From nanny cams to robot assistants, there is an endless amount of technology that you can use to customize your home. The idea of a 'smart home' may seem daunting to some, it has been the subject of many good-thing-gone-wrong types of movies. It has also sparked a lot of debate about the increasing role of technology in our lives. So even if you aren't ready for that robot assistant, there are many ways to implement technology into your home. These advances can make daily life easier, give you a sense of security, make your home run more efficiently and environment-friendly, and save you money.
The easiest place to start is with a hub device like Wink, Smart Things, and Iris. These hubs make using smart home technology much easier than ever before. Now all your devices can be controlled in one easy-to-use-app on your phone. Digital light and lock controls are among the cheapest and easiest tools to add to your home. With the hub, you can do this remotely as you are walking up to your front door. Using a hub also allows you to form connections between your different devices which makes the technology more meaningful. Have your A/C automatically turn off and on as people come and go. Have your lights turn on when you pull into your garage or a front door that knows to lock itself when you leave. Implement whatever connection you can think of; whatever works best for you and your family. This basic technology is very affordable, painless to install, and can be done in any space. Curbed Boston Magazine recently covered a couple in San Fransisco who even changed their rented apartment into a smart home, find that here.
Gadgets and Gizmos:
If you want to take your smart home to the next level try adding more equipment into the mix. There is a huge range of devices that can be used in your home, from smart planting pots to scales that tell you your body fat index. A few exciting products are highlighted below:
-Wally Home is a home detection system which can alert you in the case of a water leak. 40% of homeowners experience water damage which can be a very serious and expensive problem. The system comes with sensors which you can place in areas where water damage is most likely to occur, like near your washing machine. When a leak is detected an alter is sent to your phone. If you are unable to get home you can even have the system send a professional to your home to fix the problem. Sensors can also be placed on doors and windows to notify you when they have been accidently left open. Additionally Wally Home monitors extreme changes in temperature and humidity in your home which could be signs of such problems like water damage, freezing pipes, or fire.
-Did you leave your curling iron on? Thanks to Leviton switches there is no need to worry. Use them to plug in any of your hot devices and you'll have the ability to turn them off and on with your phone. Have peace of mind, ensure safety.
-Has there ever been an argument over who is the better driver in your home? Well, with Automatic you can find out who is right. Automatic comes with a car plug in and an app for your phone. Once it is plugged into your car it will send information on your driving habits to your phone. It will review the drive, give you updates to improve the safety of your driving, tell you how much gas you used, how much money the trip cost you in gas money, etc. It can even be used to keep track of where you parked your car, and in the case that you get in an accident, it will even call the authorities for you. This device will help save you money and promises to make driving a safer experience for everyone.
-Can't keep your grass alive in the summer? Ever watered your lawn while it was raining? Skydrop takes the guessing out of the watering process. It monitors weather reports in real-time and adapts your water cycle accordingly, that way your plants always get the right amount of water. Skydrop can be attached to any preexisting sprinkler system and will send updates to your phone, making it really easy to use. Skydrop also is a great water conserver and on average leads to your home using 35% less water on your yard. That's both environmentally friendly and a money saver.
-Rainbow lights, every mood lights. Philips Lighting is now selling hue lights which can be changed to any color under the rainbow through your smartphone. They come in normal bulbs and as light strips allowing you to set whatever mood you want in the different areas of your home.
Smart Home Design:
Increasingly homes are being designed with built-in technology. These products are a big step past your in home intercom system. This equipment allows your home to work for you, lowering power and utility bills, and creating an overall more efficient space.
-Tired of cleaning your floors? In the future, you might now have to clean them at all! Toto USA has self-cleaning tiles in development. These tiles have a special coating which blocks out dirt and oil and even kill bacteria that comes in contact with the surface. Place these in your kitchen and bathroom to keep them cleaner for the loner and always sanitary. This product is expected to come out in the coming year. Lauzon Flooring already offers a similar product in hardwood flooring. Their Pure Genius Flooring helps eliminate air pollutants in your home. Recent studies have shown that the air in your home can be even more polluted than the air outside because of its sealed off nature and constant contact with various building materials. As pollutants come in contact with the flooring they are eliminated improving your air quality up to 85%.
-If you don't like the idea of spying on your home with hidden cameras, the people at future shape have a unique solution for you. Their product, Sense Floor, can be placed under any flooring. It has built in sensors which can detect the number of people in your home and their locations. Now your floor can alert you of an intruder or if your kid has a party while you are gone for the weekend. The flooring can even detect if someone falls and call the police in the case of such a medical emergency.
-Efficient kitchen. Kitchen Aid sells a dishwasher that cleans itself after every use. Eliminating the build up of derby which lead to dishwashers running inefficiently and using more water. This product will conserve water and save you money on your utilities without you having to put in the effort of cleaning your dishwasher. Subzero Wolf sells a refrigerator with technology created by NASA that cleans the air in the fridge every twenty minutes. The cleaning process kills all bacteria and mold in the space. This will prevent the build of mold and other dirt cutting back on how often you need to clean your fridge and will keep food fresh much longer.
Wanting more? Visit this article by House Beautiful for a longer list of gadgets and where to buy them.
Maybe you don't buy into all those movies about robots taking over the world, maybe that robot assistant sounds pretty good to you... Lucky for you, you have your very own robot assistant in the near future.
Meet Jibo. Jibo will become the world's first social robot for the home. It has been designed to interact with you and your family on a level above what we see in robotics now. Siri can tell you a joke, but Jibo can recognize you and remember your interests. Jibo can be your photographer, run your smart home, read your child a bedtime story, create your schedule, order your take out, and more. Using a robot of this kind allows you to streamline the operation all the features of your home by using voice commands.
Jibo is not the only robot of its kind, there are many similar designs in development from companies around the world. Jibo is, however, the most complex of robots of this kind and will be the first one to become available for consumer purchase. The company has declared that Jibo will be release in the next year, you can go to their website now to join the waitlist.
Smart home technology can save you money and add simplicity to your life. The degree you use these new technologies in your home is up to you. Smart home creation is a completely customizable experience and can be done slowly and affordably.