What is Your Home’s IQ?
As our lives become busier, technology enhances and the pressure to be environmentally friendly grows, the idea of creating “smart homes” is quickly gaining popularity. While the name may sound unattainable or expensive, it is actually a simple concept. Creating your own smart home is something that can be personalized to fit your needs, capabilities and budget by selecting technology to upgrade your home and simplify your day.
Lighting & Appliance Automation
Belkin WeMo | $50 – $130
Belkin’s family of home automation products includes Smart LED Bulbs, WeMo Switch, WeMo Motion, WeMo Light Switch or WeMo Insight Switches allowing you to turn devices on or off, program customized notifications and change device status – from anywhere.
Utilizing Wi-Fi and mobile internet, the WeMo productsare controlled via a free mobile app on your phone or tablet or by motion when in person. Devices monitor energy usage and cost, allowing you to gather real-time information. The WeMo family of products is designed to work together, making it easy to expand the system into other rooms of your home along the way.
Nest Thermostat | $249
Not only does Nest know how to keep you and your family safe, but it also knows how to keep them comfortable and your house energy efficient. The Nest Thermostat, also deemed the “learning thermostat,” helps make your home a smart home in a variety of ways. It learns your schedule by tracking the times of day you adjust it, and can also sense when no one is home in order to avoid wasting energy. It works to dehumidify your home, notifies you when it has adjusted to optimal energy efficient settings and provides you with details on your energy use. Similar to Belkin’s WeMo products, it also allows remote access via mobile app. The most beneficial feature – it knows how to save you money on your energy bill using two services Nest offers, Rush Hour Rewards and Seasonal Savings. Details on these services can be found on support.nest.com.
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Nest Protect | $129
Nest’s smoke and carbon monoxide alarm is better than your average smoke alarm, and for good reason. It gives warning signs such as lights and a “Heads Up” pre-alarm with a human voice, which can be silenced with a simple wave of the hand. In the event it’s a real emergency, Nest uses a voice alarm, alerting you of the location and nature of the problem. Should carbon monoxide be detected, the alarm goes off while simultaneously communicating with Nest Thermostat to turn off the gas furnace, which could be the source of the leak. Nest Protect also knows when its batteries are running low by running a check each night when the lights are turned off. If a change is needed, the light indicates an issue and sends a message to your phone so you know to change them. You will also receive a message whenever an alarm goes off, so you always know what’s going on, even when you aren’t home.
Kwikset Kevo eKey | $219
(depending on location)
Kevo’s technology allows you to enter your home with the installation of the app on your Apple phone. If another user, such as your child, doesn’t have a phone, all they need is a Kevo Fob to grant access. For those needing temporary access to your home, such as visiting family or a service worker, users can send eKeys, or a digital key. The keys can be assigned and reassigned, and all key activity is tracked using the app. eKeys can also be disabled and users can be deleted from the system. With awards such as CES’s Last Gadget Standing of 2014 and 2014 Innovations Award, Kevo eliminates the need to hide or provide keys to your home.
Home Control Center
Electronics World | $698+
While the items mentioned above each have their own app, integrating them all into one place while also maintaining security and accuracy makes for the ultimate smart home. Electronics World has been involved with home automation since its infancy in the 1990’s and complete control solutions that operate on Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows smart phone and table platforms.
“The key ingredient to any home control system is your home network,” said Ken Briggs, Sr. Systems Designer and 20-year veteran of Electronics World. “We start with the network, making it safe, secure, fast and reliable.” According to Ken, a home control platform that can integrate all the apps and provide options for integrated scheduling, condition and status control deliver on the promise of the truly smart home.