You’ve heard of smartphones and smart cars, but what about a smart home? These clever gadgets can turn any ordinary house into a smart home.
Fit Smart Locks
Image via Flickr by hnnbz
A smart lock sets the tone for a smart home, making it more user-friendly before you even enter the front door. Rather than fumbling for keys, you can use your smartphone to open the door instead. The most basic models ask you to tap an app’s unlock key, but more advanced smart locks like the Kwikset Kevo and August Smart Lock work with Bluetooth proximity, so your device only needs to be near the door to unlock it.
Sometimes you’ll want to grant access to other people, such as your children or tradesmen. Smart locks allow you to issue virtual keys, providing either unlimited access or access on a date and time of your choosing. This is much more secure than leaving keys under doormats or in potted plants!
Install a Smart Lighting Kit
Traditional light bulbs that turn off and on with the flick of a switch are so passé. Today you can buy smart lighting kits which allow you to create the perfect lighting effects for any mood, and much more.
Each bulb in Belkin’s Wemo LED Lighting set turns on and off according to a schedule set on your mobile device, for example, waking you up in the morning and switching off when you head to work. The Olixar Light Beats Bluetooth Speaker combines a small speaker with an LED bulb, so you can pump out your favorite tunes while you’re making dinner.
There are many other smart lighting products for your smart home, for convenience, safety, esthetics, and to save you money.
Get a Smart Thermostat
Image via Flickr by brendan-c
Smart thermostats from companies like Nest, Ecobee, and Honeywell let you control your home’s climate remotely via Wi-Fi, so you can warm up your home before you arrive home on a winter’s day and switch it off in the dead of the night when you’re soundly sleeping. They also consider environmental factors like humidity to keep you comfortable. Real-time energy consumption displays monitor your carbon footprint so you can adjust your heating habits.
Ecobee claims its smart thermostats save users an average of 23 percent on their utility bills, while Nest says its products save at least 10 percent on heating and 15 percent on cooling. At these rates, it should take somewhere between one and three years for users to recoup the initial cost of a smart thermostat.
Use a Smart Remote Control
Most of us have a host of remote controls for our TVs, stereo systems, Blu-Ray players, personal digital recorders, and other devices. With so many controls, it can be difficult to find the right one when you need it.
Smart remote controls like the Logitech Harmony Smart Control can control up to 225,000 different devices! And if you happen to have a device the Harmony doesn’t recognize, it’s easy enough to program it in. Your Harmony control can be operated via any iPhone or Android device, like the iPhone 6 Plus with T-Mobile’s fast wireless service, or a PC or Mac computer anywhere in the world. That’s perfect for those times when you’re home too late to watch your favorite TV show or you realize you’ve stepped out without turning off your stereo.
Make Meals in a Smart Slow Cooker
Slow cooker fans insist that their favorite appliances let them prepare a meal before they leave for work and have it piping hot when they arrive home. But what if you want to make one of those four-hour recipes, or you’re working a long shift? That’s where Belkin’s Wemo Smart Slow Cooker comes in. The world’s first smartphone-compatible slow cooker allows you to operate the appliance from your iOS or Android device. No matter where you are, you can turn your slow cooker on or off, adjust its cooking time or temperature, or simply check your meal’s status so you can always come home to a tasty dish.
You needn’t get a house custom-built to enjoy the efficiency and comfort of a smart home, thanks to these clever gadgets.