As it does in most other aspects of day to day life, technology offers us more convenient options for doing many of the same things we do already. This week we will be taking a look at just a few of the devices that help to accomplish this, how they improve on their current counterparts, and how you can build your very own smart home.
Heating and cooling our homes accounts for about half of our daily energy consumption. With that in mind, first up on this list of smart home devices is the Nest Learning Thermostat. This high-tech thermostat is designed to learn from your daily schedule and program itself in about two weeks.This helps it conserve energy, and as a result save the user money. It automatically adjusts to your preferred temperatures for bedtime, heats or cools your home so that it’s just right as you arrive home from work or school. The thermostat sets itself to an energy efficient temperature when you’re out of the house. In addition to having all those features right out of the box, Nest has a free app for smartphones and tablets that allows you to review and adjust your home’s energy usage, and make any one time adjustments remotely.
This next smart home device is made by several different brands, the robot vacuum. These time saving mini-maids aren’t quite Rosie from The Jetsons, but they will allow their owners to skip out on one of the most dreaded chores of all, vacuuming (models that mop and scrub stores also being sold). They can come with a host of features that tend to differ from device to device and range from remote controls, to brushes designed for pet hair, to accessories made specifically for hardwood floors. The robot vacuum space is currently being dominated by two companies: iRobot, the company most commonly known for the Roomba, and Neato, whose line of robot vacuums can create virtual maps of rooms and systematically clean them from corner to corner.
Next up on our list is the Belkin WeMo. This device boasts the potential to make every device in your home that is plugged into an AC outlet controllable from your smartphone or tablet. WeMo does this primarily through their Insight Switch, which can be plugged into an existing power outlet and has its own power switch. It then uses that switch to control the flow of electricity to whatever is plugged into it. The WeMo line also includes a set of light switches, Smart Light Bulbs, that allow you to control the lights in your home from your smartphone or tablet, as well a camera, the NetCam HD+, geared towards those looking to increase home monitoring and security.
You may notice a theme in the smart home appliances we’ve mentioned so far, they replace devices that you likely already have to fulfill that functionality, add features, and connect them to your smartphone. Following this trend is the Nest Protect, which replaces your current smoke detector with one that delivers vocal cues, and tests itself for functionality every night. It can be silenced by the very same waving motion we all do to wisp smoke away from our smoke detectors anyway, giving us another welcomed addition to our smart home appliance family
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