Top Useful Smart Home Products
When your devices ‘talk’ to each other, your home can really become ‘smart’. Lock and unlock doors remotely, clean your home automatically and set the temperature and lighting upon your return home.
Here are some of the top useful smart home products using IoT…
IoT – Internet of things – allows ‘things’ to talk to each other. For example, your fridge pre-orders things via a shopping list accessed on your phone.
Security is one of IoT’s biggest brags. You can view security cameras from your phone, communicate remotely with visitors to your door via an intercom and remotely check, lock and unlock doors. There is a huge range of options available, naturally attracting a range of prices.
Camera: Arlo Ultra
This smart home security camera is weatherproof and has night vision. It can connect with various platforms – Google, Amazon and Apple HomeKit. You’ll also be able to communicate with anyone within audio range as it has a speaker and microphone. More useful features include auto-zoom and tracking, meaning it recognises moving objects and adjusts zoom accordingly.
Door locks: Samsung SHP-DR708
This smart door lock allows you to control door locks remotely with the smartphone app. It also has a fingerprint scanner, number pad for a passcode and ‘old fashioned’ mechanical key. Additionally, it comes with intruder alarms on both sides – on the inside in the event an unknown user attempts to escape after breaking in and heat alarms that sound in the event of fire.
Virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Next Hub and Google Assistant are fantastic voice-activated controls for music (and much more) in a home. Looking at smart speakers only, you’ll be able to play music for home workouts via voice control and connect TV audio.
Smart speaker: Sonos One
This highly rated smart speaker is a powerful voice-controlled speaker. It allows for loud audio – even in the bathroom as it’s humidity proof. The speaker can be controlled by the app too. The Sonos One’s sound quality is the biggest attraction of the device, perfect for music and voice.
Another brag for the smart home user is controlling temperature. Users often comment on the power (money) saved by heating or cooling specific areas of their homes at specific times. Depending on the system, you’ll be able to control the temperature, fan speed, ventilation and other settings via an app on your phone. Some can track your daily movements and adjust temperature controls accordingly – ie; turn the system off when you leave home.
Smart home temperature control: Ecobee Smart Thermostat
Canadian-based Ecobee has been on the cutting edge of home temperature controls for a while now. The Smart Thermostat is voice controlled and connects to the Ecobee user-friendly app. Additionally, it allows for various other third-party integration too. Ecobee claims up to 23% savings on annual energy costs.
A smart power supply is a cheap and simple way to make your home ‘smarter’. Basically, a power board which connects to your WiFi. You’ll be able to control power to devices plugged into your smart power supply via your phone – an easy way to make things like lamps and ovens ‘smart’. For example, you can turn on a kettle at a certain time each morning remotely or turn a group of things off completely when you’re not home.
Smart power supply: Belkin Wemo Insight Smart Plug
Monitor your power use with energy usage reports, create schedules and connect with all big name tech companies. This device is super easy to install and use with the Wemo app available on iOS and Android. For parents, control users’ power supply and receive notifications when devices are in use.
The word ‘gimmicky’ can come to mind with some of these devices. However, they do have their uses too. Being able to control light colour, illumination and turn it on and off are the takeaways. You can also link these with other smart home devices, like the smart food lock for example. The light can then turn on and off when you enter or exit a room.
Smart home light: Wyze Bulb
This bulb can be controlled via your voice when connected to Alexa or Google Assistant for example. There is of course, the Wyze app allowing dimmer switches and other controls. Setup is super simple – insert the Wyze Bulb into a socket, download the app, pair and you’re done.
In the Kitchen:
Kitchens are another huge market for useful smart home products as there are numerous devices that require power. Cook something in the oven and monitor the progress via a camera linked to your phone with changeable settings and smart fridges that display recipes.
Smart fridge: Samsung 656L Family Hub
The main party trick of the 656L Family Hub is the large touch screen on the door. You’ll be able to communicate with others, watch TV, see inside the fridge (also from your phone) and of course access and follow cooking instructions. Add items to your shopping list with voice commands, make and receive calls and organise a meal plan.
Smart home devices may seem a little unnecessary or even just a party trick, but that’s what people said about smartphones originally. As the technology is still new(ish), prices can be pretty high. If you’re not familiar with useful smart home products, try one of the cheaper options like a smart power supply or a security camera that connects to your phone. Have a look around your home and make a shopping list first to see where smart devices could help you.
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