5 Tech Toys to Help Create the Perfect Smart Home
If you thought smart technology was limited to mobile devices, it's time to rethink your world. Smart home tech launched around 2010 as energy-conscious developers created smart thermostats that could help homeowners better regulate the climate inside their residence, while saving the individual money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
Today's smart home technology has advanced well beyond just a thermostat, with everything from video-enabled doorbells to personal companions. Browse this list of tech toys and see how smart your home really can be.
The doorbell on your home gets a major facelift with the installation of a Ring Doorbell. With this smart technology, you can see who is at your door whether you're in the living room, at the office, or on vacation. Using Wi-Fi connectivity in your home, Ring's wide-angle HD camera shows you who is at the door and allows you to speak with them without ever leaving the couch.
More importantly, ring has smart-motion detection across four visual zones, sending notifications to your smartphone about movement on the property. Ring syncs with any smartphone, and has an available Chime extension that allows you to hear a doorbell even if you aren't by your phone.
August Smart Lock
Sticking by the security of your front door, the August Smart Lock does away with the need for a key. No more losing your front door key or hiding a spare in the false rock out front. The August Smart Lock isn't set apart from the rest by its looks, price, or performance, but rather its functionality. CNET considers it the best among smart locks it reviewed because it looks like a normal door lock and doesn't require a full replacement of your deadbolt. In fact, the August Smart Lock works with the existing deadbolt in your door, providing an easy swap out to upgrade your smart home.
This particular smart lock is controlled via Bluetooth, so you'll need the companion app on your Android or iOS device to control the lock. Installation and the setup of your "key" in the app are easy processes, making the August Smart Lock one of the best options available today.
A good night's sleep is key to a healthy life. Luna is a smart bed mattress cover that raised an eye-popping $1.1 million on Indiegogo, a crowdfunding site. The primary appeal of Luna is the ability to track sleep patterns without having to wear a wristband of any kind, but it has more benefits than that.
Rather than tracking just one individual, Luna can track the sleep patterns and data for both people in a couple. Advanced connectivity is coming to Luna that will integrate it into a smart home platform in which you can use Luna to control heating, lighting, alarms, front door locks, and even your coffee maker from the comfort. For those who can't start the day without a cup of Joe, Luna will learn your sleep habits and wake times and fire up the coffeemaker before your toes hit the floor. Imagine such a world!
If you're not interested in creating a fully integrated smart home just yet, perhaps you should just start with a smart coffee maker and tea maker. The iKettle is an internet-connected water kettle that will boil water for you to use in your morning tea or instant coffee. Using the companion app you can either start iKettle on the spot when you wake up each morning, or schedule a start time with it every day.
For those consumers dreaming big, but lacking the full knowledge to create a fully-integrated smart home, Belkin's WeMo is your best solution. The WeMo plugs into any standard outlet in your home, and each subsequent switch you plug into the WeMo system (coffee maker, lights, TV, etc.) can be controlled via the companion app on your smartphone. The plug-and-play simplicity of WeMo makes it easy to add devices to your connected smart home network, and it clocks in as one of the most affordable smart home options at just $49 for the WeMo. CNET offers an in-depth breakdown here.
Whether you're looking to make your morning routine easier or envision a home similar to that of the Jetsons, there are smart home technologies available to help you achieve your goals.