Beginner’s Guide to smart home products
By Evan Dunn and originally posted on Porch.com
Whether you’ve recently purchased a new construction house, or you happen to live in a historic home, there are several things you can do to make your home more technologically advanced. From unique features on kitchen appliances to the latest security accessories, where do you begin when it comes to upgrading to a smart home? Read on for some tips, tricks, and easy hacks that will help you discover how to make your housework harder and smarter for you.
Smart Home Trends and New Technologies
If you’re thinking about creating a smart home, there’s certainly no shortage of incredible technologies available. One of the most tried-and-true products that can make your home more efficient is smart lighting. These modern light bulbs, lighting systems, and accessories have been around for years, and they’re an easy way to upgrade any space to make it more modern. Smart lighting can change colors, turn on and off, and do a variety of other things with just the press of a button or the sound of your voice. The same applies to other appliances in your home like surround sound speakers, thermostats, and security systems. And, while these are starting to be considered “old school” products, new developments are making them more streamlined than ever.
As for trends in home technology, there’s certainly no shortage of new products and ideas. Today’s updated versions of smart products are more efficient and easier to use than ever before. They’re also much safer than some of their previous counterparts. What once required manual programming is now automatically plug-and-play for most items. Combinations of buttons can now be controlled faster with just the sound of your voice. Even items like smart irrigation systems are being developed and sold that make watering your lawn and garden an easy task with minimal effort required. Thanks to these new developments in smart home technology, you can easily enjoy the things you know and trust with simpler operation than ever before.
Features That Make Life Easier
From productivity apps on your smartphone to a home security system, the smart home products of today are designed to make your life easier. You can even save money with some of these products since many are specially designed to make your home more energy-efficient. Let’s break down some of these items on a task-by-task basis so you can determine which ones will suit your needs and lifestyle.
Whether you work from home or just need some help to make your life more productive, there are several things you can do to get more out of every day.
- Apps: With a simple download to your smartphone or tablet, you can enjoy improved productivity. Apps like Slack are perfect for collaborating with coworkers and clients from afar. And while having a paper agenda is still a great thing, calendar apps like Google Calendar make keeping appointments in one place easy. There are even apps designed to improve your level of focus and creativity. Try Brain.fm if you need help staying focused, and there are countless apps available that are designed to inspire you and encourage creativity to help you through any task.
- Wi-Fi Enhancers: If you’re running into problems with your Internet connection, a Wi-Fi enhancer can help. These products are a cinch to install, and you’ll notice faster Internet speeds and better signal, even if you’ve been struggling in the past. This smart home product is perfect if you work from home or live in a rural area with a weak signal.
- Smart Appliances: Even your refrigerator can help you be more productive these days. Look for a “smart fridge” with a screen built into the door that allows you to make grocery lists, look at your calendar at a glance, and collaborate with family members.
- Smart Vacuums: Keeping your home clean can take a lot of precious time. Consider a robot vacuum that can do the majority of the work for you. These awesome smart home products “learn” your home’s layout and can easily transition from carpet to solid floors to clean up dirt, dust, and debris. It’s a great product for busy people who just don’t have the time or energy to worry about daily vacuuming.
Smart security products are some of the best things you can purchase for your home. These items give you more control over your home and improve your sense of security no matter where you are.
- Smart locks and cameras: For the ultimate home security, use a smart lock that you can control from anywhere. These durable locks also monitor whenever someone comes in and out of the home, and you can assign users to operate the lock when you’re out of town. Cameras are another essential product that can keep your home and family safe. Look for cameras that include an app so you can monitor activity in and around your home remotely no matter where you are.
- Gates: If you have kids or pets, you want to keep them as safe as possible. Look for automated gates that can keep Fido in until you’re ready to let him out. Many of these newer gates can be opened and closed remotely with the push of a button.
- Baby Monitors: The concept of baby monitors has been around for a long time, but today’s version is more convenient than ever. HD cameras offer a clear, crisp resolution, and you can download an app to watch your little one from another room without having to get up from your chair.
- Safe Outlets: Do some baby proofing with smart outlets to keep little ones from getting injured. Try a pop-out outlet that recesses into the walls so your baby or toddler can’t get their little fingers inside.
- Cyber Security: Aside from home security to keep you safe, it’s important to keep cybersecurity in mind too. Identity theft protection is available from a wide range of services and it will alert you whenever someone tries to access your account or use your private information to steal your identity or credit. You can also install software on your PC or Mac to prevent viruses and hackers from affecting your computer and your information.
Today’s consumer wants fast access to entertainment at all times. There are plenty of exceptional smart tech products and apps you can find to enhance your home entertainment experience.
- Video Games: New consoles from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo feature larger memory capacity so you can immerse yourself in a realistic world. These cutting-edge consoles are in conjunction with new games that feature realistic worlds and characters. You can even interact with others as you play, making video games a more social experience.
- Smart TVs and other Gadgets: You can make your dumb TV set smarter with high tech smart TVs. These televisions have a crisp, clear picture and usually include built-in apps to give you streaming and on-demand entertainment whenever you want it. Products like the Amazon Firestick can be supplemented with your smart TV so you can watch almost anything at home, whenever you want.
- Apps: Most entertainment services include an app so you can take your entertainment with you when you’re on the go. These apps are easy to use and link to your account so you can watch your favorite shows and movies anywhere and at any time.
One of the most important ways you can create a smart home is through the use of more efficient products. Whether you’re into saving water or saving money on your energy bill, energy-efficient products can make it happen.
- Energy-Efficient Products and Appliances: Today’s major appliances use less water while still giving you the functionality you need. Look for washing machines that use less water to get clothes clean and refrigerators that keep food cold without the need to use a lot of power. Keep an eye out for the Energy Star logo so you can be sure you choose products and appliances that will help you save money and the planet.
- Smart Lights: LED smart lighting lasts longer and costs less to operate. Look for new smart lighting that you can integrate into your home and watch your energy bill go down.
- Solar Energy: If you really want to save, consider switching to solar energy. It’s the most eco-friendly way to enjoy the comforts of home without straining the power grid. Talk to a local solar company about having panels installed on your roof and watch the savings roll in.
Must Haves Around the House
Aside from all the high-tech gadgets, you should also have some basic items in your home at all times. A fire extinguisher in the kitchen is certainly a must-have item that will keep your home and family safe. Stock a first aid kit with essentials in case of minor injuries. You should also create an emergency kit and a go-bag if you need to evacuate during a natural disaster or other serious emergencies. Look for ultra-bright flashlights with LED bulbs and place several throughout your home in case of a power outage. Be sure to buy some backup battery packs for your smartphone, tablet, and other tech items in case you can’t charge them in an electrical outlet. These crucial items should be in every home just in case you need to access them when an emergency strikes.
Whether it’s a smart thermostat, a robot vacuum, or a security camera system, look for these high-tech gadgets that will make life easier. You don’t have to be a pro to enjoy the perks of having access to a few smart tech products. Upgrade the major components in your home like lighting, security components, and appliances to reap the many benefits that a smart home provides.