how to turn your home into a smarthome

Why I’m Obsessed with Smarthome Tech

The smarthome is what’s trending in 2016. We’ve revolutionized the PC, the mobile phone, the watch. Now it’s time for the smarthome to shine.

What makes a home ‘smart’?

A smarthome is one which runs on devices that will make it easier to control different components in the home, as well as ‘learn’ what to do to make a home more efficient. The home is controlled either from a button, a remote control, a companion app on your smartphone or tablet, or your voice.

Smarthome tech can be expensive but worth the investment because in the long-run it will save you money.

Let’s take a look at the more price-friendly ways that you can incorporate smart technology into your home.

Meet Alexa

Alexa is the voice of the Amazon Echo. The Amazon Echo was designed to be Amazon’s foundation in the smart home with other devices being able to connect and be controlled via the Echo. Amazon Echo is an amazing invention that connects you at home and on the go. At home she can be voice-controlled. On the go you can control her via an app on your smartphone or tablet.

Read more about the Amazon Echo

If you can’t afford the Echo then try out the Amazon Tap – a rechargeable WiFi and Bluetooth portable speaker that is smaller and cheaper than the Echo. Unlike the Echo which recognizes your voice wherever you are in the room – with Tap you will have to press a button to give a command or ask a question. You will also need to make sure that the battery is charged – battery life can last up to 9 hours during use. Amazon tap is only available to purchase from March 31 2016.

Let there be light!

Philips Hue have come out with electrical light bulbs that can be controlled by voice via the Amazon Echo or via an app. All you need to say is “Alexa, turn on the kid’s bedroom light” and it’ll turn them on! Away on vacation – no need to fumble around with time-switches to make it look like you’re home. Control your lights from anywhere in the world.

Philips 456194 Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit,

We’ve got the whole world in ours hands

Similar to Philips Hue, WeMo has a light switch that can also control your lights from anywhere via the Amazon Echo, Android (4.1 or higher) Apple iOS (7 or higher), iPod Touch (5th generation or higher), iPad (4 and later), and the most recent Android tablets.

WeMo also has an insight switch which lets you control appliances as well as lighting. WeMo will send information that it gathers about the energy usage of appliances etc. to your smartphone or tablet. This way you’ll be able to keep tabs on your energy usage and learn how you could cut it down.

You can also set time limits for how long the TV is on, and get it to turn off once it reaches that limit. If you’re like me and always forget that you need to take the laundry out – you can set an alarm to notify you once the laundry cycle is done.

WeMo has a collection of smarthome devices including: WeMo Switch, WeMo Light Switch, WeMo LED Lighting Starter Kit, WeMo Insight Switch, and WeMo Motion.

wemo insight switch

 

The Thermostat that learns

The Sensi Wi-Fi programmable Thermostat (which is compatible with Amazon Echo but not a must in order to function) will help cut costs in your energy bills. It runs via a free mobile app (on Android and iOS) and is super easy to install. Schedule your thermostat times while away from home. If you end up staying at the office later than expected, or having to run some errands, don’t waste electricity keeping your home warm while you’re not there. Switch the schedule via your smartphone. Simple!

Man’s Best Friend

Having a pet can be great. But having to constantly care for it and make sure it’s fed can be tiresome. Not if you have the Petnet SmartFeeder! Control feeding times, portion sizes, ingredients, and have replenishment’s of pet food delivered to your door. If you travel a lot or are away at work during the day then this is for you! Currently it only runs on iOS 8 or higher.

Petnet SmartFeeder - Automatic Pet Feeding with your iPhone

The Grass is Greener on the Smarter Side

Gardner’s will love this one – a Smart Sprinkler that can be controlled from anywhere via Android, iOS, or laptop devices. The device will schedule watering periods based on real-time weather forecasts. It will be able to detect if it will rain later, or if it rained earlier, and only water the garden as much as it needs. Saves you water, money, and leaves you with an enviable garden.

Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, 2nd Generation

Do you already own any of these smarthome items? Which is your favorite?

 

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