To turn your home into a smart home you require constant Wi-Fi connection, smart home appliances or devices and a smart home system to connect, monitor and control these devices.

Imagine as you drive towards your home, the gate slides open with a simple click of a button on your smart phone, then, as you walk towards the entrance to the house, the door is remotely opened for you, by someone in the house, using their smart phones as well, after having seen your image on the smart phone as well.

Sitting comfortably on your couch, you use your phone or command Alexa or google assistant (virtual assistants that responds to voice commands) to turn on your favorite DSTV channel. At a click of a button also on your smart phone, you close your window blinds and then tell Alexa to turn on the lights as well, now, that my friends, is a smart house. 

At this point I know some of you probably think I watch a lot of movies, but these services are available in Kampala ready to be installed in your home.

What is a smart house?

According to Boaz Shani, the director and audio-visual consultant at PRO AV Africa, a company which distributes smart technology for homes and commercial buildings, a smart house is one where appliances and electric devices are automatically controlled remotely from anywhere, through an internet connection using a smart phone or other networked devices. 

Devices in a smart home are interconnected through the internet (WI-FI), allowing the user to control functions such as security access to the home, lighting or a home theater remotely.

You can operate a home theatre remotely. PHOTO/PRO AV Africa

“In a smart home, you have the liberty to operate your smart devices using smart phone apps, voice commands to virtual assistants such as Alexa, automation, or artificial intelligence. These smart devices may be inbuilt or added. To turn your home into a smart home you require constant Wi-Fi connection, smart home appliances or devices and a smart home system to connect, monitor and control these devices,” explains Shani.   

Smart home technologies

Smart cameras can help you keep watch on your children, using your smart phone or tablet while you are away. Are they doing their homework or children or busy watching TV instead? Most of us, me inclusive, have reservations when it comes to having cameras in the house, but after a few gruesome home videos that have gone viral, I am a convert. 

Smart motion sensors

Smart motion sensors are designed to tell the difference between residents, visitors, pets or burglars, based on the type of movement and send alert on your phone or to relevant authorities if suspicious behavior is detected.

Smart lighting systems

Using your smart device such as a phone you can dim or increase intensity of your lighting. They also have sensors which enable them to light up every time someone walks into a room. Some smart lights are timed to turn off and on specific time of the day, this can helpful when people keep forgetting to turn off the security lights during the day. You can also control your lights through a virtual assistant software such as Alexa, google assistant which are programmed to your voice. Did your seven-year-old forget to turn off the lights in their room? You can do it on the way to school right from your phone.

Smart blinds and curtains

 Your blinds and curtains are automated, so you do not have to draw them manually. “All blinds and curtains can be automated using smart mortars connected to them, this way you can also tell Alexa to lower the blinds for you,” Shani explains. You also configure them to open and close at set times, for example 7am and close at 6:30pm. 

Streamline your chores with smart appliances, such as smart vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, washers and dryers. These also allow remote access and control, and can give you information relevant to each appliance.

 For example, smart washing machines, which send a notification on your phone, when the washing cycle is complete. In the near future, most refrigerators will be able to scan groceries, letting you know when the eggs are about to expire or how much milk you have left so you can buy some more, some will even able to make shopping list based on what is left in the fridge.

An intelligently designed home theater, audio system can make managing your movie and music collection effortless when entertaining guests. 


Smart homes make life at home simply more convenient. Smart homes can accommodate user preferences for convenience in many ways. For example, users can programme their garage door to open, the lights to go on, and their favourite tunes to play upon their arrival.

They also beneficial for the elderly and people living with disabilities because they give them a sense of independence. They can delegate tasks through a smart virtual assistant such as control lights, lock doors, operate a telephone or use a computer.      


Smart home systems, although very convenient, also come with some security concerns, because just like any ICT technology, they can be hacked. When hackers find a way to access your smart network, they can find a way to turn off alarm systems and lights, leaving the home vulnerable to a break-ins.

Such security risks and bugs continue to plague makers and users of smart home technology. To mitigate such risks a smart home owner can protect their smart appliances and devices with strong passwords, using encryption when available, and only connecting trusted devices to one’s smart home system.

A very obvious downside for most of us of course, is the cost it takes install smart technology. It is quite costly for an average Ugandan who is trying to make ends meet to acquire smart appliances. Shani however, explains that there is something for everyone.

“ You do not necessarily have to automate all devices, for example you might want a smart home theatre, but with speakers installed only in the living room that will not cost as much as a client who wants speakers installed in each room and with each person being able to  play their own music playlist,” says Shani.

Where to find the services

There are several audio-visual professionals that can help you tech-out your home, or you can work directly with companies which specialise in smart home designs and distribution of Audio-visual technology, such PRO AV Africa (Professional Audio Visual) or Mirai Smart Home Automations in Kampala.

Sheena Akansasira, a design engineer at PRO AV Africa, says incorporating smart home technology design during construction of your house would make the installation process run more smoothly than doing it after.

. “That, however, does not mean that it is  too late for those who want to install into their existing houses. It is still achievable,” Akansasira says.

She urges those interesting into turning their homes into smart one to carry out enough research before purchasing a smart device or appliance, or reaching out to the service providers.

 “It is also always best to work with a company in Uganda instead of importing your own equipment, this way maintenance and other support will be very easy,” she says. 

Lastly, some people have difficulty with technology or will give up on it with the first inconvenience, which is why the following factors should be considered when deciding on a design and plan for your smart house system according to how

 Is the device actually fulfilling a need or is it just a fancy and potentially frustrating toy? How many people will be required to use the system? Who will know how to operate the system? How intuitive will the system be to a non-user? Who will know how to maintain the system and address failures? How easy is it to make changes to the interface?