Technology has permeated into every corner of our lives, and more recently into our homes. With connectivity increasing around the globe, the internet has provided a highway of information transferal that has allowed for instant access to the world’s collective data. With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) it has become common for product manufactures to evolve their products to accommodate the demand for interconnected gadgets.
Smart-technology can be described as a product that goes above and beyond its expected capabilities and is likely to be connected to the internet. Smartphones, being the prime example, are something that integrate multiple functionalities (i.e. phone, camera, web browser) into a single device. Now it is possible to have any household item from the fridge to the kettle connected to the internet to provide a seamless and ultra-convenient user experience.
From voice recognition systems to autonomous lighting, with enough money it is possible to transform the home space into an interconnected technology hub. The list below will explore 20 smart technologies on the market that have the ability to transform your home into something straight out of a sci-fi novel.
20. Amazon Echo
If you’ve had even one ear tuned into the latest technology trends, it would have been hard to escape reviews of Amazon’s all-in-one centralized smart assistant. The Echo uses personal assistant avatar Alexa to receive voice-activated commands that will answer questions, read books, report on the latest news, control thermostats, switches and anything else connected to the internet. Using the Echo to its maximum potential would mean using it as a centralized module to control the home environment by hooking it up to other smart tech around the house. Connection to the cloud allows for continuous updates and development providing the user with a one-stop-shop for entertainment, information and home orientated tasks.
19. Lifx Color 1000
These customizable light bulbs can transform your home from a mundane monochromatic space into a multi-coloured mood enhancing atmosphere, all controlled by an app from your smartphone. Schedules can be implemented with a gradual lighting increase to slowly wake you up in the morning and the device has compatibility with the Amazon Echo, allowing for control using voice-based commands from afar. At $50 per bulb, kitting out your whole home may take some serious saving. Nevertheless, they are bright, energy efficient and represent the peak of modern lighting.
18. Nest Learning Thermostat
The flagship product from Google’s home automation company Nest is their sleekly designed interconnected thermostat. By connecting the device to Wi-Fi, air and water temperatures can be controlled seamlessly from your phone, computer or tablet. The built-in artificial intelligence is the reason the device is labelled the ‘learning thermostat’, as it learns from user habits and creates schedules based on input-data to suit the user’s preferences and save energy. The device can tell when you’re away from home using the geo-location of your smartphone, and will adjust the temperature accordingly for optimum energy efficiency.
17. iRobot Roomba 980
The automated vacuum cleaner, a remarkable invention that eradicates the arduous process involved in vacuum cleaning from start to finish. With the flick of a button you have a bot roaming the floors to fulfill its single purpose, to destroy all dust. Scheduling daily cleans is a breeze with the iRobot application, making life just that little bit simpler. Equipped with a camera, the Roomba 980 uses software to create a visual map of its surroundings which is then used avoid objects on its journey around your living room floor. A beautifully crafted device, the Roomba is one of the best robo-vacuums currently on the market.
Imagine a robot that lives in your house, recognizes the faces of all family members, reads stories to the kids, plays games, dances and answers questions. You have just imagined Jibo. Advertised as a social robot, Jibo’s aim is to analyze social signals and react to those signals in a social context as seamlessly as possible. Jibo has the ability to sense when you’re feeling blue and do its best to improve your mood. Robots are starting to get that level of emotional cognition that will see them in the future blend into all types of environments. At the forefront of social robotics, Jibo is one to keep an eye on in the near future.
15. iKettle 2.0
The iKettle sets itself apart from the crowd with its Wi-Fi connectivity and controllability through its associated app. Boiling the kettle from bed or on your way home couldn’t be made easier if you tried. Besides the pure convenience of the device, custom temperatures can be set for specialty teas and formula milk. Bordering on the thin line between pure genius and futile, the iKettle is aimed at the high-end hot drink connoisseur who at all times has one eye glued to the time.
14. Belkin WeMo Switch
With more and more tech being welcomed into the household, so has the pressure to live an environmentally friendly existence. Electric cars are on the horizon thanks to companies like Tesla Motors, and public opinion towards a greener outlook has risen. The Wi-Fi enabled WeMo switch from Belkin acts as a plug sock over a plug socket, allowing users to switch electronic devices that are connected on or off through the convenience their smartphones. A list of connected devices is displayed, giving you the option to toggle things on and off as you please.
13. Google Home
Another instance of the voice-activated home assistant, Google Home harnesses the impressive AI that has been developed since the advent of the search engine giant. ‘OK Google’ will soon take the place of ‘Hello, how are you’ and information will no longer be transferred from human to human but instead from machine to human. Visually, the Google Home comes across as more elegant than Amazon’s Echo and has similar compatibility with other home automation systems including WeMo, Nest and Samsung. AI butlers are fighting for the rights to your home and with Google’s services (maps, translation and scheduling info) the Home may just have the edge over young Alexa.
12. It Bed by Sleep Number
Yes that’s right, even your bed has the capacity for intelligence now. The customizable bed allows you to adjust comfort levels to the perfect setting and comes with in-built tech that will track and optimize sleep patterns. And if your comfort levels don’t suit your other half, they can customize their side of the bed to their preference! The system will measure heart rates, breathing and movement, and in the morning display those results to show how well you rested. The idea is that over time the integrated technology learns comfort preferences and understands how physical activity and the sleep environment effect your sleep quality, and subsequently offers personalized recommendations for a better night’s sleep.
