Written by: Isabella Cormier
Smart homes are more than just a cool project. They also have the potential to make your life more convenient and even save you money. If you’re a homeowner interested in making your home “smarter,” we recommend starting with low-cost, entry-level upgrades and then expanding from there. In this article, we’ll review some good starting points for building your smarter home.
Start with voice-activated technology
For most homeowners, a smart speaker is the cornerstone of a smart home. These devices allow people to control their lights, thermostat, alarm system, television, and much more through voice activation. Today, major companies like Google, Amazon, and Apple all have some form of smart speaker technology, with introductory models retailing as low as $25-$35. If you are looking to dip your toes into the world of smart home technology, this is a good place to start.
What does the future hold for smart home technology?
Smart integration is more than just a passing trend. Very likely, what we’re seeing today is just the start of the smart home era, as the design teams at the major manufacturers of common home goods and appliances are now thinking and designing “smart” from the ground up. This is great news for those wanting to optimize their homes for convenience and comfort.
Here are some of the most innovative new smart home products just now hitting the market:
Mirror, mirror on the wall
These high-tech bathroom mirrors—commonly known as “magic mirrors” or “smart mirrors”—offer more than just your reflection. Using a screen embedded behind the mirror glass, they can display the customized information you need to start your day: weather, sports, news, traffic, and even video content. Many of these mirrors also function as touch-screens, allowing you to quickly swipe through information and social media as you brush your teeth. One of the most advanced magic mirrors now on the market is the Capstone Connected Home Smart Mirror, which boasts Google Assistant integration.
The future’s so bright, you need smart shades
In keeping with the theme of automation helping you work smarter, not harder, smart shades allow you to control your window blinds from anywhere. One brand, SOMA Smart Shades, features automated scheduling: this means no more running around the house in the morning, closing the blinds before you leave for work! Not only does smart home integration enhance your home’s energy efficiency and privacy, but it’s compatible with existing blinds and shades, making this an easy upgrade for homeowners looking to make their homes easier to manage on a daily basis.
Skip the trip to the dry cleaner
At a recent smart home technology showcase, Samsung unveiled a new dresser unit that is actually a fully functional dry cleaner. The AirDresser allows you to completely customize how your clothes are cleaned, deodorized, and dried—all without having to leave your bedroom. Dubbed the first of many “smart closets” by many in the industry, the AirDresser demonstrates the tremendous potential smart home technology has to bring greater convenience to all parts of the home.
A better way to wake up
While traditional ringing alarm clocks went into decline as more and more people began using their smartphones to set a morning alarm, they’re making a big, smarter comeback. New smart alarm clocks are more than just timepieces: they are fully integrated into your smart home, offering voice controls, charging for multiple devices, and touch-screen displays. Using sleep science findings on how light influences sleeping and waking up, many of these devices also feature lights that gradually dim as you drift off to sleep and then slowly brighten in the morning, naturally waking you up without the sudden start caused by a buzzing or ringing alarm.
Take your cooking and baking to the next level
It’s only natural that the kitchen is the place where smart home technology is becoming most ubiquitous. After all, from aspiring home chefs to busy parents, everyone could use a helping hand when it’s time to prepare dinner. Many major appliances—fridges, dishwashers, ovens, and microwaves—now come with native smart integration, allowing you to control them from your smartphone. However, some of the coolest tools are actually helping people cook and bake better. The Perfect Bake Pro is a smart scale that connects to an extensive recipe app and calculates the needed ingredients for you. If you’ve ever struggled to double or halve a recipe, this is the perfect accessory for your kitchen.
Work smarter, not harder
These smart upgrades have the potential to make your home both more convenient and more efficient. Where you take things from there is up to you. Smart locks and doorbells add security to your home while ensuring that the dog sitter is never accidentally locked out while you’re on vacation. Smart irrigation systems can conserve water and make automated adjustments to ensure that your yard continues to look pristine. As the market for smart technology continues to grow and expand in coming years, so does the potential for homeowners to make their homes more comfortable and convenient. There’s never been a better time to get started.
Isabella Cormier is the Communications Specialist and Editor for Buddy’s A-1 Air Conditioning and Heating, a professional HVAC company located in Baton Rouge, LA. Isabella has been writing about the home service business for six years and enjoys giving advice that helps homeowners get the most out of their homes.