Arguably, the biggest challenge in owning or buying a home is that homes don't keep up with the times in terms of technology.
The good news is that you don't need to rebuild your house in order to modernize it. You can catch up with the times by replacing old articles and gadgets with their modern variants, and a small investment. Scoping out the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, TrustedPros has developed a list of gadgets to inspire your next home improvement project.
If you've ever been to CES, you know that the show has thousands of tech items: cars, games, electronics, appliances, and gizmos—and this always gets the limelight. TrustedPros wants to give you a peek into the CES 'home improvement' category because we strongly believe it can significantly benefit your home. We also want to elaborate on the efficiency and aesthetic current technology brings to your home.
A Smart Home integrates technology that helps homeowners control and monitor heating and cooling, security, lighting, environments, entertainment, and appliances. You can control various items in the home using apps on your smart phone and tablet, from anywhere in the world.
Image courtesy of: www.nest.com/ca/press/#product-images
An important Smart Home feature that has been around for some time now is The Nest Learning Thermostat. Nest is an easy to use thermostat that learns your living patterns and adjusts to them within a few days. It helps save energy by turning the heat down when you leave home, or showing you optimal energy saving temperatures and timeframes. You can control it from your Smartphone, virtually from anywhere in the world. If you're looking to retrofit your home with energy saving technology, consider the little orange wall-node, Nest.
The Keen Smart Filter monitors air quality and is room-specific programmable, allowing you to adjust air flow, channel air-conditioning, and enable dust filtration by outfitting vents with the Keen Smart Filter technology. The device notifies you when new filters are needed. You can also open and close vents remotely with a Smart Device. Overall, a system like Keen Smart Filter can help you save money on cooling and heating while improving air quality inside your home.
The Haiku L Series with Smart Features is a great way to modernize a space while saving energy on cooling and air circulation. Ceiling fans are much more energy efficient in the summer months compared to air conditioning. Different from regular ceiling fans, the Haiku can start running automatically when the room temperature exceeds a certain point, or when a person enters the room. The Haiku is compatible with the abovementioned Nest system to help you save on energy. Great high-tech features also include voice activation with Amazon Echo voice control. As the company name suggests, the Haiku fan is indeed large, making the sleek and modern fan a great futuristic focal point for any space.
The Ora is one of the many platforms on the market that help you control your home with a single device, like your smart-phone or tablet. The Ora's goal is to bring multiple smart technologies from different manufacturers into your home in a user-friendly way. The Panasonic platform integrates multiple gadgets and operating systems, helping you control everything from lights to heating, and from locks to smart appliances. The Ora is what you need if you want to program your own unique living experience.
image courtesy of: www.idevicesinc.com/press/socket
The iDevice Sockets work with Apple's HomeKit, which came out recently in 2015. The system runs on iOS apps through iPhones and iPads. You can even use Siri voice command to control these iDevices while in bed, for example. Plug these smart sockets into wall mounts or twist them onto your lamp, and then add on your traditional light bulb. From there, you can retrofit your home's lighting system to make it a Smart one and control it from your Apple device.
The Samsung Platform allows you to control your home from anywhere, integrating various devices into one seamless platform. You can manage and monitor everything, including Samsung appliances, on your mobile device through an app that functions on multiple operating systems.
LG has its own unique platform to help LG consumers communicate with LG Smart Appliances and Nest using their handheld devices, and voice command. You can send text messages to your LG appliances and communicate with them, telling your vacuum to clean the rug, or your washer to change its cycle. Some notable SmartThinq features include its ability to detect energy conservation and gear your appliances to low energy settings. SmartThinq also helps you troubleshoot any issues with immediate LG call centre connection.
Featuring Amazon Alexa voice technology and cloud access, the Samsung Family Hub fridge is one of the most anticipated refrigerators of 2016, and possibly, of the past decade. With a huge 21.5 LCD monitor on its French door facade, you have access to a calendar app, Pandora music streaming, and Samsung TV reflection. It's a fridge with the ability to order groceries, and cameras inside to give you a glimpse of its contents. You can’t go wrong with the Family Hub’s 28ft3 interior, or it’s perfect combination of entertainment and food!
An aesthetic and sleek addition to your kitchen, the LG Signature sports French doors, a stainless steel exterior, a glass panel to display the contents, and a tap-to-light interior lighting feature on the glass panel. Oh yeah, and the doors open automatically if your hands are full!
These are all great retrofit options for those who don't have a Smart Fridge in their budget. Equip your fridge with a Smarter Fridge Cam to get a peek inside when you're out and want to pick up groceries on your way back. The feed will be sent right to your Smartphone using your home’s Wi-Fi. Or, try a Smarter Mat by placing it in your fridge or pantry to detect stock levels of your milk and sugar containers, for example. Have the information sent to you while you're shopping to see if you need to buy more of something. Finally, Smarter Detect can tell you if there are any key environmental changes in your kitchen: if the oven or fridge has been left open, or if your oven has heated and is ready for use.
