any kind of Smart device. Read more

Switching Broadband Providers Is Going To Get Much Easier

image courtesy of https://unsplash.com/@magellol - broadband, changing providers, switch, digital switch, isp, wisp, As with many services, such as your bank, energy or water supplier, the rigmarole, hassle and mistakes which can occur when switching are often the most common reasons people give for not wanting to switch. That is true for broadband data too, or at least it will be until April 2023 when Ofcom introduce the “One Touch Switch” (OTS) service for broadband consumers. OTS, which is currently modelled on the template available to landline phone users takes all of the bother out of the process of switching from one ISP to another, so it will certainly be welcomed by digital data users looking for a better deal.

Currently it’s necessary to deal with both your new and old internet service provider, you’ll be setting up one account and making sure there is as little overlap as you leave your old provider, while also making sure there is no service gap between leaving one and starting with the next either.

Instead the OTS system means that all you will have to do is contact the company you want to have a new contract with and they will arrange the rest.

Depending on which service you want to take up, switching can currently be very easy, provided you are moving from a like to like service with the same infrastructure. Problems arise though when you want to switch to a company which is on a different physical network from the one you’re currently on. As a broadband data provider we, and Ofcom, feel that switching should be as easy and transparent for you the consumer as possible. You don’t care about infrastructure interface, Code Powers, or Physical Infrastructure Access, you just want to get better broadband as quickly as possible. It’s our job to care about that, and then to get you the fastest broadband data as quickly and efficiently as possible. Read more

Get More From Your Broadband Data, Even With Data Hungry Visitors

local broadband, fast broadband, Worthing broadbandA simple way to protect many of your Smart Home devices is to attach them to a guest network rather than the Wi-Fi network you use your broadband to connect with the internet. It’s more secure to connect your smart devices in this way as they are less vulnerable to hacking or scanning, where an outsider looks at the online devices, and scans them for usernames and passwords which haven’t been properly secured. They’re not absolutely invulnerable, but keeping them off of the network which you use to connect your computer to the internet reduces the risks of them being easily accessed.

There are plenty of other very good reasons to set up a guest network on your router as well. For guests, for example.

Make Your Broadband Easy To Use, For The Right People

When you have visitors who all want to connect their phones or laptops to the internet the easiest thing is to make your network password free. Clearly a terrible idea! Instead, the wisest and best thing would be to create a guest network that they can connect to instead of the one you use to connect to the internet. They can connect using a basic password which is easy to remember, and in no way similar to the long, complex passwords you use for your own devices. Making the password easy to remember means that you won’t have to keep re-sending it or resetting it because someone is always forgetting it. Another feature of a guest network is that it prevents those on it from accessing shared folders, printers, and any wireless storage devices which you keep on your regular Wi-Fi network. What that means is that you can keep on doing all your usual stuff on your ‘Home’ network without having to worry about people who’ve access to the ‘Guest’ network seeing anything they shouldn’t. A guest network means you’re able to do that without having to go about changing and adding additional security to all your personal stuff. Read more

Staying Connected While Enjoying The Great British Outdoors

outdoor wireless, internet extender, digital extender, wireless extenderLast week we looked at setting up a temporary home cinema in your garden. But what if you want to extend your Wi-Fi internet into the garden as well. You might want to do this for any number of reasons, and not just so you can work on your tan and stream live feeds from Love Island, the Olympics and the Big Brother house at the same time!

No matter how good your router is, or where you put it, there’s very little chance that you will be able to get good enough reception from it to your phone, tablet or laptop once you go more than a few metres outside. If you’re going to use the internet outdoors you need to think about proper solutions instead of making the best of a technology which wasn’t designed for the purpose to which you’re putting it. However, once you do get Wi-Fi internet in the garden it opens up a great deal of new opportunities which you may not have thought about before.

Taking your Wi-Fi internet outdoors doesn’t only mean that you can watch TV on a mobile device without eating up all of your contract’s data allowance. It means you can convert an outbuilding into a home office or connected workshop, handy if you’re working off plans you need to download or 3D models you need to look at as you’re working. It also means that you’re able to secure these buildings far more easily and effectively than might have been possible before. Security cameras, sensors and alarms which operate wirelessly over Wi-Fi can be located anywhere if you’ve got enough bandwidth in the garden, so you can keep an eye on outbuildings, barns, gates, fences and reverse angles of your home itself instead of being limited to where you can put those devices by the distance you can install a cable.

