Home is where the heart is, and now thanks to home automation, it’s also where technology thrives. While in the process of moving into my new dream home, I’m all about finding the best in smart home automation products to ensure control of energy efficiency and cutting waste. Clearly, I’m not the only one with the bright idea, in fact, the smart home market is forecasted to hit $12.8 billion by 2017 in North America and Europe alone.
The rapid growth of smart home technology is closely connected to the large number of people who own mobile devices. Today 90 percent of American adults have a cellphone, 58 percent have a smartphone and 42 percent of own a tablet computer, according to the Pew Research Internet Project. Home connectivity is no longer a novelty – it’s quickly becoming commonplace, allowing you to stay connected to your home from near or far. Here are the top trends in smart home technology today:
Heating and cooling control
Heating and cooling accounts for more than half of the energy used in a typical American home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. It’s no wonder homeowners want tech-savvy solutions to cut bills. Programmable thermostats are affordable and readily available, and when used correctly, they can save homeowners up to $180 per year in energy costs. Some smart thermostats even allow temperature adjustments to be made remotely from smartphones while providing energy statistics to help you control costs. Zoned heating and cooling systems are also gaining traction, meaning that you can heat or cool certain parts of the home based on where you spend the most time.
Wise water usage
More people are aware of their water footprint and are taking steps to control H2O usage in their homes. Low-flow toilets and shower heads are a start, but technology is taking water usage and conservation to new levels. EcoWater Systems HydroLink Plus is an example of a water treatment system enhanced by Wi-Fi technology. The system softens and treats your water while monitoring water usage, letting you know when softener salt is needed and sends you alerts if potential issues are detected, such as a continuous water flow over a period of time or excess water usage above normal usage. This allows you to make adjustments to save money on utility bills, plus provides peace of mind that problems can be corrected before expensive repairs are required. This is on top of the inherent savings water softeners provide in hard water areas, reducing the amount of soap and cleaning agents needed and saving on energy bills. Also, if you choose, HydroLink Plus enabled systems can be programmed to send alerts and diagnostics to a local EcoWater dealer who can monitor the system and provide maintenance as needed. For more information, visit www.ecowater.com.
Smart security systems
For years, home security alarms consisted of sensors that detected break-ins and responded with loud sirens. Today, security systems literally put a home’s safety and efficiency in the palm of your hand. Video cameras and alerts let you know when children arrive home from school or when packages are delivered. Fire alarms integrated into the system alert you of smoke, fires and the presence of carbon monoxide and other poisonous fumes.
We live in a digital age and homeowners are embracing smart home technology for everything from water treatment to home safety. The result? Homes are more efficient and secure, and homeowners are conserving natural resources while saving money on utility bills. Perhaps it’s time to hop on the bandwagon and consider intelligent home improvements? There are definitely benefits – and you’ll have the smartest home on the block.
Are you looking forward to creating a smart home space for you and your family soon? From lightbulbs, motion activated cameras and more, there’s plenty of cost-effective options to get you started, the question is – which items to buy first? Share your home automation wish list items in the comment section below!
Welcome to my bedroom, where the “magic” happens. I’m talking late night rendezvous with Roku, and where sensual evenings are set by 90s slow jams and soft lighting from my MiPow PlayBulb. Sexy huh? In a world filled with connected devices, it was only a matter of time before technology invades our most private and serene spaces, our bedrooms. Nowadays, it’s all about the connected home and I’m now using tech to help me save money, improve activity and enjoy life!
Looking for ways to create your very own connected home experience? I’ve been able to integrate my favorite tech accessories into my bedroom without geeking it out and now I have a few suggestions on how you too can use them to stay connected in your bedroom or connected home below.
Charge Up Your Bedside Mannor with Contort Power 2 :
The Contort Power 2 USB HUB and AC Outlet is one of my favorite space saving accessories in my bedroom. It’s a great way to keep my devices charging and close by with it’s 2 usb hub outlets. The unique design transforms a standard electrical outlet from two power source outlets into three. (Plus its my favorite grab and go accessory anytime I’m headed out to a coffee shop or on the go and need an extra outlet of power.)
The Quirky Contort Power 2 can be found for $24 at HomeDepot.com.
