It may seem second nature now to ask Alexa to add batteries to your shopping list or tell Roomba to vacuum the living room. For people who love gadgets, there’s no limit to how you can increase your home’s IQ with smart devices.
What is a smart device?
In general, smart devices are products that connect to the internet so you can control them from your phone using an application (app). Many can also be controlled by voice. Smart devices often support scheduling, so you can program your devices to do something at a certain time, like turn on the coffee pot at 7 a.m. or close the garage door after 30 minutes. And, using Amazon Alexa and/or Google Assistant , you can program your devices to work together and do multiple things simultaneously, like adjust the temperature and lighting when you get home. With Apple HomeKit , you can control your devices with Siri voice commands or from an Apple Watch.
Smart devices to consider for inside your home:
There are 41.3 million “smart homes” in the United States—the most of any country. In fact, 69 percent of American homes have at least one smart device. In addition, nearly half of homeowners—46 percent—want their current or future homes to have smart devices installed. But with new products hitting the market every day, it can be difficult to determine which ones are worth the investment.
Here are some smart devices you may want to add to your home during or after construction.
- Smart speaker: Smart speakers are the most popular smart home technology. Twenty-five percent of American adults own a smart speaker, amounting to 157 million smart speaker devices nationwide. Beyond playing music, almost all smart speakers can connect to smart home devices, often serving as the “hub” of smart home technology. Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri work with most major smart home device brands.
- Smart display: As an alternative or in addition to a smart speaker, you might want a smart display. They offer the same hands-free voice assistant features as a smart speaker but with a useful touch screen that can play live feeds from your smart doorbell or security camera, make video calls, and control your connected gadgets with a few taps.
- Smart lightbulbs: One of the easiest and most affordable ways to upgrade your living room is to swap your standard incandescent bulbs for smart light bulbs, which are LED bulbs that can connect to the Internet or Bluetooth devices. Because they can be controlled via app or voice control, you’ll never have to get out of your warm, comfy bed to turn the lights off at night or to turn them on in the morning. And, some styles allow you to change the bulb’s color depending on your mood or the ambiance you desire.
- Smart thermostat: The most popular smart thermostats let you monitor and control your home’s heating and cooling system by phone or voice, set temperature schedules, and offer energy-saving features that can help lower your bill. Using this device, you can change the temperature of your home remotely, which can be especially helpful if you have a second home. Some models learn your heating and cooling preferences throughout the day and night, then automatically program a customized plan. Other features include reminders to change your furnace filter and diagnostic reports.
- Smart oven: Hate waiting to see if your roast is done? A smart oven allows you to control and monitor the oven from your phone and offers step-by-step cooking instructions for chef-level results. Some models includes built-in cameras so you can watch a live stream of your food cooking on your phone.
- Smart refrigerators: Not to be outdone by smart ovens, smart fridges are one of the most popular and advanced smart appliances. Many have a built-in, tablet-like screen that serves as a memo board to write your grocery list. Some models have a built-in camera, so you can check if you need milk or eggs while you’re at the store, while others can open themselves via voice command when you have your hands full.
- Smart coffee makers : Use an app or voice control to turn on the coffee maker as you step into the shower or tap the app to select a stronger brew. Some models allow you to program it to brew your coffee at a specific time each day automatically.
- Smart vacuum: These have been around for a while, but newer models offer advanced features like extra-large dustbins that only need to be emptied once a month, technology that lets it learn your home’s layout so that you can tell it to go to a specific room, and all-in-one models that both vacuum and mop. With a smart vacuum, you can schedule cleaning times, cancel cleaning jobs, and get alerts when your robot is stuck, all from your phone.
- Smart air purifier: Imagine having an air purifier that can sense poor air quality and respond automatically. Helpful for those with allergies and asthma, some models feature HEPA air purifiers combined with oscillating fans, both of which can be controlled by voice.
- Smart toilet: Yep, you read that right. With a smart toilet, you can open and close the seat without using your hands. Some models offer additional features like a night light, heated seat, a warm-air drying system for your bottom, an automatic deodorizer, and a self-cleaning function.
- Smart bathtub: A smart tub can make bath time with kids easier, enabling you to fill the tub with your phone or voice while loading the dishwasher after dinner. You can automatically draw the bath to your preferred temperature and depth with a simple voice command or a few taps in an app. Just add bubbles!
- Smart mirror: Upgrading your vanity with a smart mirror means you can customize light settings or listen to your favorite music or podcasts through a built-in speaker. Smart mirrors designed for bathrooms often come with anti-fog technology. Outside of the bathroom, smart workout mirrors feature exercise videos so all you have to do is follow the on-screen instructor. From boxing to yoga to cardio, it’s like having a personal trainer right in your home.
- Other smart options: If you can dream it, it’s been made smarter: microwaves, dishwashers, air fryers, toaster ovens, InstaPots, washers, dryers, and more.
Are smart homes the future?
While they may seem like products from The Jetsons, smart home technology is likely here to stay. As you plan your custom Dakan home, think about what smart features you want to include and be sure to add wi-fi connections in your kitchen or laundry room to make connecting your appliances that much easier. Rob and Julie can help you plan the best smart solution for your home, family, and needs.
This is part one of a two-part article. Next month, learn about smart devices for your garage and landscaping.