11. Netatmo Personal Weather Station
This personal weather station created by smart home company Netatmo consists of two aluminium sensors, one for indoors and one for out. The sensors monitor weather, Co2 levels, humidity, barometric pressure, noise levels and temperature and display the results in a stylish application for both smartphones and tablets. The sharp design allows the indoor sensor not to look too out of place in the home environment and the outdoor sensor comes with a strap allowing users to attach the sensor to parts of the house to give the most accurate weather readings.
10. Danalock v2
This smart lock gives the user total control over their home security, all from the convenience of a smartphone application. Using cutting edge Bluetooth technology, the device is mounted on the front door and detects when you are on your way home. With the correct settings configured, the device has the capability to have the garage door open on arrival, unlock the front door automatically and integrate with other smart devices to have the lighting set and music playing on arrival. You can grant limited access to visitors at certain times, saving the worry of leaving keys under the mat, and also monitor who is going in at out of the house while you’re away.
9. Tile Mate
Tile Mate is the third-generation in the Tile tracker series, and solves the everyday nightmare of misplacing your belongings. Misplace your keys on a regular basis? Attaching a small Tile Mate key ring will mean the next time this happens you’ll be able to locate the exact location using the smartphone app and force the device to play a tune to make the hunt even easier. Tiles can also be placed in wallets and any other item that disappears on a regular basis. “But what about when I lose my phone?” I hear you say. Well, press the button on a tile you do have and the phone will ring as well, voila!
8. WeMo Crock-Pot Slow Cooker
Another entry from Belkin’s smart WeMo series, this Wi-Fi connected slow cooker allows you to prepare your meal, empty the contents into the cooker, set the temperature and leave the house for the day knowing when you return your food will be cooked and ready for consumption. The app allows you to check the progress of the meal throughout the day and vary the temperature if needed. Another terrific part of the WeMo family, this slow cooker doesn’t require the chef to stand over for routine checks but instead allows you to relax in the knowledge that when you’re hungry you will have a delicious slow cooked meal ready to feast on!
7. Oral-B SmartSeries 6500
With the aid of technology, the manual toothbrush naturally evolved into a new and improved cleaning experience. Now the electric toothbrush has evolved even further to utilize Bluetooth connectivity, allowing for communication with smartphone applications. This high-end brush comes with six different cleaning modes, a smart timer that counts down the time of use and a docking station and four separate brush heads. The Bluetooth connectivity allows you to monitor your cleaning habits and implement a cleaning plan that’s suitable for you, and the smart timer will also display in a five-star rating, telling you how well you’ve cleaned those pearly whites.
6. Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator
Samsung’s smart fridge comes fully equipped with a 21.5 inch touchscreen that features a wide variety of applications and uses. A whiteboard app for scribbling down new recipes or shopping lists, a fully functional web browser, calendar view (integration with outlook & Gmail) as well as music streaming applications. One of the most notable features is the ‘View Inside’ functionality in which interior cameras snap the latest contents of the fridge and saves it so it can be viewed on the associated app. Meaning when out and about, it’s possible to view what is currently in your fridge to help you decide on what goods need to be replaced and what doesn’t. Genius.
5. Withings Body Cardio
Smart scales are used predominantly to do the job of their manual predecessor but with additional focus on data. Firstly, what data can be collected, and secondly how to present that data in the best way possible. The Withings smart scale will monitor weight by collecting the data from each measurement, and present that back through its smartphone application so the user can monitor variations over time. Not only weight is measured with this device, but also body mass index, body composition (fat, muscle, water & bone mass), standing heart rate and pulse wave velocity. There is also syncing functionality between the Withings fitness applications for a holistic health monitoring experience.
4. Logitech Harmony Elite Remote
Universal remotes are nothing new, but the amount of devices that have the ability to connect over a network has increased massively, and therefore the need for centralized control has rocketed. This Logitech universal remote will integrate with over 270,000 entertainment and smart home devices including all the big names in the smart-home market. The remote allows you to create one-touch or scheduled activities and puts an end to the complexity of having multiple smart devices present in the home. A perfect alternative for those skeptical about having a voice-enabled robot in their house.
3. Robomow RS630
A lawn mowing robot, this is where we are as a species. The Robomow will let you take the Sunday afternoon off while it roams freely around the garden munching grass whereever it goes. A landscaper’s worst enemy, the Robomow initially takes some time to setup and will require the installation of perimeter wire to prevent the next door neighbors’ garden from receiving an unwanted makeover. But apart from that, the rest is plain sailing, so sit back and watch the robot do all the work, just the way it should be.
2. SkyBell HD
Boasting a 1080p HD camera, Skybell’s smart front doorbell has everything you would want from such a device. Motion alert sensors, smartphone compatibility, clip stores for viewing camera streaming and integration with existing smart home systems including Nest and the Amazon Echo. With an intuitive smartphone app, the system as a whole is at the forefront of smart doorbells and smart security. Just switch off the power to your doorbell, remove your old bell and attach the existing wires to the included SkyBell mounting plate and that’s it, your doorbell from the future is installed.
1. Dojo Pebble
The internet of things is fast becoming the sought after dream of tech lovers and those who enjoy the convenience of handing responsibility over to robots. The security of these devices is something that will worry a lot of potential buyers though. Anything connected to the internet has the potential to be hacked and some might prefer to leave the idea of a rouge robot roaming the house to science fiction. Here’s where the Dojo Pebble comes in, a network-based solution that aims to secure all devices connected through the internet. The box plugs into your existing Wi-Fi router via an Ethernet cable to monitor network traffic and generates a view of all connected devices, continuously monitoring their activity and giving appropriate warnings to users.
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