Smart Home Innovations You Need

Smart home innovations have taken off in the past few years bringing the stuff of science fiction into the home and doing what all great technology should do: making life simpler and easier.

Let’s explore the latest smart home technology, take a peek at what’s right around the corner, and ask the tough question: do you really need any of it?

Whole Home Smart Devices

 The “internet of things” (IoT) is connecting the rooms in your home like never before and simplifying house-wide systems like climate control.

 Voice

A smart home does more than streamline your house’s infrastructure; it synergizes your entire digital life. Amazon’s Echo and Google’s voice are the front runners in the emerging field of voice-controlled speakers.

These let you play music, control your home’s thermostat and lighting, or just look up random facts, all hands-free.

Constant updates and improvements in AI give voice platforms ever-expanding capabilities.

Lighting

The future is here with LED lighting. Not only are these lights 80% more efficient, but they also come in a wider variety of hues, color temperatures, and brightness. It’s possible to even pair your lights with your entertainment system to create an interactive viewing experience. 

Climate Control

Smart climate control is a “set it and forget it” solution that saves you money while making your home more comfortable. A smart thermostat takes the guesswork out of climate control by automatically adjusting the temperature for different times of day and in different rooms.

Robot Vacuums

Robot vacuums have been around for a while now, but they’ve come down in price in recent years and are now integrated with apps and mobile devices. They start at just over $100.

The same technology is being used outdoors in robot lawn mowers and robot pool cleaners.

Safety & Security

Home safety concerns have always driven tech innovation. The current trend is towards sleeker and more user-friendly security measures that are integrated into your smart home controls.

Doors and Locks

You no longer have to be home or hand out keys to let someone in the door. Smart locks, like the Ring doorbell, can be controlled by your phone from anywhere. You can ask Alexa to lock and unlock your door using Amazon’s Key. Key also allows Prime members to let in the delivery person and watch the delivery live.

Cameras

Security cameras are nothing new, but today’s options are smaller and simpler. You can set up a home surveillance system yourself and monitor it from anywhere using your phone.

Smoke Detectors

Smart smoke detectors tell you exactly where the smoke is coming from. You can receive alerts when you’re not home. You can use your phone to switch off a false alarm rather than getting up on a chair to poke the smoke detector. 

Take Your Kitchen to The Future with Smart Appliances

From app-integrated appliances to touch-screen fridges, kitchens can be as smart as you want them to be. We’re seeing exciting new smart appliances from tech companies like Samsung and LG as well as traditional appliance brands like Bosch.  

Cooking

Sous vide cooking has a long history, but its popularity has taken off in recent years thanks to Bluetooth devices that allow you to perfectly regulate cooking temperatures.

Meat thermometers, microwaves, and scales are all mobile-enabled now. A new scale called Drop features one-bowl recipes designed specifically for the scale’s app.

Fridges

Notes on the fridge can now be digitized

. Samsung’s Family Hub smart fridges feature a large touch screen with apps you can sync to your phone and other devices.

Faucets

Smart faucets, which are also available in the bathroom, allow you to control the exact temperature and amount of water making things more comfortable and less wasteful.

Smart Devices for the Bedroom

Quality of life is often the best place to draw the line between technologies you need vs. what’s nice to have. Nowhere does smart home technology have a more noticeable impact than in the room where you spend a third of your life.

Smart Sleep

Apps and IoT devices like the Beddit in bed sensor can monitor and analyze your sleep. You can use this information to develop better sleep habits.

In the same way traditional appliance companies have gotten into kitchen tech, the mattress maker Beauty Rest now offers its own sleep tracking technology.

Alarms

Smart sleep devices can share information with alarms that wake you up more gently in harmony with your natural sleep cycle.

Lighting

LED lighting is great for the reasons we mentioned earlier; but when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, changing the temperature of your lighting does more than just set the mood. Studies show that blue wavelengths of light trick our bodies into thinking the sun is rising and it’s time to wake up. This is why phones and laptops have adopted night mode in recent years.

LED lighting lets you do the same with the lights in your home when it’s time to wind down.

Smart Bathroom Tech

While not the first room you might think of when it comes to technology, bathrooms are getting smarter.

Toilets

The undisputed global leader in toilet technology is Japan. Now Japanese toilet features like heated seats, floor lighting, and built-in bidets are making their way onto the U.S market at a range of price points.

In the near future, smart toilets will do more than warm your bottom. Scientists are working to develop toilets than can analyze human waste for health info and alert users to potential issues.

Lighting

As with the rest of the house, LED lighting presents a cheap and simple way to make a big change in the feel of a room. These versatile bulbs can be customized to suit the need for different kinds of light in a bathroom. You can have warm mood lighting over the tub and something brighter over the mirror, adjusting the tone and brightness as needed.

LED lights have even been incorporated into some showerheads with high-end models boasting of mood-boosting benefits.

Mirrors

Bathroom mirrors have become part of the IoT with programmable lights, built-in-speakers, and connections to your home’s other devices.

Speakers

With waterproof speakers, you can ask Alexa to order more soap or just listen to music, while you’re in the shower.

Scales

Makers of wearables like Fitbit are designing bathroom scales that do more than weigh you. Smart scales can help you with your fitness goals by monitoring vital statistics like body fat and BMI.

But do You Need it?

That’s the big question. The answer will be different for everyone, but here are a couple ways of looking at the question of whether you really need a hot new gadget.

Define Need

The main purpose of technology is to improve our lives. You could wash your clothes by hand, but washing machines are so useful and time saving that they’re considered a basic need in the developed world.

Other needs are more personal. If you already live a connected life with numerous IoT devices, syncing more devices to this network might make things even smoother and less complicated.

Buy Now or Hold Off?

When DVD players debuted in 1996, they cost $1,000. Today, thanks to streaming and on-demand video, they’re almost worthless. Sometime in between was the time to upgrade from your VCR with its blinking clock. This is how pretty much all technology evolves.

Big improvements or price drops could be right around the corner. You may be better off waiting. On the other hand, if you’re excited by having what’s new or if you like the idea of being a pioneering early adopter, then, by all means, go for it.

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