Smart Home

Do you remember “The Clapper?” You know, the wireless sound-activated on/off switcher for lights. Seeing those in TV shows looked so high-tech and smart. Who came up with the brilliant idea that you don’t even need to get off the couch to turn off the lights? Brilliant!
And now we have “Smart Homes.” Gadgets and automation tools that provide not only convenience, but also safety, comfort, energy efficiency and both short and long-term cost savings. it is pretty remarkable how quickly “smart” homes have evolved. And if you don’t jump on the smart home train soon, you could be missing out on some very important benefits:

  1. Money Savings – there are many different ways you can cut down on home costs and save money with the right tools. Here are just a few:
    - Optimize your heat and AC usage: you can actually reduce the amount of energy you use while you are away from home by keeping the thermostat controls flexible and at your fingertips. The temperature in your home can actually be adjusted depending on your schedule. For example, if you work a 9-to-5 job, you can program the thermostat accordingly during the day while you are away from home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this act can lower your heating and cooling costs by up to $180 per year.(1)

    - Save on your electricity bill – in addition to heating and cooling systems, you can also positively impact your electricity bill by monitoring and adjusting your lights and other electricity usage. We’ve all had that feeling right when you leave the house when you try to remember if you turned off the lights, your hair straightener, your clothing iron, or anything else “plugged in.” Now you can actually set up an alert to notify you if something you didn’t want was left on. Some items, such as lights, can even be switched off remotely with your device. Or lights can be connected to a censor to automatically turn on or off when you enter or leave a room.

    - Lower homeowner insurance – ding-ding, we are always trying to find new ways to minimize on insurance costs. Since your insurance payment is directly tied to your perceived risk, by setting up the right tools to minimize that risk, you are setting yourself up for success. Many insurance companies will actually incentivize homeowners who take the right steps to reduce their risk. For example, a smart security system with monitoring can (on average) lower home insurance costs by about 15%.

    - Minimize Disaster Damage – from smoke and fires, to burglary and theft, to leaks and floods, disasters are sometimes inevitable in a home. Luckily, with the right technology, you can link your devices to alert local authorities and minimize (and sometimes even avoid) the damage.

  2. Keep things you care about safe
    - Mail and Package Deliveries – did you know that 23 million Americans have had packages stolen?1 Yikes! Porch pirates are everywhere, but you can utilize technology to avoid falling victim to this act. Whether you implement a smart lock (an outdoor box and padlock to keep your package safe) or a simple doorbell camera, these are just a couple options you can set up to keep your package deliveries safe.

    - Outdoor Cameras – although outdoor cameras are important for keeping an eye on package deliveries, they also come in handy for ensuring peace of mind that your home (and your loved ones) are safe. Whether you are at work all day or out on a date night, having that oversight into all areas of your home – from your front door to your backyard – gives you peace of mind and a level of comfort that you are in control of your own home.

    - Pet Cameras – we can’t forget our furry friends! Setting up a pet cam can keep an eye on elderly or anxious pets, or just give you a few free minutes of entertainment while you are away from home. Bonus – some of these devices even allow you to take pictures, talk over a speaker or distribute a treat into a dispensary for your pets. This is likely as much beneficial to you, as it is your pet.

  3. Convenience
    - Voice control – from texting to asking Alexa for a recipe, simply asking a device a question with your voice makes it extremely convenient to multitask and get things done. Your hands could be full of groceries and you can still turn on the lights and pull up your to-do list for the night.

    - Central Hub – hubs and controllers allow you to integrate devices and gadgets across the whole house. This can feel like your very own personal robot!

    - Cooking, Cleaning and Lifestyle – “Smart” home technology can impact almost anything and everything. Cooking? New gadgets are popping up non-stop to increase efficiency to boil, cook, and make delicious food. Cleaning? Set up an automatic vacuum to clean while you’re sleeping or at work. Lifestyle? From working out mechanisms to lawn maintenance devices, you can implement smart devices to complement and significantly enhance these tasks.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t. With the Internet of Things right at your fingertips, you can do endless research to discover what the best tools are for your situation. For convenience, here is a tried-and-true list created by PCMAG.com that lists the best products tested out for each and every room. (2)

Hubs & Controllers

  • Amazon Echo
  • Wink Hub 2
  • Logitech Harmony Elite
  • iHome iSP6X SmartPlug

Smart Home Surveillance Cameras

  • iSmartAlarm iCamera Keep Pro
  • Wyze Cam V2
  • SkyBell HD
  • Smart Locks & Home Security Systems
  • August Smart Lock Pro + Connect
  • ADT Pulse
  • SimpliSafe Home Security System

Smart Heating & Cooling

  • Ecobee4
  • Nest Learning Thermostat
  • Hisense 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Wi-Fi

Smart Lighting

  • Philips Hue Bulbs
  • Eufy Lumos Smart Bulb White and Color
  • Ecobee Switch+

Smart Kitchen Appliances

  • Anova Culinary Precision Cooker Wi-Fi
  • Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker with SmartChef Technology
  • Perfect Bake Pro
  • Traeger Timberline 1300

Smart Vacuums

  • Ecovacs Deebot N79S
  • Neato Botvac D7 Connected
  • iRobot Braava Jet 240

Smart Health and Fitness Devices

  • QardioBase2
  • Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed

Smart Outdoor Gadgets

  • Polaris 9650iQ
  • Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller
  • Husqvarna Automower 315X

Smart homes are exciting! But it’s important to do your homework and ensure you’re building the right “smart” home for your family. Life moves quickly and it is important to continue to evolve and grow to ensure you are maximizing it. Try one or try many, we look forward to your continued growth and advancement at home and in life.

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(1) https://www.vivint.com/resources/article/smart-homes-save-you-costs
(2) https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2410889,00.asp