A few years ago, voice-controlled speakers could play music at your command. Today, they do so much more. One of the most popular voice-controlled Bluetooth speakers is the Amazon Echo, which also serves as a digital assistant. Alexa, the Echo’s voice service, answers your questions, turns on music, turns off lights and sets alarms — you don’t even need to touch a button or get up from your seat. Add a smart speaker to each main room in your house for ultimate simplicity.
Although underrated and often overlooked, smart lighting is a great perk to have in today’s modern home — especially if you use other smart technology. Smart bulbs, like the Philips Hue, go beyond just creating ambiance in your home. You can monitor your lighting remotely, schedule it to turn on or off at specific times of day and change the light color to match the mood of a movie you’re watching.
Intelligent Smoke Detector
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors may seem like unexciting home devices, but they’re necessary for your safety. The Nest Protect makes fire and smoke detection smarter. Its industrial-grade smoke sensor can last up to a decade and silently test itself on a regular basis. You can check on the status of the device at any time through the connected app, and if the sensor detects smoke, it will tell you what’s wrong and in what room using a calm, human voice.
Home Security Camera
Home security doesn’t have to be boring. Today’s home security cameras are sleek, discreet and packed with convenient features. You can check on your home remotely, review past feeds, receive notifications if movement is detected and feel safer at home and away. Because there are a handful of options on the market, it’s important to evaluate your needs while purchasing an indoor or outdoor camera.
Wi-Fi Sprinkler Controller
It can seem impossible to settle on the right watering schedule for your yard. With a smart sprinkler, such as Rachio, you can automatically adjust your sprinklers to water when needed, saving time and money. The company claims users can save 50 percent on their outdoor watering bills because Rachio relies on local forecasts, seasons, soil types and sun exposure to create your customized watering schedule and avoid overwatering. Using the app, you can adjust the schedule and monitor usage anytime, anywhere.
6. Smart Alarm Clock
Most of us use our smartphones as alarms, but smart alarm clocks may change that. Acting as a personal assistant and using If This Then That (IFTTT) logic, Bonjour improves your wake-up routine. Users can program the alarm to snooze based on weather conditions, use their favorite Spotify playlist as an alarm or wake them up early if there’s heavy traffic. Bonjour also learns your preferences to improve performance over time. The product has met its Kickstarter funding goal, so look for a pilot run of the device in early 2017.
These devices will make your home look cooler, help you feel more comfortable and safe and decrease your utility bills. Best all, they are affordable and painless to install. Just be prepared — with these smart tech features, you may never want to leave home again.