Smart Home Devices Are Making Everyday Tasks As Easy As Speaking
When I was a kid, a smart home device was my dad telling me to get off the couch and turn down the air conditioning. Today, I just tell Alexa, she informs Wink, and Wink tells Nest to allow it to get warmer. This happens in a fraction of a second without ever leaving the couch.
For years we have heard about the “house of the future.” Today, we are closer than ever before. While flying cars are still a couple of years away, wireless technology, advanced computing and the “Internet of things” have given us many new devices that can help to make our lives easier and more enjoyable, while saving us both time and money.
From robots that vacuum our homes and cut our lawns, to thermostats we can control from our phone when we are 1000 miles away, the future has arrived in a big way!
Let's take a look at exactly what a smart home is, and some of the best products out there that can make our lives easier and more productive!
The Internet of Things
Think about what life would be like if all of your home's devices were connected to the internet, not just your smartphone and tablet, but everything! Clocks, speakers, cameras, doorbells, windows, blinds, your water heater, appliances, lights... everything. Now image they could all communicate, send you alerts and information and take your commands. This is the “Internet of Things.”
While the technology is here now, one of the challenges facing companies today is cross-communication and compatibility. Most of the big firms like Apple, Samsung, Logitech, Amazon, and Nest are producing devices that are compatible within their sphere, but that is changing as companies work together to make products more cross-compatible.
Intel has been a leader in creating the software and hardware to meet the challenges of smart home integration. They are addressing all of the issues involved with making your smart home “really” smart, including connectivity, interoperability, user interaction, killer apps and security. By combining software integration, hardware, and the power of the cloud, soon there will be a solution to help us transition our homes from being simply connected, to being truly “smart.”
A Few Smart Home Products Worth Checking Out!
While the technology is still emerging, there are products right now that can lock your doors, turn on your lights, and keep you safe using voice commands and smartphone apps. Here are some of the best out there now.
Like your wireless service, a smart home needs a hub. The Echo is an “always on device” that gives you the ability to ask questions about the weather, or the news, and also allows you to interact with smart-home products using only your voice. Voice activation removes a layer of interaction (no more fumbling around with a phone app) and there are already many Echo compatible devices available. Just say "Alexa" and tell her what you would like done.
NEST Home makes a range of smart devices for your home that includes the Nest “smart” thermostat, indoor and outdoor security cameras, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. All are Echo compatible and can be controlled using intuitive apps for your smartphone or tablet and are easy to install in your home. They have been in the market for a while, and their technology and apps are solid, easy to use, and thorough.
SkyBell HD WiFi Video Doorbell
Have you ever been sitting at home and the doorbell rings unexpectedly? You need to get up, go to the door and see who it is that is ringing your bell. Maybe it is a salesperson or even a threat. Enter the Skybell! It is a great device that allows you to see who's at your door and also acts as a security camera by offering free online video storage. Skybell offers 1080p resolution and integrates easily with Alexa, NEST, and IFTTT.
Lutron Caseta In-Wall Wireless Smart Lighting Kit
Lutron's switches perform great and are the most fully-featured smart switches currently available. If you are looking for connected lighting and the ability to control your home's lighting whether you are at home or on the road Lutron switches are well worth the price. These light kits work with Alexa, Nest, Apple HomeKit and more.
D-Link Wi-Fi Water Sensor
If you have ever experienced a flood in your home, you know how devastating it can be. The D-Link device plugs into the wall, so it never needs batteries and works with WiFi. If there is a problem, it sends a push notification directly to your phone, without the need and expense of a smart home hub.
Neato Botvac Connected Robot Vacuum
Imagine never having to vacuum your home again! Coming home to a clean house is pretty freeing, and the Neato Botvac offers the best performance of any bot vac on the market. It is pricey, but it comes with an intuitive app with a remote control to help make cleaning your home easy. Sit back and relax with a glass of wine after work while your Botvac cleans up for you!
The future has arrived! In the coming years adapting your home for smart technology will become easier as communication and connectivity issues are resolved. As the Internet of things continues to evolve our homes will become safer, cleaner, and easier to manage than ever before. Do your research and prepare for the home of the future... and the future is now!
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