Turning your house into a smart home has never been easier! There are many products that offer convenience, all while remaining cost-friendly. They’re easy to install, and most operate with free apps. Let’s take a look at some of the easiest and coolest products:
What’s a connected home?
The phrases “connected home” and “smart home” can be used interchangeably. Both terms describe a network of devices connected to the internet or work in conjunction with the Internet of Things (IOT). That phrase, “the Internet of Things,” emerged from the interconnectivity between home appliances, electronics, and utilities to yield better control and smarter functionality.
A connected home maximizes lifestyle by adding convenience, security, and peace of mind. Before you get some connected products, it’s important to have a Wi-Fi connection and a good router. A powerful router is the backbone of a smart home system, allowing you to introduce additional devices as needed.
1. August Smart Lock
The August Smart Lock is a smart home security/convenience addition that uses the existing hardware on your door. It’s battery powered, so complex wiring is not needed. Simply attach the August Smart Lock to an interior lock and connect to your smart phone via Bluetooth and free August App.
Once installed, the August Smart Lock will automatically lock and unlock when you’re in close proximity and it recognizes a registered device. When you have guests arriving that you’re not home to greet, the August Smart Lock helps to improve the security of your home. Instead of leaving a key under the mat, you can set up a one-time access code that guests can use from their smart phone to enter.
An August Connect Wi-Fi bridge is an add-on that utilizes Wi-Fi to monitor activity and allows you to control your lock from anywhere you have a connection. Plus, it’s Apple Home Kit Compatible, allowing Siri to manage the door lock with simple voice commands.
2. Sonos Wi-Fi Speakers
The Sonos line of products offers high-fidelity music playback in your home, all connected and controlled from a smart device and the Sonos app. Sonos is the definition of “Plug & Play;” simply pick a room, plug in a Sonos speaker, download the app, and you’re done.
Sonos connects with many apps such as Spotify™, Pandora™, and iHeartRadio™, and can sync with your iTunes™ account. You can choose playlists, skip songs, or change the volume from anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection. Sonos operates at much longer distances than standard Bluetooth speakers. So, even if they are not in line-of-sight, they still function. Also, Wi-Fi offers higher bandwidth, so music sounds much better than Bluetooth speakers, and it works independently within the app, without interfering with phone calls, web browsing, or texting.
3. Smart Air Conditioners
The days of constantly running an air conditioner and wasting energy/money are over. Standard on/off timers work to a point, but don’t account for different temperatures throughout the day. Smart A/Cs can be programmed from a smartphone to change temperatures multiple times throughout the day, or turn the unit on/off from a remote location.
In some cases, they’ll learn your routine and program themselves at a comfortable temperature based on time of day. Quirky, Friedrich, and Frigidaire Gallery offer products that can change the way you tackle home cooling, which can save time, energy, and money.
4. Amazon Echo: Connected Home Hub
The Amazon Echo is a voice-activated smart Wi-Fi device that can play music, give weather updates, set alarms, and even schedule an Uber™ pick-up. It can also connect with and control other compatible smart devices.
The Echo works off of a cloud-based Amazon service called “Alexa,” and to activate it, just say “Alexa” followed by a command or question. For example, “Alexa, play my favorite Pandora Station,” and your music will play. Once you add other compatible devices, Echo will become a central operating hub. It can schedule lighting, set thermostat changes, arm home security systems, and more.
5. Nest Learning Thermostat
The Nest Learning Thermostat will optimize itself to best fit you and your heating/cooling system. Simply install the sleek-looking thermostat and download the free Nest app.
The Nest automatically adjusts to preferred temperatures and indicates when the temperature is optimally set to save on cooling and heating costs. You can operate it anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection and make adjustments on-the-fly. Also, the Nest is smart, and it automatically adjusts its temperature when you leave, saving you money.
Getting connected is easy, and the benefits keep growing as new technology emerges. From simplifying tasks, saving money, or keeping you and your guests entertained, the smart home revolution is here to stay. Get some other great ideas and learn more about these smart products by clicking here.
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