Set the mood with sight and sound using the MiPow Playbulb:
When I first learned about the MiPow PlayBulb at CES in January, I never knew just how much I’d love and need this dual-purpose home accessory. The Playbulb is a fresh new Bluetooth Smart LED speaker light allowing you to combine you light with music and control both from your mobile device. The familiar light bulb shaped design and technology delivers a combination of stylish looks and good function in one. It’s wireless and cord-free, you simply screw it into any lamp-socket and operate it just like a normal light. You can play music from your iOS, Android or most other Bluetooth-enabled devices and is an ideal accessory for student dorms, apartments or any small spaces in need of light and sound.
The MiPow Playbulb can be found for $79 at MiPow.com.
Movies, Cable Tv and entertainment for days with Roku 2:
Last month, I was gifted with a Roku 2 and I really didn’t give it much thought about using it. I already binged on Orange is the New Black earlier this summer, and since that’s my only reason for using Netflix, streaming entertainment wasn’t too high on my priority list. That is until, a Time Warner Cable outrage threatened my reality tv consumption for a week. Luckily, not only does my Roku 2 offer 1000+ of entertainment channels and movies including Hulu Plus, Netflix and more – but it also streams live tv shows include in my Time Warner Cable service.
Get an upgraded TV experience with a Roku 2 available for $69 at RadioShack.com.
Control Your Home With Belkin WeMo
Who doesn’t love the power to control your home automation with the press of your smartphone button? That’s exactly what Belkin WeMo gives you – the power of a connected home, one gadget at a time. The WeMo Insight Switch sends notifications to your smart device showing how much energy your electronics are using. You also have the ability to turn your electronics on and off and monitor their behavior, all you’ll need is a Wi-Fi or 3/4G connection. I use my WeMo to control my air conditioning unit and pre-cool my home on hot summer days, I also use it to control those energy sucking gadgets that consume energy even when they aren’t in use. I save money and stay connected with home automation no matter where I am.
Get started on your journey to home automation with the WeMo Insight Switch available for $49 at Belkin.com.
Stay Connected With Your TV Using The Samsung Galaxy S5
I hate it when I lose my cable TV remote control! It happens more times that I care to count, but instead of wallowing in my failure, I simply grab my Samsung Galaxy S5 smart remote app and reconnect with my shows instantly. The Samsung TV Remote App lets you consolidate your remote devices and navigate the possibilities of your home entertainment system right from your Galaxy S smartphone or Galaxy Tab. Now everything you need to maximise your entertainment experience can be controlled all in one place, making the hassle and confusion of multiple remotes a thing of the past. (It’s been a few days since I’ve seen my original cable remote control, and I ain’t worried bout nothin! LOL) The app is free and available in Galaxy Apps store.
What tech would you invited to create your connected home? Share your favorite gadget finds and home automation wish list below.
Home automation is a huge trend that gets better with innovation each and every day. Can you imagine that in the near future, you’ll be able to verbally tell your home to power up appliances, create mood lighting and configure home entertainment. Today, you can add automatic heat and cooling preferences to your home automation mix thanks to Honeywell’s new Lyric thermostat.
Based on your smartphone’s location (geofencing), the Lyric thermostat is able to seamlessly deliver heating/cooling comfort when you’re home, and savings when you’re away, no learning needed. It’s the first offering in a new family of innovative connected home products from Honeywell. With the Lyric thermostat, it can deliver home comfort that’s in tune with your schedule simply based on your smartphone location. With the Lyric thermostat, there are no complex menus, complicated programming, or a need to set schedules. The Lyric thermostat is designed for how people really live, and makes home comfort easy with a number of other highlight features:
Lyric app – available for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, the Lyric app provides full control of the Lyric thermostat from most anywhere.
Fine Tune – automatically factors indoor and outdoor temperature, humidity, and weather into its algorithm, to provide the most comfortable temperature for homeowners. No other do-it-yourself Wi-Fi thermostat on the market today does that.
Smart Cues – the Lyric thermostat provides updates on your heating/cooling system, and lets you know through the Lyric app if a filter needs to be changed, the temperature has gone too high/low, and other key updates.
Busy families don’t operate on a fixed schedule. Why should their thermostats? The Honeywell Lyric™ thermostat is designed for how people really live. No complicated schedules or programming, and no complex menus – simply comfort when you’re home, and savings when you’re away. The Lyric thermostat is available now via professional heating and cooling contractors (find a local contractor here), and will be available in stores August 2014 for $279. To learn more, please visit http://lyric.honeywell.com.