If you’re thinking about updating your home, no doubt you will want the latest gadgets. In today’s world that means introducing smart technology into your home items; but, while still very new, the market for smart home products is growing quickly. What is smart home technology? It’s devices that can be controlled with your smartphone such as thermostats, garage door openers, your cookware and more. Yet it can be confusing with all the technology that’s available. So to help you, we’ve put together a list of ten of our favorite new home technology. Let’s check out the first five.
This isn’t your parent’s generation of security cameras. Today’s cameras can be connected and operated by your Android or iOS. This gizmo has a wide-angle view of 130˚ and comes with a swivel, magnetic base that can be placed almost anywhere. The Nest app will email a picture or send an alert to your phone when activity is detected. But if you really want the benefits that go along with this camera, you’ll need to sign up for the Nest Aware program where you can develop Activity Zones, save video history for 10-30 days in the cloud, receive special alerts, view video in 1080p HD and more. Nest Cam also has other terrific features like digital zoom, sharp night vision and a two-way radio.
Darn it! Where’s that garage door remote? Trying to find it while you’re driving can be very dangerous. As long as you have a garage door opener using safety reversing sensors that was made after 1993, MyQ Garage will work with it. No matter where you are, this ingenious tool pairs with your Android or iOS to open, close and monitor your home’s garage door. Using the MyQ app you can set it to receive notifications when your garage door opens or closes—such as when your children return from school. You can also set alerts to inform you that your door is still open. If a family member forgot their key or you’re expecting a delivery, there’s no need to rush home, just tap your smartphone to open your garage door. In the near future, Chamberlain plans to include a feature that lets the device sense when your home and automatically opens the door; then after you’ve driven into the garage, it’ll close the door for you too! How cool!
Regular thermostats monitor the temperature of one room for your home. However, that’s not helpful if your home has one or two rooms that always remain cooler or hotter than other rooms. But thanks to the future of technology, this thermostat allows you to move up in the world. Placing one of the Ecobee’s room sensors in a cold—or hot—room will ensure that room stays at the proper temperature. Yet it doesn’t just sense temperature—this clever gadget knows which room you’re in and makes that room comfy; if there’s no one in a room, Ecobee won’t make that room a priority which will save you money. How’s that for smart? You can have up to 32 sensors and adjust the thermostat from your computer, tablet, iOS or Android. Ecobee also connects with Amazon Echo, SmartThings, Apple HomeKit and Wink.
While some locks are bulky, the SmartCode 916 is compact and, with its one-touch technology, lets you lock your door with only your finger. Yet, if you prefer, you can still use your house keys. If you’re in a hurry and forget to lock your door, don’t worry, the SmartCode can be set to automatically lock the door after 30 seconds of inactivity. The bright, white LED’s make it easy to see at night or during daylight and you can program it with up to 30 personal codes for your friends, family or even the dog walker. The marvelous SecureScreen feature forces you to enter a random code before your individual code; this prevents burglars from deciphering your code through code detection or fingerprints. It also sounds an alarm if there’s a break-in. Even though this nifty gadget doesn’t have its own app, it uses Z-Wave to connect to various smart home hubs.
For a smart home, this speaker could be just what your home needs! This speaker is controlled by your voice, is able to hear you from the other side of a room and is hands-free. If you have Echo Dot or numerous Echos, the system uses Echo Spatial Perception (ESP) to respond from whichever device you’re nearest to. Echo links to Alexa Voice Service to immediately give you information, sport scores, news, weather and more. Echo also plays music from iTunes via a Bluetooth connection to your tablet or phone or from Spotify, TuneIn, Pandora and iHeartRadio. You just have to say the wake-up word—“Alexa”—and say what you need. But that’s not all you can do with this awesome speaker; you can use it to dim the lights, turn on the fan or heater, order a pizza, open your garage with Garageio, turn on the lights, request a ride from Uber and many other things. The Alexa app is easy to use to set up and manage your Echo and connects to iOS, Fire OS, desktop browsers and Android. Echo is always learning your preferences, speech and vocabulary; thus, the more you use it the smarter it gets—which is neat but a little spooky too!
Join us in our next blog to see what other smart home gadgets we recommend—some may surprise you! In the meantime, contact us for help with other ways to update your home.