With French doors, a 23ft3 capacity, and a pantry-style space optimization layout, Whirlpool's upcoming Smart Fridge is an exciting addition to 2016. It comes with some new features we've never seen before. Adjust your refrigerator's 'mode' to your lifestyle to save on energy. 'Party Mode' will program the fridge to make ice faster and keep the temperature colder, as doors open more frequently. The Whirlpool is Nest compatible, and you can schedule the fridge's defrosting cycles during off-peak hours. Wi-Fi sync applications on your smartphone show you when your fridge needs a new filter.
image courtesy of: www.getkuna.totemapp.com/company
Modern security systems in the tech world usually come with their own lighting systems. Toucan lets you retrofit your home security with your already existing lighting system, and is compatible with any outdoor lighting. Add on to your existing porch light to keep an eye on your exterior. It will send alerts to your phone through a high-resolution camera feed and sound a siren at your door if there's a security threat.
Presence installs at your main door and identifies the difference between people, cars, and animals with a 100-degree field of view. It comes with customizable zones and an attached floodlight. You can program what it watches for and set alarms for people or objects that come too close to your front door. iOS and android compatible, Presence will alert your device with suspicious activity and send feed directly to you while storing it on its internal SD card.
The Kevo Smart Lock is a locking system for your front door that turns your Smartphone into a set of keys while integrating your front door with Nest. When you reach the door, Kevo will notify Nest to turn the heat up, which is pretty cool. Using electronic encryption, you can set up and delete keys on phones and grant access to visitors. You can also track when a key, and which particular key, unlocks and locks your front door.
Smart Security is a 24/7 security device for your home that works alongside the security master ADT. You have the ability to control the device with voice activation. Smart Security learns your family’s regular living patterns and can notice unusual activity in the home. Smart Security keeps in touch with you by sending push notifications to your devices if something unusual happens. You have access to live feed of your home on your mobile device and can set off alarms for any intrusions.
Delta Leak Detector is part of the iDevice family and connects directly to your smart-phone without any modem or hub. It keeps your home safe from any kind of flooding or water damage by detecting the first water drop from a leak, and warning you immediately through your mobile device. It connects with both Apple and Android OS and runs on AAA batteries that are said to last 2 years.
You can throw away the keys with these new Bluetooth locking systems. Great for boxes, sheds, and doors, the Masterlock Smart Padlock works indoors and outdoors. The Smart Padlock recognizes the particular handheld devices that you're using to unlock it, while also providing a directional sequence as a backup code. You can grant other devices access to your Smart Padlock and program specific times of permission.
image courtesy of: www.glanceclock.com
Living up to its name, the Glance is a wall clock that keeps you in touch with all your gadgets at a glance, rather than you having to check your devices individually. Equipped with a display, speakers, and cloud support, it shows you information from your various devices, including smart-phone, tablet, and wearables. It uses icons rather than words to help you see information at a glance. Glance shows relevant data of your location (such as weather updates) to help you prepare for the day. It performs various tasks such as recording the time you spend sleeping and the hour you wake up. Glance also integrates Google Calendar to show you your schedule and present a visual representation of your free time during the day. Glance gives users a customizable view of their life.
This Smart Home planter monitors the vitality of your plant. It uses self-irrigation to keep your plant flourishing to its full potential, working as a 'plant sitter' for up to a month on its own. The Pot is equipped with its own water tank so you can go away and not worry about coming home to—well, a dead plant. It monitors fertilization levels, soil moisture, light, and temperature, sending alerts to your smart-phone so you can keep in touch with your plant s well-being. The Parrot Pot can care for over 8,000 species, making it great for rare plants that require special attention and environments to thrive.
Moving forward, landlines and home phones are becoming more and more obsolete. Ily has taken advantage of the increasing difficulty for communication at home, bringing family members closer, bridging age differences, and enabling remote monitoring and communication across geographical distances. Geared towards families with young kids, Ily helps families connect with kids left at home without parental supervision. Using their personal devices, parents and extended family members can make voice and video calls to check in with the kids at home. You can share photos, store conversations, and send texts and drawings. Ily helps control the content that kids can otherwise access, through devices like tablets and computers, while reducing the barriers that come with communication across time and place.
While some folks like to keep their homes old fashioned with metal keys, remote controls, thermostat dials, and hand-written lists, others can leverage the latest home technology to redefine their lifestyle and manage their homes using voice command and a single electronic device.
image courtesy of: www.nest.com/press
While we are captivated by the increasing synchronization and accessibility of Smart Home technology, we should duly note the aesthetic direction it pushes home improvement in. When we purchase Smart Home technology, we aren’t just getting a cool gadget. We’re buying a cool gadget, masked as attractive décor. TrustedPros values Smart Home technology for home improvement because it does these two things so well. It gives homeowners a leg up within a much smaller budget.
It’s clear that Smart Home tech is changing the way we approach technology in the home from mere functionality, to an attention to aesthetic. We see that the Nest redefines the thermostat dial by turning it into a colourful wall node, masked as décor. The Keen Home Smart Filter changes a regular air vent into an efficient, wood plate designed to look like a maple leaf. The Haiku ceiling fan couples normal ceiling fan efficiency with technological efficiency—and then it adds in sleek modernity.
The beauty of modern technology is that it improves our home's functionality and aesthetic, so you’re really buying two things with one purchase. At least this advantage can comfort the consumer who isn’t totally convinced with the Smart Home technology craze.Posted by: Nicole Silver