Within the past few years, we have seen the rise of the internet-of-things, including many within home automation and smart homes. But, with this being said, there are a variety of devices and ways in which you can smarten up your house. Whether you want to replace your doorbell with a camera-enabled device or control your lighting through your Amazon Echo, there are a variety of options available to you. If you are interested in turning your home into a smart home, here are just a few ways to create an ultimate smart home.
One of the more futuristic looking and “2001: A Space Odyssey”-esque examples of smart home technology is the smart doorbell. The most popular device in this class in the Ring Wi-Fi Enabled Video Doorbell. The device looks a bit like HAL from “2001,” but is fitted with various sensors and a video camera.
When someone approaches your door, the Ring will alert you through your smartphone or PC. Once alerted you can see a live video feed of whoever is in front of your door. From there, you can also utilize the Ring’s audio or video chat features to communicate with the visitor. Popular Science gave the Ring a 3 out of 5, but other smart doorbells like the Zmodo Greet and the Elzoneta Doorbell are also available on sites like Amazon.
Other than the various digital assistant on the market, the most recognizable smart home device is probably the Nest Learning Thermostat. Now in its third generation, the thermostat is compatible with Amazon Echo, Google Assistant and Apple Homekit. This device works through an 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi system as well as a Bluetooth system and 512MB of RAM. Once installed, the Nest Thermostat allows you to control the temperature of your home through the aforementioned smart home platforms or your iOS or Android device.
The most innovative and useful feature of the newer Nest systems is the fact that it is capable of learning. Essentially, this means that the Nest can learn the best ways to conserve energy based on whether you are home or not, the weather and other factors. The away/home learning functions through an interesting geofencing feature that uses your smartphone to inform your thermostat about whether you are home or not. While PC Magazine did rate the third generation Nest Thermostat as one of the best devices in its class, it is still rather pricey. Luckily, other smart thermostats like the Ecobee exist, which allows for similar functionality with a smaller price tag.
If you want to not only have a smart home but also impress your friends, you may want to install smart lights into your home. While many of these smart lights exist, it all depends on what you want the smart lights to do. For example, if you want to be able to change the color of the lights in your home, you may want to go for Lifx Color 1000. Rated at an 8.4 on CNET, the Lifx, allows you to change your lights’ color to a variety of hues using your Nest system, the Amazon Echo platform and Microsoft Windows.
If you are uninterested in the color of your lights, the Philips Hue Dimmer Switch is another impressive option. This dimmer switch allows for the user to dim and brighten up to ten light bulbs simply by using platforms like Amazon Echo, Apple Homekit and Google Assistant. Just keep in mind, the Phillips Hue Dimmer Switch requires the Wireless Dimmer Kit for general functionality.
The above concepts and devices are just a few of the many ways that you can make your phone smarter and more modern. There is no doubt that new smart devices will be released as technology progresses, allowing for even more ways to soup up your smart home.