The idea of a smart home used to just be a whimsical concept, like something out of a science fiction movie. A few years ago you’d never guess that smart technology would find its way into our homes and how we manage them. Now, you don’t have to be Tony Stark to enjoy the benefits of a smart home. Here are some of our tips using already available devices and technologies to can make your home smarter.
1.) Get high speed Internet. This almost goes without saying as it is the internet which connects all of our devices and makes them interact with each other. While your internet speed will mostly depend on your Internet Service Provider, you can buy a high-speed WiFi router that will maximize whatever internet plan you’re on. They are also quite affordable: a Google WiFi costs less than $100 and can power your home with fast connection.
2.) Invest in smart locks for your doors. You can have all the best technology at your disposal, but getting your house broken into and having it all stolen would not only be painful; it would be a great inconvenience to replace. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to invest in a smart lock. This kind of lock works by unlocking your door only when your smartphone or approved device is in close proximity. This means no more getting locked out because you’ve lost your keys. For an even more fool-proof solution, you can get the Kwikset Kevo for $180 (additional $100 for the Premium option) on Amazon. It works with both a physical key and a smartphone app.
3.) For even better security, purchase a security camera. Modern security and CCTV cameras can now store hours and hours of footage on a larger storage, which means the days of recording over a tape are but gone. These days, you can get an even live stream footage onto your smartphone or tablet, so you can keep an eye on your house at any time of the day.
4.) Upgrade to a Smart TV. Not only do the new models have stunning displays for the utmost in digital entertainment, they are functional, too. Being able to stream Netflix on a large HD screen is enough for most people, but did you know that you can live stream from other places in the world too? Apps like Ustream can show live footage from forests, mountains, even live sports events. You can even find apps that stream direct from the International Space Station! You also can browse web pages by using it as a large monitor. The good news is, as this technology matures, more apps will be optimized for it, which could only be exciting for us.
5.) Make your home even more comfortable with a smart thermostat. Imagine coming home and your place is at the perfect temperature, every time. With new smart home systems such as Apple’s HomeKit, you can adjust your house’s internal temperature to anything you like. Although you pay a little bit up front, in the long run it can save you money on electric bills since it only turns on your air conditioning or heating unit when you need it. Some systems even “remember” your preferences and adjust to your routine.
6.) Get your light bulbs Wifi-connected too. Similar to your thermostat, you can also configure your lighting with your system to turn on and off only as needed. The bulbs themselves are energy-efficient, so you won’t get shocked by the bill when it arrives.
7.) If that’s not enough, you can get a smart meter to help you save even more money. You’ll be able to monitor your power usage with just a glance at the screen. They also automatically send your usage data to your energy supplier. This technology also still has a lot of room for improvement, but should be standard issue in a few years because of its potential.
8.) “Talk” to your home. When Siri launched on the iPhone, we thought it was just a funny way to get answers to mundane questions. Now, your digital assistants can turn your appliances on and off.
9.) The Universal Remote is now truly universal. New models of this amazing device are now able to control everything from TVs to lighting fixtures. It is almost like a smartphone with its new touchscreen feature, and you can surprise your guests by playing music and streaming video with a touch of a button.
10.) Finally, keep your smart home clean with a robotic vacuum cleaner. While it is not as new as the other devices, robotic vacuums have come as long way from their conception in the early 2000s. Now, these little cleaners come fully equipped with WiFi and lasers, meaning they need virtually no assistance to function. Some advanced models, like the iRobot Roomba 960.