While I’m not suggesting that you should always mix business with pleasure, the fact of the matter is we’ve all become pretty good multitaskers now that everything we want and need to do is literally at our fingertips. Unfortunately, many of the tasks you perform at home are still done the “old-school way”—manually and one at a time.
Luckily, there are a lot of really smart people in the tech industry that have come up with some awesome ideas to make your home smart too.
WARNING! — once you know these new home smart technologies are available, you won’t want to live without them.
These are the things that actually run your house, so making them work harder instead of you is a no-brainer:
- HVAC Systems — We’ve all heard about smart thermostats that help you save on heating and cooling bills by automatically adjusting the temperature based on a timer or high and low criteria you’ve established. Next generation smart systems can now be operated from an Android or iOS device and can control multi-zone systems. Customized programming allows you to heat or cool the rooms you’re using to save energy.
If that isn’t awesome enough for you, you’ve got to check out Carrier’s latest intuitive control system that manages, get this…humidity levels, ventilation, airflow and even indoor air quality all with wireless connectivity. Add features like occupancy sensing, energy tracking and reporting and you’ll never go back to a manual system again.
- Lighting — If you’re interested in adding a lighting control system to your home without rewiring the entire place, you’ll be glad to find direct retrofit systems that replace your current switches and controls—no special wiring needed. Add a customizable, wireless central panel to control lighting, music, movies and more with a single tap, hands-free or voice-activated operation.
Smart lighting not only manages interior illumination but can take care of the exterior as well. Light up your deck or water features or link it to your alarm system for extra security. Set with the dusk-to-dawn feature that turns on and off automatically.
- Plumbing — You’ll be amazed at some of the brilliant concepts in this category. You now can install “brain pipes” in your home. These monitor your home and can not only detect a leak or break but will send an alert to your smartphone pinpointing the exact location of the problem.
- Water – saving components like faucets, shower heads and toilets aren’t new, but smart appliances are now joining the trend toward environmentally conscious selections. Many include computer chips that control everything from water temperature to wash settings to water conservation. Sync capabilities help you track how much water you’re using and saving.
Outdoor irrigation and lawn care are also getting in on smart technology with systems like ETWater. Convert your current standard water controller to provide the precise amount of water needed based on weather changes, rainfall received and even type of plants. You can control and monitor the irrigation system remotely via a mobile device or computer. This system does require a monthly subscription fee but you’ll have the best lawn in the neighbourhood without doing a thing.
- Sump Pumps — For just a few dollars more than a standard sump pump, you can install a high-tech, state-of-the-art, Wi-Fi enabled sump pump in your home. This overachiever monitors pump level, provides leak detection, sends notifications via text message and email for high water, leaks on the floor, high humidity, low temperature and power loss. It’s even got a built-in rechargeable lithium polymer battery for the ultimate protection.
Keeping your family safe and protected from intruders is a top priority, and today’s high-tech options are affordably priced and won’t require a complete rewire of your home.
- Cameras — Amazon (the company that sells EVERYTHING) now offers an indoor security camera called Cloud Cam that integrates with Alexa and includes features like night vision, two-way talk, and motion sensing. It can tell the difference between activity and general movement, plus push notifications when sensing unusual activity. Use Alexa’s voice activation feature to turn the camera on and off as well as switch views. For a low subscription fee, Amazon also offers 24/7 monitoring to alert law enforcement in case of a break-in.
- Locks — After decades of only offering simple key lock systems, manufacturers are now embracing all-digital products for the residential market. Smart locks are quickly becoming one of the most popular options for homeowners as they don’t require new keys to be made. They simply replace the original deadbolts. The lock mechanism can connect to a smartphone and will automatically lock and unlock by touching the lock. Forgot your phone? You can still use your old key to gain entry. Ingenious, right?
- Garage Door Openers — Homeowners often overlook one of the most vulnerable entry points in their home—the garage door. Traditional garage door openers are exposed to tampering, remote control units can be lost or stolen, and burned out light bulbs can put you at risk of falls or injury. The latest innovation from Skylink Group uses a tamper-proof blocking plate to safeguard against intrusion through the emergency release. The 3-button remote is password-protected so you can stop worrying that someone can get easy access. The unit comes with a lifetime LED light and a battery back-up, so you’ll never be left in the dark again. Ever forget if you closed the garage door when you raced off to work in the morning?
No worries—just take a peek at your connected smartphone app to check the door position and even close it from anywhere. Talk about peace-of-mind!
- Video Doorbell — Even the age-old doorbell has gotten a facelift. New wireless video doorbells come with high-tech features at an affordable price. Units include motion-detection video alerts with live streaming video to notify you when someone comes to the door. The two-way audio and smartphone connectivity allows you to interact with the visitor from anywhere (they’ll never know you’re not there.) Never be afraid of the dark again—it comes equipped with infrared night vision so you can clearly see who’s at your door, day or night.
Home entertainment has never been so accessible. With the introduction of smart entertainment devices, you no longer need a million-dollar estate to enjoy the latest technologies. Put away your collection of remotes, streamline your setup, hide the hardware, and finally untangle from the array of unsightly cables. Check out these smart products that just want to entertain you:
- Smart Hub/Smart Speaker—You’ll need a central station of sorts to control all the various pieces of equipment you want to connect. Using a single interface controller like Amazon Echo or Google Home, you’ll be able to operate all your WiFi- and Bluetooth-compatible equipment quickly and seamlessly. Echo’s hands-free capabilities and voice-activated features give you fast access to music, movies, and gaming to put you “in the zone” in no time.
- Smart TV—With streaming services being all the rage these days, you’ll need a new television to enhance your viewing experience. Smart TVs connect directly to your home WiFi system to allow access to on-demand, streaming, and live programming like never before. While you’re at it, make sure to check out the Ultra 4K or 8K models for the most life-like images you’ll ever see.
- Smart Home Theatre System—Fill the room with amazing sound with a state-of-the-art system. Fully featured speaker systems provide WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity for direct access to online music, movie and video apps. Add extra speakers throughout the home so you can go from room-to-room and never miss a beat.
- Smart Remote—If you’re like every other homeowner, you’ve got remote controls coming out of your ears. Replace them all with one universal unit. Control your TV, set-top box, receiver, sound bar, DVR, and DVD/Blu-ray equipment without juggling multiple remotes. Customizable to set favourites, add/remove buttons and more.
So, are you ready to go shopping?
These are just a few of the smart products and systems available to help give you more control, comfort and convenience in your home. While you can easily spend a ton of money on the latest technology, you don’t have to. It’s time to think about the areas that cause problems now and then look for smart solutions to fix them. New home smart technologies are like potato chips, you can’t just have one.