Smart technologies and home improvement tools have combined to make smart homes a realistic.
Futuristic gadgets and homes like the Jetson’s cartoon used to be a thing of the future, but not anymore. Smart technologies and home improvement tools have combined to make smart homes a realistic, tech-savvy, and affordable way to monitor your home’s energy usage, security, and a wide range of other control systems. From digital AC thermostats to automatic locks to smart lighting – installing these gadgets into your home has never been easier. In this post, we will review some of the best gadgets from 2016 and the future of smart home technologies.
What is a “Smart Home”?
A smart home, by definition, is any home that uses compatible devices to integrate the family’s home lifestyle with technology. They can control their appliances, security systems, entertainment consoles, and many other systems using smartphones, laptops, or tablets. Some smart homes have custom electrical wiring that makes them more user friendly and have installed touch screens or digital controls directly into the home’s architecture. Smart homes don’t have to but fully integrated and some can utilize mobile hands-free devices to control different aspects of the home. Smart home technologies are a way that electronic advancements are being used to help homes and families save time, money, and energy.
Top Smart Home Gadgets of 2016
There are many different smart home devices on the market today. Ranging from those that are wireless to those that install directly in the home – this list includes all the most innovative products from 2016.
Smart Thermostats: These thermostats are not only aesthetically pleasing but they also can be synced into smartphones and devices so air conditioning and heating can be controlled remotely. The best two brands on the market include the Nest Learning Thermostat (Nest also makes a smart smoke/gas detector) and the Ecobee3 which both feature large digital displays and synchronization with smart devices. These thermostats are available for $250 and are a great way to utilize your smartphone to conserve energy and control your home’s climate.
Amazon Echo: The best of the best wireless control panel for appliances and other compatible devices. The Amazon Echo is a control point that can be moved around the home to connect all your smart gadgets together. Alexa is the virtual assistant that responds to the voice-activated control speaker. This control panel is perfect for those who want a smart home but don’t want to install gadgets into their home’s structure.
Smart Lighting: A fun way to turn your home into a smart home, this technology can change the light bulbs density, color, and efficiency. The LifX Color 1000 (color-changing light bulbs) and the Phillips Hue Wireless Dimming Kit are the two best lighting systems that make it possible to change the ambient lighting in your home, turn on/off lights that are being used, and have easy to use apps synced with the Amazon Echo or your smartphone.
Security Systems: One of the best ways to make your home smart is to equip it with a smart security system. There are several different products on the market like the BeOn Starter Pack, Scout Home, August Smart Lock, Z Wave Wireless Door/Window Sensor which are all integrated to protect your home and alert you in real-time to any intruders or attempted break-ins. It has never been easier to install a smart security system into your home to give you that extra peace of mind that your home is always protected.
Shower Meter: There are other smart water faucets out there but the Amphiro A1 is specifically a water meter that tracks shower usage. It is a true energy saver as it is powered by the flowing water (doesn’t require electricity or batteries) and displays information about the climate, water temperature and usage to help conserve resources.
Remote Controlled Shades: To help keep out sun and provide extra insulation and climate control – these devices control window treatments or shades that are used on glass windows. The Lutron Serena Remote Controlled Shades allow the user to control the blinds remotely through the app or with iPhone’s Siri. The controls can open/close the shades, schedule them to open/close at certain times per day or have settings for different occasions.
WiFi Video Doorbell: Ever wonder who is ringing the doorbell but don’t want to answer the door if it’s a solicitor or just Fed Ex dropping a package? With the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell users can see who is ringing the doorbell in real time. Even if you don’t want to constantly monitor the app – this company offers free online video storage so you can check who was at your door while you were out.
The Future of Smart Home Technologies
Every year as technologies are advancing, consumers will be integrating their homes to be more compatible with smartphones and devices. As energy conservation becomes more of a concern – some cities have implemented incentive programs for those homeowners who install technologies like smart water meters and thermostats. Some homeowners want the security and convenience of being able to monitor their homes while they are away at work or on vacation.
However, with all the new technology – there are still some concerns with systems being susceptible to hackers and viruses. There are precautions to take to make sure your wireless internet connection is secure and password protected but as technology advances so do those who want to breach the home’s security. There are challenges to get the manufacturers of each separate product to work together to make a system that these technologies can all be used securely. Consumers are vulnerable if the manufacturers don’t cooperate with each other and this problem will continue to increase as smart home technologies become more mainstream.
With any new technology, make sure to research which smart home devices would fit best with your family’s lifestyle and home needs. In the future, more homes will be converted to be compatible with smart technologies and gadgets that make the home more energy-efficient, secure, fun, and economical.