Smart Homes: 5 Gadgets to Techify Your House

house

Source: iStock

Smartphones and “smart” devices — like smartwatches or smart appliances or even smart cars — are being upgraded constantly. For all intents and purposes they are becoming truly “smarter” as the technology evolves. Just take a look at smartphones, which you can now basically talk to through Google Now, Siri, or Microsoft’s Cortana.

With everything else becoming “smarter,” doesn’t it make sense that some of the other, more important areas of our life should be doing the same? Our homes, for instance, where we spend a large majority of our free time. What if they were “smarter” and more high-tech in nature?

Believe it or not, there are plenty of ways to techify your home and make it “smarter” just like your other smart devices. Want to know how? We’re going to take a look at some ways you can make this happen.

5. Nest Connected Home

Source: Nest.com

At some point, you may have heard of the smart thermostat NEST. It is a connected thermostat that can be accessed and controlled from anywhere, which allows it to provide some extremely unique features.

The most important is that it can be synchronized with other devices to provide a high-tech, “connected” home. This category of devices, aptly labeled “works with NEST” can be tapped into from the thermostat and even controlled. We’re talking about ceiling fans, electrical outlets, appliances, door locks and deadbolts, smart lightbulbs, and even connected sprinkler systems.

Since the NEST can be controlled remotely from a smartphone app, any devices that are also synched up can be accessed too; that includes anything in the list above and then some. And since all of these things can be purchased separately — the NEST is only $249 — you can techify your home over time instead of dishing out tons of money up front.

Plus, if you don’t want any of the other devices you can stick with just the NEST thermostat, which will learn your habits and help you save money by cutting down on energy costs.

4. Wink Smart Home Hub

wink

Source: Wink.com

If you’re going to be converting your home into a high-tech connected one, then you’ll need a control hub for all those new systems and devices. That’s where the Wink Smart Home Hub comes into play. It aims to centralize all those “smart” wireless devices in your home and offer a single place to control them from; your smartphone. The idea behind it is that once you have a bunch of connected appliances and devices in your home, you’ll have to control them all through separate apps, interfaces, and systems. Wink Smart Home Hub merges all of them into a single place.

It can control things like your thermostat, garage door, lights, blinds, door locks, and deadbolts. It’s only $50 with no monthly fees and it’s pretty easy to get up and running.

Just like the NEST, there are devices made to work with Wink too. You can even purchase the hub in kits with other connected devices like bulbs and control panels. This saves you the effort from tracking down compatible accessories and home devices. You can pick up a Wink Smart Home Hub here.

3. iSmart Alarm

smart alarm

Source: ismartalarm.com

If you don’t already have an alarm system for your home, or would just like a more affordable option, then iSmart Alarm is a good choice. It comes with a variety of hardware, including contact sensors for doors and windows, smart electrical switches, cameras and motion sensors, remote controls, and more. It’s essentially a DIY home security system with no contracts or additional fees to pay after setup.

Since most security systems require you to pay monthly to keep them connected, this is already a much better option. Not to mention, basic systems don’t include all the bells and whistles like this one. Video cameras and HD video storage options allow you to monitor your home when you’re away, and not just send out an alert when unauthorized visitors come calling.

As you’d expect from any “smart” or connected home system, the iSmart Alarm also includes a remote control keypad and a mobile app so you can tap into all the various features quickly and easily. If you’re wondering whether or not this system works to deter criminals and burglars, it apparently does, according to WDTN. Buy one here.

2. Connected Smart Bulbs

We’re not going to be talking about one specific brand or model for this next piece of tech, because there are so many out there and they all offer different features and functionality. The fundamentals are the same, however.

Connected bulbs generally offer Wi-Fi connectivity and can plug into any standard light socket. After you download a connected mobile app, you can control the lights right from a smartphone. These bulbs can do a lot of things that regular bulbs can’t, like change different colors, dim, or brighten upon command.

The beauty of connected bulbs is that most of them can be used in junction with other connected home hubs and systems. The NEST or Wink Smart Home Hub, for example, can be used to control connected bulbs in other areas of your home. You could even set it up so that as soon as you walked into a room the lights would turn on, and then dim again or turn off completely after you left.

Some of the more popular smart bulbs you can buy are: Philips Hue connected bulbs, Stack’s Alba Smart LED, Belkin Wemo LED bulbs, Tabu Lumen, Misfit Bolt, and many more.

1. Smart Door Locks

Source: August.com

Source: August.com

With a smart door lock, you’ll never have to rush to find your house key with your hands full of bags again. Once installed, smart door locks can be opened with the tap of your phone screen, or if they support NFC by actually tapping your phone against the lock.

Two devices that offer such a thing include the August Door Lock and the NEST-ready Kevo Kwikset Bluetooth enabled deadbolt. The Kevo deadbolt still includes a traditional physical key lock, but it’s augmented by a variety of “smart” features. You can open the locks with your phone and even provide guests — like friends and family — with temporary access to your home. It’s great if you’re going away on vacation and you need someone to check up on your home or pets.

Most smart door locks can be connected to a larger home automation system like NEST or Wink and can even be controlled through them. Install one these babies on your front door and you’re well on your way to a high-tech home!

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