If you’re interested in taking Wi-Fi outside there are a number of options depending on how you intend to use the internet once it’s out there. Read more

Futureproof Your Smart Devices By Out-Smarting Planned Obsolescence

WiFi enabled tablet in persons handsWhen you buy a car you don’t expect the manufacturer to keep making parts for it indefinitely, just as when you buy a washing machine you don’t expect the maker to carry on producing the precise motor, hoses, belts and drum. But what you do expect is that they produce such a number of replacement and interchangeable, universal parts that you can always find a spare for years to come. But what if that broken element isn’t a cog or camshaft, but a piece of software in your Smart device?

European law is being updated to force manufacturers to make their products more repairable. You may void a warranty by taking a sticker off to take the machine apart to replace a broken doo-dad, but who cares if it was your own fault it got broken, or the thing is past its warranty anyway? With this new law they won’t be able to make goods which would be damaged or destroyed in the process of attempting to fix it. Read more

Briant Broadband For Housing Blocks, HMOs And Developments

local broadband, fast broadband, Worthing broadbandIt’s in no way unusual for a home of multiple occupancy (HMO), apartment block or housing development to run from a single communal television receiver or satellite dish. Companies such as Briant Communications install, repair and maintain those all the time and the benefits are obvious: Professional, insured and guaranteed work and parts, accountability, dealing with a single operator, their familiarity with you, your properties and purchasing process are all a far better proposition than having residents finding their own unvetted, unknown, unprofessional installers scaling the walls, drilling holes and hanging uninsured, untested, equipment sourced from who-knows-where.

If you follow our blog you’ll have seen some of the before and after photos we’ve shared. From multiple aerial and sky dish installations which have been an ongoing amateur project for years, undertaken by any number of bodgers, home-handymen and DIYers to splitters and cable installations which look like high tech birds’ nests shoved into lofts and cupboards under stairs before being abandoned. The photos don’t only show that our engineers take making the installation look good, we ensure that the kit works properly and any subsequent engineer who has to work with it will know it was a job well done, will see immediately where each cable goes, what switch does what and, ideally, be able to fix whatever broke immediately and with the least amount of fuss. Read more

The Smarter The Home, The Bigger & Better The Broadband

ultrafast broadband, broadband, internet, dataWe love all things Smart Home, and have jumped fully aboard the Smart Home Automation revolution. But there is one drawback: You need a broadband subscription if your automated kit is going to work. With most suppliers that comes with the hidden fee of a phone line rental, and then, if you want to operate your Smart Tech remotely you need data for your phone as well, which means another data hungry contract.

While we can’t help with the phone contract, Briant Broadband can help with the data in your home!

Briant Broadband is a new data supply company operating two minutes walk from Worthing town centre which offers a local service based on delivering ultrafast broadband data at an competitive price point but with the benefit of experience and customer service that you only get a family run Worthing business with engineers and installers who live in the area. Read more

Summer Sounds Perfect For Outdoor Home Audio

If we’re going to be living in our gardens this summer it’s worth looking at outdoor smart home audio.

Summer’s almost here, but it doesn’t look like the wisest decision will be to fly away to foreign climes. What with the queues at the gates for Spain, Portugal, France or Italy and the threat of unknown Covid variants further afield it might be wiser just to stay at home, even after having been unable to stray too far from one’s front door for over a year! 

But if you’re going to be spending the summer at home, how do you glam up your garden to make it somewhere you’ll want to spend time? Read more

Why We Keep On Doing Our Work Maintaining TV Receivers & Data

You may be asking how come Briant Communications are still open for business while so many other businesses are on furlough or have shuttered for the duration. The simple answer is that we take our customers and clients health and safety very seriously, and as well as obeying all the government and scientists’ recommendations, we go above and beyond.

First of all much of our work is still considered vital. Life in the 21st century without TV, or broadband data wouldn’t just be dull, it would be almost unimaginable! We’ve come to depend so much on electronic technology that we would be lost without it. Lord Reith’s diktat for the BBC when it was established almost a century ago was for it to “inform, educate and entertain”. Imagine being in lockdown with a poor TV signal or no internet; how would you get your news, homeschool the kids, or keep them from getting bored staring at the same four walls. So that’s why we keep on doing what we do. Our offering is a vital public service. Read more